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Champions League First Knockout Round

Wenger wants right balance

Arsene Wenger has admitted he will rest a number of key Arsenal players in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash away to Olympiakos.

Last Updated: 05/12/12 at 21:56 Post Comment

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Although the Gunners have already qualified for the knock-out stages, they still have the carrot of finishing top of Group B if they win in Greece and leaders Schalke fail to beat Montpellier in France.

However, with Arsenal desperately needing to improve their Premier League form and position, a win would help restore the confidence of a side currently 10th in the table and 15 points adrift of Manchester United.

Among those who did not travel were Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker.

Speaking on Monday, ahead of the game with Olympiakos, Wenger said: "Some players need a rest because they are on the fringe of injury and some players are injured.

"Podolski and Walcott are injured, Wilshere needs a rest and Mertesacker has played many games recently."

Podolski left the field during the second half of Arsenal's defeat at the hands of Swansea on Saturday, while Walcott played all 90 minutes at the Emirates.

Wilshere, meanwhile, has only just recently returned to first-team action after 17 months out through injury.

Wenger, who has been at Arsenal for 16 years, added: "We have one luxury in that we have qualified but we want to win the game and top the group.

"I must try to find the right balance by resting some players and still having a competitive team on Tuesday."

The under-fire Arsenal boss is confident Montpellier will do them a favour with a victory over their German visitors - even though the French side cannot even reach the Europa League.

He added: "I believe we'll top the group if we win."

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