Arsène Wenger fears for Arsenal's international stars

 

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger fears his players will all be risking burnout while away on international duty this week.

The Gunners were left frustrated by a 3-3 draw against Fulham on Saturday, where they threw away a two-goal lead for the second successive match.

Nearly all of Wenger's first-team squad will now jet off around the globe for some much-maligned friendlies, although it remains to be seen whether forward Theo Walcott will link up with England after suffering an injury to his buttock muscles.

With the small matter of the north London derby against Tottenham next Saturday lunchtime, Wenger will be praying for his players' safe return to London Colney.

"It is bad for us. I would prefer that the team stays here and prepares our next game," he said.

"There is a risk with the players who have played our [last] three games - they play another one [in midweek], and another one [against Spurs], and after that they play against Montpellier [in the Champions League].

"At the moment we cannot rotate too much, so it is not ideal, but we have to deal with that."

Wenger continued: "We have no time to train on it, because the players go away and anyway, when you play every three days you cannot practice too much.

"However, it is like that for all the teams.

"I have played Champions League for 15 years now and we have to do that every year for periods.

"As long as you play in the League Cup as well, you never have a complete week to prepare the next game - but it is part of being at Arsenal."

Wenger accepted his side were lacking in confidence.

"The belief is not at its maximum at the moment, but we have to digest that and come back again," he said.

"However, Spurs is always a huge game in itself, no matter what is happening."

PA

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