Arsene Wenger says managing his midfield has become a delicate balancing act.
Arsenal arguably have the strongest set of options in the centre of the park of any side in the Premier League.
However, Wenger admits that can bring its own problems in terms of keeping everyone happy over the course of the season.
“It’s an impossible job but that’s why I tell you I always get asked two questions, ‘Why don’t you buy more players, and how do you keep them all happy now?’” he said.
“I believe that competition is part of our job. On the other hand you have to get the number right - too many players in the squad goes against competition.
"If you have a certain number of players who think they never have a chance to play, they killed something. Not enough players creates too much of a comfort zone"
“If you have a certain number of players who think they never have a chance to play, they killed something. Not enough players creates too much of a comfort zone.”
Wenger also has to consider the make-up of his midfield, most recently where to place Santi Cazorla - in the centre or out on the left flank.
“It is tricky, because he is an important player in the build-up of our game,” the manager said. “He is naturally a guy who brings fluidity, and gets you out of tight situations.
“My thinking [putting him out wide] was more about physical power in the centre of the park, to win the ball back and be capable of winning challenges. Santi is a more technical player. And also to get him higher up, next to Ozil, to play through the lines, find those two, and combine in the final third.
“It worked sometimes, and sometimes not. The first goal in these games is vital. But anyway, against West Ham, I changed in the second half and brought Cazorla back to central midfield.”
Arsenal lost their opening game of the season against West Ham at Emirates Stadium, but Wenger does not expect a repeat performance against Liverpool on Monday night.
“[We must] play at the level we played at Crystal Palace, with good pace,” he said. “I think Liverpool will be a different game than West Ham. Against West Ham, we conceded a set-piece and after that another goal, just before half time. After that it was difficult.
“But if you look well, and you have to analyse the game well, against West Ham we didn’t give chances away. You play this game 20 times, you win it 19 because they had very, very, very few chances. Their goals came from our mistakes. That’s why we had to look at ourselves.”
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