Arsenal news

Wenger worried about wear and tear

November 28, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that leading goalscorer Robin van Persie is amongst a number of key players who are "in the red" and in need of a rest.

Robin van Persie battles with Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland.
PA PhotosRobin van Persie plays through the red against Fulham.

• Arsenal blog: Reality in the revival
• Arsenal 1-1 Fulham
• Cottagers happy with point

Wenger's comments follow on from a lacklustre performance against Fulham on Saturday, where a late Thomas Vermaelen header rescued a point for the Gunners in a 1-1 draw.

Abou Diaby, who was playing his first Premier League match of the season, suffered what Wenger hopes is only a minor muscular setback against the Cottagers and Theo Walcott had what the Frenchman described as a "hamstring alert", although the England winger played out the full match.

And after analysing all the stats and ProZone information, Wenger, who rested defender Laurent Koscielny and forward Gervinho at Emirates Stadium, has recognised the fact he will need to rotate his tired squad in the coming weeks.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Carling Cup quarter-final against Manchester City, Wenger said: "We have a few players on the edge like Van Persie and Walcott, who had a hamstring alert, and Aaron Ramsey. We'll have to see how they respond to 24 hours of rest.

"It will be easier for you to pick the Man City team because you can look in the stand and on the bench (against Liverpool) and you will see who plays on Tuesday. We have red alerts on a few players but I will pick as strong a team as I can."

With Van Persie, Walcott and Ramsey all left out of the provisional squad for the City game, Wenger said he felt that on-loan Israeli Yossi Benayoun, combative midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, England under-21 starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and South Korea captain Park Ju-young - who were both on target in previous rounds - can all rise to the occasion.

''I believe that some players are on the fringe of being really limited. I will rest some players, but I still want to play a team that has a chance to win the game,'' Wenger told Arsenal Player. ''Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emmanuel Frimpong will play, but I consider them to be first-team players.

''Park is adapting to the level he is facing here and he has another opportunity against Manchester City tomorrow night to show that he can do it. Yossi has been absolutely fantastic, but we have so much choice in midfield and we play with three strikers. The chances for the midfielders are not so big and that is why he has not played as much as he deserves.''

Wenger has generally looked to his young players for the League Cup but, with City possessing such strength in depth, there will be a slight adjustment. "I will change my philosophy a little bit," Wenger said. "I've always said that I will play a team that has a chance to qualify. We will give them a game, don't worry."

Provisional squad: Fabianski, Yennaris, Miquel, Squillaci, Djourou, Arshavin, Benayoun, Frimpong, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Park, Mannone, Rosicky, Chamakh, Diaby, Boateng, Ozyakup, Miyaichi, Aneke.