Arsenal - Wenger To Protect League Interests In FA Cup
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Wenger To Protect League Interests In FA Cup

The third round of the FA Cup has always been something I've loved ever since I was a little boy. It's the chance of seeing a non-league team knocking out a top flight opponent that makes it so exciting.

When we played football in the park as youngsters, it was never the winning goal in the European cup final or the World cup final we were scoring, it was always a last minute winner at Wembley, the FA Cup was simply the trophy that every football fan wanted their team to win.

Things are a little different these days, so much emphasis has been put on the fabled top four and the massive pot of gold that comes with it, that a bit of gloss has been removed from the world's oldest club knockout competition.

It is however, something I still hold dear.

It's no secret that at Arsenal we have an horrendous injury record, and it has been that way for quite sometime. So it comes as no surprise at all that Arsene Wenger is looking to rest some of his players as we attempt to tackle West Ham at Upton Park tomorrow.

We've recently lost our two first choice left backs, our star striker and one of the best central midfielders we've ever had. And there's a few others besides. So with massive league games coming up in the forms of Bolton and Everton, it makes perfect sense for Wenger to take care of his league position doesn't it? Especially after our miraculous turn around after getting stuffed by Chelsea at the Grove.

Wenger will probably be on the receiving end of fair bit of stick for changing the team for the FA Cup, but the reality is that there are only a handful of mangers in the history of the game who have been even remotely as successful as Wenger has been in the FA Cup.

But the Manager was brutally honest when he said that despite his desire to win the trophy once again, the league is his top priority.

"We want to win, but we want to protect our home games against Bolton and Everton as well," said the Arsenal gaffer.

"Bolton becomes a very important game for us, but we want to keep our momentum going. I will change some players that`s for sure. The Premier League is always more important. The FA Cup is important to me as well, but the Premier League is so hard that you want to take care of your position."

So whilst the little boy in me wants us to go balls out to get through to the next round, I fully understand the need to rest players, and believe that Arsene will put out a side he believes can take us through.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 2 2010

Time: 12:21PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Playing a dangerous game are we not :-) Could it backfire?
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02/01/2010 12:42:00

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02/01/2010 12:49:00

If we don't get through then it's worth questioning, we should have the strength to do the garnetts though.
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02/01/2010 15:03:00

I think you either question it or you don't, can't have it both ways.
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02/01/2010 15:14:00

Depends whether it's purely a youth/reserves team, if he doesn't put out any first teamers then I will question it. If we see Rosicky/Eduardo/Ramsey from the start (for e.g.) then I won't.
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02/01/2010 15:16:00

Well I suppose questions could be asked before the game, but questioning his decision purely based on the result is unfair. Wenger's doing his best with an injury riddled squad to try and win the league.
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02/01/2010 15:23:00

Of course it is - that's why I said it depends on the team.
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02/01/2010 15:41:00

The good old romance of the Cup eh Rocky? Imho we have to win this game (a) to keep the good momentum going, (b) to keep our chance of winning a major trophy (the FA Cup is 'major', the CC isn't) alive until we can't afford to, (c) to keep our confidence high cos failing to get past a struggling West Ham would do our rhythm a bit of damage. Oops (c) is similar to (a) right?
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02/01/2010 16:42:00

I want us to win all three,l but if we have to rest key players (and I mean key players - Gallas, Vermaelen, Sagna and Arshavin not Traore, Diaby and Eduardo etc) then we should do it, but don't put our a Carling Cup team.
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02/01/2010 18:30:00

I hate this. Wenger did the same thing last season. He played a ridiculous team against chelsea in the FA cup semifinal and went all out against Liverpool in the league. I want a ******** trophy dammnit!
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02/01/2010 18:58:00

He dropped Arshavin, that's it.
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02/01/2010 19:09:00

Sajit, with due respect, Wenger would logically want a major trophy even more badly than you do and will obviously put out an optimum team to do the job on the day. One cant go all out with all our first teamers against the hammers given our current injury list. One cant comprehend how you expect him to do that against the hammers.
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02/01/2010 20:12:00

