x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Arsenal start prepartions for tough road ahead

Right-back Bacary Sagna will miss game against Hull City with a hamstring injury as Wenger knows the depth of his squad will be tested in the coming weeks.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he is not in a hurry to add to his striking options when next month’s transfer window opens. Geoff Caddick / EPA
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he is not in a hurry to add to his striking options when next month’s transfer window opens. Geoff Caddick / EPA

Rotating the squad will be vital if Arsenal are to maintain the pace at the top of the Premier League as the most hectic part of the season looms, manager Arsene Wenger said Tuesday.

A strong start to the season has lifted Arsenal four points clear after 13 matches but they face seven games in 25 days this month, beginning at home to Hull City on Wednesday night.

The right-back Bacary Sagna will miss the game with a hamstring injury, meaning a rare start for Carl Jenkinson, and Wenger knows the depth of his squad will be tested in the coming weeks.

“I rotate considering the level of fatigue,” Wenger said.

“We have some indications – my eyes, some objective data and as well some positions where it’s more demanding on the physical front than others.

“We have so many games that in some positions I will have to change; the full back position is one that is very demanding. Central defence is a little bit less demanding on the physical side, it’s more on the concentration side.

“When you play so many games of that intensity, we expect to lose one or two players. In every single game I will rotate. I try to limit the number because I do not want to disrupt the balance of the team, so I do that in every single game.”

With striker Olivier Giroud and midfielder Aaron Ramsey having scored 15 league goals between them this season, Wenger said he is not in a hurry to add to his striking options when next month’s transfer window opens.

“I am not concerned about that,” he said.

“We have at the moment Yaya Sanogo who is a striker we brought in during the summer, who is coming back from injury. Hopefully, he will help us in the second part of the season.”

One bit of good news for Wenger is that German forward Lukas Podolski has returned to training after recovering from a hamstring injury.

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