Arsene Wenger says he’s unlikely to select Alexis Sanchez and Laurent Koscielny for this weeks trip to Galatasaray after conceding first place in Group D to Borussia Dortmund.
There is a chance hypothetically that the Gunners can top the group with a win against the Turkish outfit, but it will take an upset between Dortmund and Anderlecht to ensure first place.
The Gunners have had a tough period recently where they’ve played every three or so days and with progression to the knockout stages secured and the result meaning nothing for the other clubs in the group, it is a good opportunity to hand Alexis a rest while Laurent Koscielny does not need to be risked.
The Frenchman spent the weekends loss to Stoke City on the bench due to his ongoing Achilles problem and will not travel to Istanbul this week.
Wenger confirmed he will seek to rest players on Tuesday night, he told Arsenal’s official website:
A few players [will not travel] because there’s not a lot at stake and we have given a lot in the last two weeks. We have to recover a little bit.
Alexis will not travel and I don’t think I can play, for example, Koscielny. He didn’t play on Saturday and I don’t see why I should risk him for a game where’s there’s not a lot at stake.
First place hypothetically, but there’s maybe a 10 per cent chance.
The trip to Turkey should provide an opportunity for fringe players such as Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Podolski, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo (if fit) to gain some much needed game time and demonstrate whether they deserve more minutes.
The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla could do with some much needed rest and especially Alexis. It will come as a rare break ahead of the festive fixtures in the future and hopefully give us a breather with a Chelsea-conquering Newcastle United outfit heading to Emirates this weekend.
Even with resting some of our stars we should have enough in the squad to beat Galatasaray. Time to step up Rosicky and co.