By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger will heed the lessons of last season and rotate his squad to a greater extent this winter.
The Arsenal manager believes that a hectic nine-game January was a factor when his squad ran out of steam in their search for honours last term and he wants to avoid a repeat scenario.
Wenger's side could conceivably play another nine games this January - if they reach the Carling Cup Semi-Finals and win their first FA Cup tie after a replay - and this December is busier with seven fixtures to last year's five.
That's why the Frenchman will tread carefully.
"I will certainly rotate more because we have to face so many games," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
"I think it was last year at Sunderland that we changed 10 players because we played three days later at Manchester City. Everybody asked me why I did it but you have to rotate at some stage and that is why we have a big squad.
"We were a bit lucky with the international break because people like Mertesacker, Koscielny and Vermaelen played only one game. So we cannot complain.
"For us it's more a focus on our next target and to get back quickly from international to club level. We need the same focus we showed just before the break."
Another player who was spared a second international fixture in four days was Robin van Persie. Indeed the Dutch international returned to London Colney before his country's midweek friendly with Germany.
"We had an agreement," explained Wenger. "I believe that in these friendlies, if you have a player in England who has no winter break and will be going into a tournament at some stage you need them to not be overloaded.
"I think it is for the benefit of those countries as well."
The full interview with Wenger is now available on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2017 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