Arsenal are likely to face Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season without some of their best players in Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, as Wenger looks to ensure they have a healthy break after a lengthy World Cup campaign.
The Arsenal trio lifted the illustrious international trophy after beating Argentina 1-0 in the final, ending a grueling seven-game campaign in the heat of Brazil.
Wenger feels the champions need plenty of time to recuperate ahead of another challenging and demanding season with the Gunners, but there are plenty of elements to consider especially with the Champions League playoffs on the horizon too.
I have a decision to make, do I bring them early and play them straight away and lose them in October or November or do I give them the needed rest to recover and get the hunger back?
So I have chosen the second solution knowing that it is a bit risky because on top of that we have the qualifier for the Champions League group stage and they might not be ready for that.
It has been suggested the three players will be return to training on August 11, just five days before Crystal Palace visits the Emirates for the opening fixture of the Premier League season.
- Recently departed Arsenal star reveals he’s living his ‘dream’ at new club
- Mesut Ozil remains defiant over future but slams Arsenal for lack of loyalty
- Juventus to make swoop for Arsenal summer transfer target in January
Mertesacker is perhaps one of the most vital with Arsenal’s lack of depth in central defence at present especially with Thomas Vermaelen’s future up in the air. Wenger hasn’t ruled out the defender for the Champions League two-legged qualifier following the Palace fixture.
Wenger knows the importance of a solid rest from football over the summer, and despite the risk of not playing his best players on the opening weekend, it’s a necessary precaution to ensure the long term fitness of his stars.
The distance between the final of the World Cup and the start of the Premier League is too short. And that is why it is very difficult to predict how everyone will cope with that because the preparation time is too short and the rest time is too short.
A guy who is coming off a high of winning the World Cup, you can not ask him three weeks later to fight for his life when you are going to Swansea or to Stoke, it takes some time to recover.
It certainly seems sensible to ease the Germans back into proceedings, but whether we can afford to have them missing for the Champions League qualifier is another story. Especially Mertesacker as we have limited options at the back.
Now with Barcelona linked with a move for Thomas Vermaelen, Wenger needs to act quickly to bring in another centre back incase we get an offer we cannot refuse.
In the case of Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky can provide sufficient depth in his absence. With the No10 fading during the hectic festive period last winter, he needs to be fully recuperated so he doesn’t ‘run in the red’ to early on in the season.
The joys of World Cup year!