With all the various problems facing Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal squad, including not having Olivier Giroud registered for the Champions League and all sorts of injuries and other players with fatigue from so many games, we already knew that the Gunners team to face Galatasaray in Istanbul tonight would be different.
So with plenty of the Arsenal first team not travelling to Turkey, including Alexis Sanchez, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla, it was always going to be easier to guess what our starting line-up would be before the game.
But I don’t understand why Wenger has helped his opposite number in the Galatasaray dugout by revealing his team a day before we are due to play, as an Arsenal.com report explains. The Turkish club have sacked Cesare Prandelli after their woeful start to the season, especially in Europe, and the new man Hamza Hamzaoğlu will certainly be looking for a win to regain some pride and confidence, so why give him any help?
Wenger said, “To make it as simple as possible, I have 11 experienced players and six young players on the bench. That means I have nothing to hide. Debuchy is back with us and will play, Szczesny is back in goal, Mertesacker, Chambers will play because Gibbs did not travel, Bellerin at left-back. Then you have Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Flamini, Podolski, Sanogo and Campbell. The players who needed it stayed behind – like Cazorla, Sanchez, Gibbs, Giroud is not qualified and Welbeck, who could have travelled but recently had a little knee problem, so took advantage of that to rest him.”
I suppose that our manager could still juggle things around a little and use some of the academy players, but revealing that Bellerin will play out of position at left back seems to be asking for trouble and I’m sure that the Turks will already be planning how to target the youngSpaniard.
So has the Frenchman made a mistake by revealing his Arsenal team too early?