Clichy resolves to cope with fixture fatigue

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The Independent Football

Arsenal's quest to achieve success on a multitude of fronts poses its own problems as the Gunners are now rapidly finding out to their cost. The club's resources and mental resolve are being stretched to the limit in four separate competitions following the addition of yet another fixture after Sunday's FA Cup comeback against Bolton.

Another first-team casualty, the midfielder Julio Baptista (groin), was an unwelcome addition to a lengthy injury list. And it has merely increased the concerns whether Arsenal can cope with a congested programme that could conceivably produce another 28 fixtures to the 38 thus far completed at home and in Europe - and which could force Arsène Wenger into surprise transfer action.

Even the left-back Gael Clichy, who has completed a seamless transition into the first team following the controversial sale of Ashley Cole to Chelsea, has admitted fatigue could be a factor. After the 1-1 draw against Bolton, Clichy admitted: "Maybe usually it is better than tonight, but, when you play every three days you can be a bit tired.

"Of course you cannot hide behind being tired because it is the job." But Clichy is not contemplating or courting a break, especially ahead of tomorrow's Carling Cup semi-final against Tottenham.

And the fixture pile-up? The 21-year-old French defender said: "You have to keep rotating the team, that is what the boss is going to do. The Premier League and the Champions' League are the first two objectives."

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