Arsene Wenger has delivered some great news ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, revealing not only that Gabriel Paulista would return to the squad, but that Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil wouldn’t be rested for the game.
The Brazilian missed our clash with Watford, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny starting the game. Gabriel has been excellent so far this season, and has arguably proven himself deserving of a starting spot ahead of his giant German teammate. Whether Wenger agrees – or whether he’ll even be fit enough to start against Bayern – is another question entirely.
Regardless of whether he starts however, it’s excellent to have him back and available.
“We have Gabriel back available, he is the only player back available,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
“Everybody has recovered from our game on Saturday so it is nearly the same squad.”
The manager also responded to questions asked about Alexis and Özil, who it was thought could be rested for the European clash in order to focus on the Premier League.
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Wenger insisted the pair wouldn’t be rested, suggesting he hasn’t given up hope of getting through the group stages just yet.
“No [Alexis and Özil won’t be rested],” he continuted.
“You would be surprised if I told you that I would rest them tomorrow, so I can tell you certainly not. Normally they should play tomorrow.”
There have been questions raised over where our focus should lie this season, with consecutive shock losses in Europe making progression from the group stages incredibly difficult.
A large section of the fan base seem to think dropping out of Europe altogether would be our best option, as it would allow us to concentrate on winning the Premier League. We’ve seen in the past the benefits of no European competition, as your players are able to remain fresh and fit far more easily.
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Players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil want to be playing in the Champions League however, so a disastrous season in Europe could certainly get them thinking about their future.
Ideally we’ll remain competitive in Europe and still excel in domestic competitions, but at the moment our focus should be on Bayern.