Arsène Wenger has revealed the reasons behind his decision to rest Wojciech Szczesny for Wednesday night’s game against Bayern Munich.
The Gunners trail the runaway Bundesliga leaders 3-1 ahead of the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Allianz Arena.
Szczesny was a surprise omission from Arsenal’s 18-man squad for the game, but Wenger insists a break now will work to the goalkeeper’s long-term benefit.
I decided to give him a breather just to refresh him and [so that he would] not be under increasing pressure
“He has played many games and [been under] a lot under pressure,” the manager said. “And recently, he had one or two games where he was performing less.
“With goalkeepers it's always a difficult problem. Do you keep them in to find confidence back or do you give them a breather?
“I decided to give him a breather just to refresh him and [so that he would] not be under increasing pressure, because once people start speaking about you, you think, ‘Now I cannot afford any [errors]’ and that's when you make mistakes.”
Wenger is expected to start Lukasz Fabianski against Bayern Munich as Vito Mannone is returning from a minor injury, but he stressed his total belief in Szczesny.
“It is only his second season at the top level. If you look at the number of goalkeepers at the top level, you do not have many of that age,” said Wenger.
“It is only his second season. Sometimes you need a little refreshing period. I also used him in the FA Cup - he has played many games and mentally that is difficult to absorb with such pressure at a big club because everything you do is analysed.”
Arsenal to win @ 79/10