Wenger doesnt rate the FA Cup, compared to the League and CL. He hasnt, for the past few seasons anyway. So, this comes as no surprise. In any case, I fancy a 'weakened' team to handle West Ham. Its a good opportunity for some of the others to stake their claim for a place (Merida, Wilshere, Ramsey and the like) in the 1st squad, given our injury list.
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02/01/2010 20:15:00

Tom, he didnt play Song either. My question is - the league was already gone. Wasn't it criminal that he didnt go all out for the one piece of silverware we could have got last season.
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02/01/2010 22:14:00

I don't expect a much changed squad; Song should play (his last game before leaving for the ACN), alongside Diaby,Ramsey, Vela, Edu and Rosicky. We'll probably, rest Sagna, Arshavin, and Gallas but will still retain some of the steel at the back if we have Vermaleen, Senderos, Craig Eastman and Traore. Such a side will beat the Hammers, anyday. I am optimistic we shall win this one.
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03/01/2010 03:05:00

Considering our injury list, you'd have to be crazy not to rotate. Rotate too much and you'll have many supporters furious at you. I agree with shewore. I expect to see Ramsey, Eduardo, Song, Rosicky, and Traore starting tomorrow.
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03/01/2010 04:11:00

Meanwhile Utd are 10 minutes close to being kicked out of the cup :-) rotation rules baby
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03/01/2010 14:41:00

United have been kicked out....and with their full squad on display. Gutsy fellas, those Leeds players.
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03/01/2010 15:30:00

Hehe Utd have the beer cup to look forward to.
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03/01/2010 15:33:00

Gibson, Welbeck, Fabio, Obertan and perhaps even Neville (who was a complete disaster) is hardly ManUtd's full squad. Fergie tried to mix and match first teamers and league cup players. He failed miserably, just like Wenger has done when he has tried the same thing.
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03/01/2010 15:38:00

we'll see in a couple of minutes! Don't condemn us too fast alright?
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03/01/2010 15:53:00

ptv, what other choices did they have with a few players out injured? Haven't these names you listed played and won matches for United? Currently, that is ManU's full squad, is what I meant. Rooney, Giggs, Valencia, Anderson, Wes Brown, Evans, Berbatov, Owen.....who will you add to this who could have made a difference for United today?
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03/01/2010 16:07:00

The most entertaining team in the UK with or without the reserves
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03/01/2010 16:11:00

I was furious with AW for dropping Song and Arshavin in the FA cup semi last season. But that's irrelevant in this case - it's the third round and we have too many injuries, plus it's vital that we win our game in hand. I agree, the league should be the priority. I want the FA cup of course and I well remember defeats in cup ties at Upton Park, so I'm not confident for this game. I just hope Zola puts out a weakened team as well, we'll have a better chance. At least we'll have Song. Good to see at least one of Gallas and Vermaelen rested because they've played every game and I'm terrified of injuries to both of them. But, bottom line, AW has to do what he has to do with the team selection given the reality he has to work with so I won't complain. Absolutely AMAZING to see Utd go out v. Leeds!!!
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03/01/2010 16:40:00

See, now you know why I hate this. Instead of resting Gallas or Vermaelen , Wenger goes and rests Rosicky. Unless this is an injury , this is nonsense. We've been crap up front.
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03/01/2010 17:11:00

Naijagunner: Fletcher, Carrick, Ferdinand (although he's probably not fit enough yet), Scholes, Park and Evra all sat in the stands. Valencia and Giggs started on the bench. He could have fielded a much stronger team if he really felt he needed to in my opinion. He went for the mix and match - and failed.
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03/01/2010 17:21:00

ptv, you may be right there. However, every team will make some changes at this stage of the cup. In fairness, other than Evra, I wouldn't say you missed the others much; plus, Rio is out injured, anyways. ManU do have a big squad, I hear.
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03/01/2010 18:41:00

Well that turned out nice. A strongish line up, with key players rested and a nice victory. Spot on Arsene.
Report Abuse
04/01/2010 09:36:00


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