By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger is trying to keep all of his players happy because he believes he will need every single one of them this season.

The Arsenal manager has built a large squad at Emirates Stadium - bolstered by a number of summer signings - but inevitably some of his players are getting less game time than others.

Wenger has made it clear that he intends to rotate his squad over a hectic winter schedule and he welcomed the healthy competition for places as he prepared to whittle down his options to 11 for Saturday's Premier League game against Fulham.

"I care about every player and I feel sorry for the players who do not get the satisfaction of playing," he said. "But at the same time in the press conference people say: ‘Your squad is not big enough, why don’t you buy more players?’

"It’s difficult to find the right number of players you can have in the squad but in a season like England you need the players you have. And we have a big squad.

"We have as well chosen a job where we accept competition. And I think the players all agree with that and accept competition – but sometimes it’s difficult to agree with my decisions and I accept that.

"A manager can only choose and make one decision. You can only play with 11. But I’m happy with the squad I have and I want every player to be happy. I try to keep them happy but that’s linked with the number of competitions we stay in. Therefore it’s important for us to win every single game to give an opportunity to all the players to play."

Andrey Arshavin is one of many international stars whose first-team chances have been limited of late but Wenger rejects the notion that the Russian is now a fringe player.

"He’s not a back-up player but at the moment he doesn’t play," said the manager. "Maybe he will play on Saturday.

"I feel sorry for every player who doesn’t play but it is part of our job. Competition is part of our job and you must accept that in some periods of your career somebody can get in front of you."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
25 Nov 2011