Wenger to rest stars against Olympiakos
Tuesday 08 December 2009
Arsene Wenger openly admits he will not gamble with the fitness of any of his first-team regulars against Olympiakos in their final Champions League group game and intends to give the youngsters another chance to impress.
With safe passage into the knockout stages already secure, Wenger will take a youthful squad to Athens to give some of his walking wounded a chance to recuperate ahead of the Premier League trip to Liverpool on Sunday.
Forwards Theo Walcott and Eduardo both missed the win over Stoke on Saturday with minor injuries, while Czech winger Tomas Rosicky was substituted at half-time with a groin problem which could keep him out for a month. William Gallas, Emmanuel Eboué, Armand Traoré and Andrei Arshavin all suffered knocks during the 2-0 win, leaving Wenger with something of a selection problem for tomorrow's European tie.
The Gunners manager is ready to give those players who helped reach the Carling Cup quarter-finals another chance of big-game experience.
"In the competition as a whole this season, the boys did really well and I am extremely proud of them. I will give some of them an opportunity on Wednesday, for many reasons," Wenger said. "At the moment we have so many players injured that we cannot take any gambles; also you must give players a breather when you can.
"We played Manchester City last week and they had a full side out. For an hour we did not suffer at all. I will try to build a similar team in Greece. It will be a great game for them because Olympiakos will play for something, and it is another good opportunity to show that we can do better than we did at Man City."
Olympiakos, coached by Brazil legend Zico, are currently unbeaten at the top of the Greek domestic league and recently beat arch-rivals Panathinaikos. A draw would be enough to see Olympiakos – who lost 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in September – also safely through to the last 16 ahead of Standard Liège.
Latest in Sport
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Diego Costa keeps coin thrown at him during Capital One Cup final
Lukas Podolski corner: Has the Arsenal forward taken the worst corner of all time?
Ireland 19 England 9 player ratings: Jonathan Sexton? Devin Toner? Alex Goode? Who was the star man in Dublin?
Eden Hazard didn't like the champagne on offer in the Chelsea dressing room
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut