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Why did Arsenal have to play 3 games in 6 days?

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By Walter Broeckx

The draw at Wigan is still upsetting some Arsenal fans. Wenger is blamed for the changes he made. And in a way of course it is Wenger who is to blame as he made the decision.

And some Arsenal fans point at other teams who stuck to the same team and have won more points than us in the same games.

So lets us first  get to the facts: Arsenal made 8 changes between the Chelsea home game  and the Wigan away game, another 8 changes between the Wigan and Birmingham away game  and got 7 points out of a possible 9.

Chelsea played mostly the same players in their games. An away game to Arsenal, a home game against Bolton and another home game against Villa resulting in 4 points out of 9.

Manchester United played much the same players with some rotation in it but not as much as Arsenal did and in one home game (Sunderland) and two away games (Birmingham and WBA) got also seven points out of nine. Against Birmingham they rotated only one player and against WBA four.

Manchester City played twice at home and one away game and got the full marks 9 out of 9. They rotated a bit but not as much as we did.  About 5 players each time.

And the other team in the top four Tottenham also got nine points out of nine and also rotated not like we did.  One change after the first game and one in the second.

So no conclusions can be made from this. Chelsea and Tottenham rotated the fewest players and yet they end up with the highest and the lowest points total. United rotated a little bit and got the same points as we. And Arsenal and City rotated the most and got 7 and 9 points. So to rotate or not to rotate? It doesn’t look very clear when you look at the numbers.

Now let us look at the games itself. A home game against Chelsea which we lost the last couple years. An away game to Wigan which we lost last year. And an away game to Birmingham which we never could win the last times we visited them.  Last year we got 1 point out of 9 in those games. Now 7 points. That doesn’t look that bad.

Chelsea only managed to win their home game against Bolton after losing at the Emirates and from what I read in the reports it was a rather lucky win with some ref decisions going their way. And then the same players first made a great comeback at the end of the game against Villa to suddenly collapse in the extra time to only get a point. Maybe if Ancelotti could have done some rotation he would have got 7 points?

United won against a toothless Sunderland, then only managed a draw against Birmingham and then managed to win at WBA. How? Well people still are not over the fact that they escaped not only a penalty but also a definite red card after Neville made a foul as the last defender. And from then on went on to win it in a way like only United can win games I think.

Manchester City won their games but they did seem to get a little bit of help on the left, on the right and in the middle. But with 2 home games and with rather easy opponents nothing less than 9 points could be expected.

And also Tottenham didn’t have the difficult fixtures we had. Two home games against struggling sides like Fulham and Newcastle for the moment and an away win at Aston Villa is looking good in terms of the points but is what could and should have been expected from a side that has ambition.

I know all fixtures are difficult in the EPL but when you look at ours we had a game against the team that according the pundits would win the title after 6 games in the season. We had a game against a team that we always found difficult to beat and most of all we had our games within 6 days.

And here you can find the trouble. We were the only team that had to play those 3 (difficult) games in 6 days. All the other teams had 7 days to play their games. United had 7 days, Tottenham had 7 days, Chelsea had 7 days and Manchester City had 7 days.  And this was  our biggest problem for me.

Playing with only one day between two games is something that can be done. It is not something you want to do. Because it means that you almost get no rest between the games.  But one could risk not to rotate.

Chelsea didn’t rotate as they have nobody to rotate with (their changes were to cover for injury) and they paid the price. They lost 5 points.

United rotated a bit but when they had to play at Birmingham with the same squad they lost it at the end of the game, or better said they lost victory in the finale minutes. Maybe the legs were gone by then to hang to the 3 points?  Maybe a bit more rotation would have helped?

And for us there was another problem with the game we had to play in Birmingham. Because as a result of the fixture list we again had one day’s less rest than other teams. The other top teams (apart from Chelsea of course) played on Tuesday and then had a rest until Saturday. We had one day less as we had to play Wednesday evening.

So we even didn’t have a full 48 hours between the first two games, but we also had one day less between game 2 and 3. One could say that the fixture list didn’t do us any favours.  As it already didn’t do us any favours after each CL game with 5 tough away fixtures (Sunderland, Chelsea, Man City, Aston Villa and Manchester United). But as we all know the FA and the EPL and the other parties involved in the EPL this will have been pure coincidence. Of course it was.

So how on earth could Wenger have played the same players in those 3 games in 6 days? Is there anyone out there who believes that Van Persie could and should have played them all? He would been out for a few weeks by now if he would have done this. The same goes for Djourou who is still in his recovery from a one year being out with an injury. And Djourou also has had a bad record when it came to muscle injuries in the past. Cesc was suspended. And with a bit of a good ref we still would have won the Wigan game. With so many players just coming back form injuries playing them in all 3 games could have killed us and the rest of our season.

But for some fans it is much easier to blame the manager for his rotation which was forced upon him by whoever makes the fixture list. It wasn’t Wenger who gave the not existing penalty in favour of Wigan, it was ref Poorbert who did it. It was the same ref that was blind when they fouled Theo and when the smashed the ball away.

For now, thanks to the rotation we have 7 points from these 3 difficult games (and yes I would have liked all the 9 points) and given the circumstances this was a good job done. And most of all as is reported today: we have no further injuries (apart from  Diaby) from those games.  And this was also a very important task for Wenger: keeping the players fit during this terrible period  in which we as the only team in the EPL  had to play 3 games in less than 6 whole days.

If you do want to protest against something: protest against the people who make the fixture list and who have given us (and Chelsea partly) a handicap in this week.

An index that is so untold you won’t be able to tell anything from it

An index of the players who played 100 or more times for Woolwich Arsenal

Not an index at all, but a book

42 comments to Why did Arsenal have to play 3 games in 6 days?

  • Richard B

    It would be an almost impossible analysis to do – but it would be interesting to know the impact of the upcoming transfer window on who is played and when.
    There will be players at all clubs that the manager knows won’t be staying in January and who it’s politic not to play. This could be to avoid injury or perhaps because it’s alreasy known that he will be joining the club that you’re actually facing that day. It may even be a risk in case he plays really well and makes you look a fool for ‘off-loading’ him!
    As outsiders we are also in ignorance of how individual players react to being rested or rotated. The likes of Bendtner (probably via his dad) has a reputation for mouthing off and even the ice-cool Bergkamp was quoted as saying that he hated being a substitute because he rarely felt comfortable or able to give of his best coming on late in a game. But, with most players, we just don’t know. Eboue seems to remain cheerful and grateful for any purpose that the manager puts him to – which for us is a blessing and maybe, for him, is a bit of a curse in that it might get exploited. But it’s now been revealed that he signed a new contract a few months ago (why so quiet at the time?) and, we assume, that he’s comfortable with his current role.
    Again we don’t really know – it’s all conjecture. Arsene might not actually know best – but its damn certain that he knows better than any of us!

  • trax

    again, nice one walter.. i really didn’t see that until i read this article.. but then again 7 out of 9 points despite the handicapped really is not bad… now, that would relief the stress in my system over the wigan draw.. particularly cos i don want to blame neither wenger nor squilly for that draw against wigan.. phew, thanks walter.

  • A Casual Observer

    I have been saying this all week – bravo Walter – spot on.

  • Dark Prince

    You cant really say, city n spurs got 9 out of 9 points by making reasonable changes. Arsenal too should have made reasonable changes rather than a massive change. We could see in the wigan game that one of the best contribution came from Wilshere who also played against Chelsea. He showed how much confidence works in a team after beatin a team like Chelsea few days back.

    Though i think Arsenal had good opportunities to seal the game but they didn’t and were playing too much to contain Wigan rather than attackin and finishing off that game. But its past now, all we can hope is that against City we have our best squad. Its vital that Cesc, Nasri and Walcott play this game.

  • Airport

    QPR fan in peace. Good article, I think the main benefit of the rotation policy will not be seen now, but in the coming months. I expect four days rest will be enough to see a full strength side take on City, but the Wigan incarnation will then take on Leeds and Ipswich. Some Arsenal fans seem to forget that success brings extra games and I think long term Wengers being incredibly clever. I have a feeling this could be like the 1997/98 season where you overhauled Man U with an incredible spring run.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Good points. I have no doubt Wenger had to rotate, and he did what he thought was best.
    I just wish he could have rationalised his rotation by playing Nasri against Wigan and Cesc against B’ham (instead of using non in Wigan game, and both in B’ham game).
    What’s done is done anyway!

  • Andy Kelly

    The question that should be asked is why we are still playing to such an archaic structure of fixtures?

    The reason that clubs play so many games at Christmas and Easter dates back to the late 19th century. Clubs utilised public bank holidays to play as many games as possible as they knew they would get bigger crowds due to fans not working.

    There were no evening matches back then so, to maximise gates, the vast majority of games were played on Saturday afternoons (again because most fans worked on Saturday morning).

    Things have progressed so that mid-week matches can be played in the evening.

    This season will be played over 40 Saturdays with a possible 39 mid-week fixtures. If Arsenal reach every cup final they will have played 63 first team games giving a possible 16 mid-week breaks.

    By next Sautrday we will have played 5 games in 12 days. Utter stupidity – playing a 21st century game in 19th century conditions.

  • StoneRoses

    I hope we play the first team tomorrow, then make 11 changes for Leeds, and play that same team against Ipswich. That will give the starters 10 days rest.

  • Tasos

    Airport

    Great point.
    Sometimes it takes someone like yourself, an impartial observer, to understand the benefits of Wenger’s methods in the long term.

    Its my belief that the eight changes from the Wigan game could, in the future, become all eleven, a complete rotation of teams but one also capable of performing and gaining a result in the PL whilst the “A” team, so to speak, is given the necessary time to recover from its exertions after a high energy performance, like the one given against Chelsea.

  • Keith

    Listening to ESPN for the Birmingham game it made me laugh when they sniggeringly and in a belittling manner said that they ‘bet Wenger sat down prior to Christmas with a spead sheet to work out the permutations of who to rotate’.

    Surely that’s exactly his job and what he’s paid to do!!

    Having said that had we had the full 7 days other teams enjoyed he may well have been tempted not to have changed too many for the Wigan game but at least 3 of them were forced i.e .Fabregas suspension, Clichy and Nasri had knocks.

  • Fresh Prince

    I truly feel Prof was right in rotating those players. There is no guarantee that if all the players who played against Chelsea played the Wigan game we would have won. 7 out of 9 is good. Other teams are also aiming for something. Let’s support the Prof. His judgment is good

  • only1

    WALTER!!! thanks for this article, i have been screaming to make a detail analysis of the fixture!! Something I have even felt more unfair is that arsenal had not just played 3 games in 6 days, but we are also playing Home-away-away.

    If we look at the other teams
    Chelsea: A-H-H (their away to Arsenal is almost like home as its all in london)
    City: A-H-H
    UTD: H-A-A (same as us but with 1 day grace)
    Spuds: A-H-H

    Thus, there are clear signs of corruption here in our fixure, Arsenal needs to travel to the north of the country, 2wice in 6 days and added with the crazy bias fixture of away match after a CL game and crazy fixture last season too, no doubt corruption is in place, Walter/tony if possible, pls advice how the fixture is arrange.

  • Andy Kelly

    And has anyone else noticed this?

    There is a full Premier League programme of fixtures on FA Cup Final day!

    With 79 possible dates in the calendar they still can’t squeeze in the FA Cup Final.

  • The players we are rotating to are top players who would slip straight into the first team all the time at most other clubs. These second string players are in many cases pushing to become top players for us, and so need occasional games both for the practice, and for their own motivation, otherwise they will leave.

    So they should be played when possible – against Wigan, against Leeds, against Ipswich. It is an important part of the approach.

    Because otherwise we will hit another injury patch and find that our back up players just aren’t firing on all cylinders.

    And that’s in addition to the need to rest the top squad that played against Chelsea.

    I’d expect that line up again, and then the lesser squad against Leeds. But even if it is the lesser squad, I’ll still be there – as I will against Ipswich. Supporting the second XI is as much part of being a supporter as going to the glory games in my view (assuming you can get a ticket and live within striking distance of the stadium.)

    Jane and I did a 300 mile round trip for the Chelsea game – but my God it was worth it.

  • Wrenny

    Great article, I’ve been making these points for days!

    – 3 games in 6 days
    – 2 of the games were away, home match against the Champions
    – 7 points from 9
    – Only 1 injury! (small miracle right there)

    You can stamp your foot all you like about the Wigan game, but if you rotate players it is because you need your best ones fresh for other games, and you have to take those results into consideration also.

    If you isolate the Wigan result without considering the Brum and Chelsea results for which the Wigan changes were made, your analysis is worthless.

  • walter

    Yes Andy I have noticed this also.
    This could mean that a team (lets say Arsenal) plays and win the cup final on saturday and then will have to play another game on Tuesday/wednesday (the last home game against Aston Villa) and then move on to next Sunday to win the title.
    Well I think we all would go for that scenario. 😉

    And then ook at that silly gap in March where we have to play 2 (TWO!!!!) games in the whole month in the PL, one FA cup game and one CL game. 4 games in total in a month with 31 days! How stupid can you find it. Oh yes part of that gap will be used to play international games… sigh….

  • Airport

    I think you guys are also jumping the gun a bit, I would say the festive fixture list is still in progress until tomorrow evening. If Arsenal were to be City, that would justify Wengers selection in hard points. As we speak, Silva and Balotelli are ruled out of tomorrows game, which I think already starts to justifies Wengers policy, If a team are struggling with injuries having laid out 100 million, the only hope the rest have is to better manage their meagre resources. I believe Wenger has learn’t from the experience of the last 3 years.

  • Goons_with_Guns

    Good work, Walter.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Walter, there’s only one reason Arsenal didn’t get 9pts from 9 and it has nothing to do with 3 games in 6 days and it has nothing to do with rotation.

    It has to do with the XI on the pitch, at Wigan, sitting back on a 2-1 lead instead of killing the game off.

    There is an article on this site about ‘how to become champions’.

    The first way is to stop complaining, whining and whinging about this, that and the other and just get on with the fixture list and win them.

    The second is to give the players who didn’t deliver at Wigan a good bollocking before focussing on the next game.

    And the third is to look at the fixture list and say that, if Arsenal play as they can in those 18 fixtures, then if anyone beats us to the title, then fair play to them because they’ll have played bloody well to do it.

    In other words, stop the endless blame game and focus on winning.

    The team seem to be. Do you think you could too??

  • Andy Kelly

    @Rhys

    If Arsenal had been awarded and scored either of the two blatant penalties decisions then it is highly likely that they would have won the game.

  • Dark Prince

    Completly agree with Rhys Jagger. We claim to have the best squad in epl and still cant win against a relegation battling team with all those rotations. But at the end of the day, its all about winning,

  • bob

    What, gambling in Casblanca! Does a fish rot from the head!
    Indeed! Meanwhile, back at the Klavern, here’s what Klan Fergus is now getting away with (again) in plain sight: from the very bowels of Brum crime scene, a capo brays Forth his master’s voice: “We accept the decision and will now have to move forward into the next three games without the services of Bowyer. We have got a good discipline record at this club and stress to the players every week how important discipline is.” We know who holds the Leish and has them credulous press stenographers in his keep as he literally praises Pulis for defending his tactics so well (vs. Arsene), even as he, Sir F-word the Manly, is about to face Stoke. What a Man(ure), I say! (Not like that whinging Frenchman). Any names, fellow sleuths, of even one of those very good boys who actually do that Scheduling service? I can’t imagine their holiday bonuses.

  • DC

    Excellent analysis Walter and spot on!!!
    I might also add that, cumulatively, our away matches additionally involved travel that was further than our rivals! You align that with only 1 day’s rest in between, then Arsene had no choice but to rotate! He’s clearly looking at ALL the matches in this period collectively and has allocated the squad personnel that he rightly should expect to do the job! The Wigan draw cannot be solely attributed to his selections and rotation but was a combination of: the boys not competing strongly enough against a side, yet again, that was really up-for-it against us and; yet more unbelievably corrupt refereeing from that muppet Probert!
    I can almost say with confidence right now, injuries allowing of course, which lads will play against the Sheik’s mercenaries tomorrow (it’ll be the same “big-game” side that played against The KGB and those thugs at Birmingham as they will be fully rested for 3 days and be playing back at the Grove) and which boys will play against Leeds in the FA cup at the weekend (it’ll be the same side, except for Diaby and possibly Shezza in goal for Lukasz, that played against Wigan).

  • DC

    @ Dark Prince & Rhys,
    Your views and comments are always interesting, if not always realistic!
    Try putting yourselves, for a minute, in the position of a professional athlete or someone whose responsibility it is to look after their welfare in order to optimise their performance!
    Imaging you compete in a very high intensity event where people are constantly trying to kick you and rough you up! You finish that event and are all bruised and your body doesn’t even BEGIN to replenish anywhere near its full natural reserves or condition for at least 48 hours, that is assuming that you haven’t picked up any stressful injury from the contest! Now imagine that you are then forced to take part in another similar event before you’ve fully recovered! Do you honestly think that the performance of that athlete will be similarly productive and without serious consequences for them and their future events?

  • Paul C.

    I can’t see why people are complaining either. We knew what the schedule was before the season and AW rotated the way he felt he needed to. AW even explained why he made wholesale changes, rather than simply change 4 or 5 players for one game, then the same for the next game. He quite clearly explained that, in his opinion, it is better to change the whole side rather than simply a few players. If that is what he feels then that is fine. 7 points out of 9 in those 3 fixtures, considering 2 were away from home and the other was against Chelsea is FANTASTIC!!!!! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!! Why on earth would any fan be complaining about our results over the Christmas period?

    You can’t win them all. Points will be dropped. Over the Christmas period it is most important not to lose ground against your main competitors.

  • DC

    @ Dark Prince & Rhys,
    I do agree that at Wigan, Arsene perhaps could’ve substituted Samir & Theo on earlier but I also clearly can see and understand why he didn’t! Try to put yourself in his position because i’m sure that almost every player he has wants to play every match but he also knows that their bodys and fitness don’t always want them to do so! That’s why Arshavin is massively struggling at the moment and looks way off the pace and intensity!

  • DC

    @Paul C,
    Well said!!!

  • Vahn

    Perhaps this is also partly the fault of the fans.
    When we saw our team sitting back on a 2-1 lead instead of killing the game off, the fans should encourage the team to kill the game off. We should shout and yell louder and louder, even louder from the home fans, until the player hear our voices. Like “one more goal, one more goal”.
    So stop complaining, whining and whinging when we fans do nothing other than just watch.

  • Finsbury

    DC,

    Well said yourself too. I think your efforts will be unappreciated there.

    I once tried to explain logically to Dark Prince that there is still a little bit of odious racisim left in English football, as it exists everywhere on Earth, and it’s relevance to our manager. Even with the understanding that football fans here in London are amongst the best there are.

    Bowyers three stamps on Sagna (Attempts. Was Sagna bovvered? Nope.), & Satan FC’s post match remarks don’t require any explanation!

    Anyway, looking at the police escort notice here for fans of Bowyer and the Damned Utd on Saturday:
    Their route/kettle to the ground takes them all the way from Finsbury park up Avenell Road, past the hallowed steps of Highbury, up the steepest gradient of Highbury Hill, over the crest again, down Auburt Park with some grand views overlooking the new ground, and eventually into the stadium itself.

  • DC

    @Finsbury,
    It is very sorrowful that there still remains a xenophobic or racist underbelly! We can only hope that very soon once the beautiful game Arsene has brought us finally overcomes all the EPL’s corruption with trophies and titles aplenty coming to the Grove, then maybe he will be fully appreciated for the immense good that he has done for one and all; whilst the likes of Pulis, Hughes, Allardyce, McLeish, et al are shunned into total obscurity!

  • Finsbury

    DC,

    I feel that sport in general can bring out that kind of irrational sentiment in any part of the world. What I meant above is just context: Arsene Wenger is a manager who moved to England, became successful, and has therefore had to deal with a little resentment. A common experience, no big deal.
    Rafa Benitez’s media war with Slur Fergus and his chums during Liverpool’s bid for the title is another example.

    Arsene has won a few trophies already, it’s possible to speculate, within reason, that he might have annoyed a few people when his team went unbeaten.

  • Dark Prince

    @DC- one simple answer to your reply- look at how City or Spurs dealt with the same assumptions. They too are playing in d same league as Arsenal is and played the same number of matches like Arsenal in last week. And lets not forget that we’re talkin about Wigan here, a club which is in d relegation zone. Infact, they too played the same number of matches as Arsenal in last week. So why cudn’t Arsenal really dominate that game?? Simple – the chemistry was lackin. And it was mostly bcoz of the massive changes. Plus, there r few weaknesses of Arsenal that can be seen this season, like for eg, Squillaci and Koscielny partnership is not good, playing Denilson and Song together does not work out, and most clearly, Arsenal are horrible at set pieces (50% of our goals conceded is directly or indirectly related to set pieces), Eboue is definately not a left back!! We need to have atleast one creative midfielder in the team to create chances for d strikers (obvious one i think) Etc etc etc….

  • Finsbury

    From the above post:

    “We(Arsenal)were the only team that had to play those 3 (difficult) games in 6 days. All the other teams had 7 days to play their games.”

  • Dark Prince

    And yet we lose points in the most easiest game among those 3 games….

  • GoonerOz

    Not to mention we would have won at Wigan but for the ref.

  • DC

    It’s very interesting to me why people, some fans and non-fans, continue to go over old ground all the time

  • DC

    It’s very interesting to me why people, some fans and non-fans, continue to go over old ground all the time! It might just be better to wait till the end of the season and see what happens, or wait till all the sides that you are concerned about have played equatable matches!
    Theorising with conjecture on the fixture lists and results from various rivals when not all have played similar teams and matches is actually a waste of time and not conclusive or a true reflection of how good or bad they, or we, are as a team; especially during this tough season for one and all!
    Just look at how everyone waxed-lyrical about Chelsea at the start of the season when they were playing very poor early season sides and were thrashing them 6-0 but are now finding it very difficult against similar sides! What’s clear is that these same sides have now started to reach their true, mid-season levels of performance and purpose!).
    Wrt to Arsene, the trophies we’ve won under him in the past were great but the ones that we’ll win with this side will be even sweeter and more heartfelt for both him and us! These titles will be achieved in a manner that he will have always desired from the very first day he joined our family and fell in love with our club.
    He’s been aspiring to attain a long-term, sustainable, and prosperous legacy that is built on beautiful, entertaining, sophisticated football that will, I hope, set another benchmark that others in Britain, such as Holloway and Coyle are beginning to do, will hopefully follow! What annoys the English footballing “great and the good”, is that his ideology goes against everything they know and think they are able to achieve too! Whether that’s because they lack the aptitude, ability, work ethic or motivation to do so is unclear but what is very clear is that change always breeds resentment and hatred from those with a self-perception that they have the power and control! When this happens, the AAA brigade and short-sided D&Gs find their ammunition! Sadly though for them, change is inevitable and will always happen whether one likes it or not!

  • Tasos

    DC

    HERE HERE!

  • LKK

    Actually, we could have rotated all 10 players except the goalkeeper if TV and Gibbs are available. And yes! AW had made an awesome improvement in terms of depth (squad) at the expense of our drought (Trophy)which I do not mind because this will lead us to success for a long time.

    Actually in my opinion:
    No matter how important a player is, it will not be able to change a system and that is what AW had done. Created a System! A few examples that system is more crucial. when Cesc was down, we have Nasir. When Ramsey was down, we have Wilshere.

  • GoonerTerry

    Interesting debate – Walter will be pleased by the discussion that his comments have elicited..let me add my 10 cents: I think that it was Tony who said earlier that with the burgeoning talent in our 25-man squad Wenger simply must find games for all the players or risk having players go off the boil or becoming restive (like what’s happening at City)..And what he tried to explain is that the chemistry of the side is affected with any changes and he maintains that, for him, wholesale changes are better than small ones. This is because there are “teams” within our team. Certain players play better with certain other players. What the team against Wigan may have been guilty of is a touch of underestimating their opposion when they went 2-1 up… But had we not conceded an own-goal to level at 2-2 then we could well have taken all three points and there wouldn’t be a need for any arguments…people also forget that players are not robots and as DC rightly puts it a body needs at least 48-hours to recover. That’s the least amount of time for lactic acid to drain from muscles. And stress injuries will not be apparent until adrenalin has dissipated – depending on the individual that could be another 48-hours! So Wenger’s rotational policy is the smart strategy given that we were faced with the festive season games plus extended Carling Cup involvement and the FA Cup lottery about to begin…We can’t simply play your best 11 for all games because when changes are forced upon us then the players coming in will be rusty – remember the so-called second string don’t have the benefit of playing reserve football and training is no substitute for actual games. On the question of which team had the easier games in a given period is academic in a 38-game season because all teams drop in and out of form. Teams don’t remain static. Some teams will always give some other team a game regardless of where they are in the table. Given that we have already played all our closest rivals away from home – and beaten Chelsea convincingly at Christmas – you’d think that we now have the advantage psychologically going into the second half of the campaign. If we overcome City tomorrow then that will add another feather to our cap and confidence will spread right the way through the squad…you would have to be a pretty pessimistic Gooner not to be enjoying this (0;

  • goonergerry

    I agree with Walter and GoonerTerry on this one. The gap between the Chelsea and the Wigan game was so short it left AW no alternative but to rotate players. Why was the gap between games so short? Its alright having rules which require teams to play their first choice team in every game- then why doesn’t the fixture itinerary allow this to happen? Why do so many games have to be played in such a short time- in such crap conditions? Its always a triumph of quantity over quality at this time of the year. Doesn’t the FA care about the quality of our football?
    Spurs may have got 9 points but they didn’t play our games- and don’t have to play a top team like Man City on Wednesday.
    Paul C is right we have no right to complain about the 3 results over Christmas.

  • Adam

    See how much interest there is in frequent fixtures. Maybe this should be the way forward. I would happily swallow rotation if I can watch Arsenal play every other day. Alot of people seem to forget that Wenger has truly put together a fantastic squad. which deserves to be on display as much as possible. More games i say. Wenger & Arsenal can handle it. could all the other clubs.