Friday 20 July 2018

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal can cope with playing on Thursday and Sunday

Arsene Wenger has no qualms about Arsenal playing on Thursday and Sunday
Arsene Wenger has no qualms about Arsenal playing on Thursday and Sunday

Arsene Wenger insists his Arsenal side can deal with playing on Thursday and Sunday as they look to maintain their push for a top-three finish.

The Gunners comfortably beat West Brom on a rare Thursday night outing and travel to relegation-threatened Sunderland on Sunday looking to stay ahead of Manchester City.

While other teams played earlier in the week, Arsenal had to make do with a game just three days ahead of their weekend clash.

But Wenger is not worried and feels the experiences of plenty of midweek Champions League fixtures is perfect preparation for his players.

"Between Thursday and Sunday and Wednesday and Saturday morning is exactly the same," he said.

"You know we played on Wednesday night at Barcelona and then on Saturday against Everton at 12.45pm.

"It's no problem. In fact, there's a very interesting study that has come out from UEFA that shows that the points taken by the teams three days later are not less than after four or five days.

"It's the opposite and that is quite interesting. The study has been made in all the five best leagues in Europe. Nobody has proven that it is a disadvantage to have only three days rest.

"The points on average are better than after four or five days."

Speaking after the 2-0 success over the Baggies, Wenger admitted surprise that Mesut Ozil had not made it into the PFA Team of the Year.

The only Arsenal representative in a side dominated by Tottenham and Leicester players was full-back Hector Bellerin.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a superb season and he was quick to praise his team-mates after being recognised.

"I feel very proud about the award," he told Arsenal Player.

"That said, I could have never managed to achieve it without my team-mates. Playing for Arsenal helps because all my team-mates help you improve and stand out. I am very thankful to my team-mates.

"For a professional the second season is always the hardest. You must prove that the level you showed in your first season was not a coincidence. Also, you must keep a good level from the beginning to the end of the second season. Being awarded makes me very proud."

Press Association

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