By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has expressed sympathy for Blackpool after they were punished for fielding a ‘weakened team’ at Aston Villa in December.

Ian Holloway made ten changes to his side for that narrow 3-2 defeat and his club now has 14 days to decide whether to appeal a £25,000 fine.

Wenger himself switched eight players for a trip to Wigan in December and defended his fellow manager at the time, suggesting that the Premier League’s new quota rules mean Holloway was within his rights to make wholesale changes.

The Frenchman has not altered his stance in the interim and believes that the rules over squad rotation need revising.

“His team was not weak because they nearly made a good result at Aston Villa,” said Wenger. “They lost in the last minute.

“I can understand why he rotated the team, because it was with close games, so I have sympathy.

“It is a rule which may be looked at, especially if you limit the squad.

“If you have an unlimited squad the rule is very good. If you have a limited squad like it is now when you can only have  25 players, I feel this rule should go.

“Every club now has 25 top-level players who can cope with the Premier League.”

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
28 Jan 2011