By Chris Harris
Arsenal will face one of the freshest teams in the Premier League on Saturday, but Arsène Wenger believes Birmingham's recent inactivity could be a double-edged sword.
The Blues' early exit from the FA Cup means they have not been in action since a 1-1 draw at West Ham on February 9. Arsenal have played three arduous games in three different competitions since then, beating Blackburn in the Premier League, losing at Manchester United in the FA Cup and drawing with Milan in the Champions League.
All of which suggests that fatigue could be a factor when Arsenal visit St. Andrews on Saturday. Wenger is not so sure. Indeed, the Frenchman thinks Birmingham's extended break could count against them.
"We can cope with that [the number of games we have played] and sometimes it is a disadvantage for the team who doesn't play," he said.
"We have one advantage because we have the rhythm of competition, the disadvantage for us is that we have the fatigue factor. Birmingham have the advantage of freshness because they have recovered completely but they have not got the rhythm of competition.
"So let's just take it as it is. I know my players are focused, they want to do well and that is the best way to prepare."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 Feb 2008