Wednesday 21 November 2018

Wenger trying to see big picture with Arsenal line-up changes

Arsene Wenger is rotating his starting XI regularly to keep players fresh
Arsene Wenger is rotating his starting XI regularly to keep players fresh

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal require a 'global plan' which includes heavy squad rotation if the club are to be successful this season.

The Gunners boss made nine changes for Thursday's 1-0 Europa League win away to Red Star Belgrade.

The likes of Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette remained at home as Olivier Giroud's overhead kick helped an inexperienced side see off 10-man Red Star.

Further changes are expected for Sunday's Premier League trip to face Everton as Arsenal look to recover from their defeat at Watford last weekend.

"It is impossible to come off that intensity (against Red Star) and then play against Everton," Wenger said when asked if wholesale changes could be expected at Goodison Park.

"Of course, I left 10 or 11 players at home and I decided to rotate at the start of the season.

"It is important to see that these players get stronger and stronger in every game. We play on Tuesday again, at home, so we have to have a global plan. We have to."

Wenger confirmed both Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey should be in contention at Everton but expects Danny Welbeck to be out for up to three weeks.

That could lead to Ozil coming back into the side having been on the bench at Watford, while Sanchez is likely to have recovered from a small muscular issue to be involved.

Everton have endured a tough start to the campaign despite heavy investment in the summer.

The aim for the Toffees was to break into the upper echelons of the Premier League having recruited the likes of Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney.

Instead, Koeman's side sit 16th having won just two of their eight games this season - but Wenger will treat Arsenal's game in isolation after defeat in the corresponding fixture last year.

"It is early in the season and what happened in the past, we are not focusing too much on at the moment," he added.

"(It is not about) what will happen at the end of the season but what will happen on the pitch on Sunday and I think on the quality that we can produce."

Press Association

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