Arsene Wenger has confirmed he left a number of stars behind in London ahead of tonight’s Champions League tie with Galatasaray.
The Gunners have secured qualification for the knockout stages but must win the tie for any hope of topping the group. But much of that rests on the fate of Borussia Dortmund against an eliminated Anderlecht.
With that in mind and the lack of options available to him, Wenger has chosen to start a number of high profile first teamers such as Per Mertesacker and Aaron Ramsey, but has also left a number of players at home including Alexis Sanchez who has a ‘groin problem’. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, it’s probably more of an excuse to rest the Chilean star.
A host of youngsters make the traveling squad and will be among the bench.
Wenger revealed the following team news at last nights pre-match press conference:
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.
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[Any new injuries?] Not because of the game on Saturday, but Sanchez had a groin problem for some time, and he has played 27 games. Cazorla has played many games, it is more just the number of repetitive games we have.
How long will Wilshere be out? Three months, and he had no setback. He is just in a boot, he cannot have a setback because he does not practise.
It’s a massive boost to have Mathieu Debuchy back while Wojciech Szczesny also returns to the lineup. A big game for the likes of Podolski, Campbell and Sanogo who need to prove their worth. Shame Rosicky is out injured.