Press conference

How squad rotation is benefitting us now

As we enter the busiest part of the season, the near empty medical room must be a particularly pleasing sight for Arsene Wenger.

With just Santi Cazorla ruled out for the long term, and Shkodran Mustafi nursing a minor thigh problem, our squad is almost at full capacity.

The boss was asked what this is down to in his pre-match press conference, and this is what he said:

on if the lack of injuries is down to rotation…
Yes, I would say that’s a consequence of that. One of the things we’ve benefitted from is that, yes.

on if this is time of year where that can be an advantage…
I hope so. I think we missed an opportunity on Saturday to take advantage of that, because we were physically quite strong in the game. But we are in a position where we have to take the month of December in a very serious way, be efficient and hopefully we can benefit from that.

on if a two-month EL break presents a problem…
First of all, we play on Sunday against Southampton and it doesn’t mean that the players that play tomorrow will not play against Southampton. After, we have three weeks and play in the League Cup as well, so they’ll get games.

on Champions League sides dropping into the Europa League…
That’s always been the case, and I was against it. We voted many times in Geneva for that and you have to respect that, it’s what you call democracy. The majority voted for the Champions League teams to go back to the Europa League and [in] many, many years, they won it.

on the UEFA Cup and teams not entering that after finishing third…
It looks more logical but today it’s a bit different because there’s more compromise in there because eight teams go out early. That was just to keep them in Europe and to give them quality competition. And even more, for the first time last year, teams qualified for the Champions League [by winning the Europa League].

on whether he has told the players who will play in the knockout rounds…
I will adapt every time the team to the difficulty we face and will try to build a balanced team. Of course we have some who have shown quality, but I consider them as well for the Premier League. It’s a fight going on and there’s nobody ruled out for any game.

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