Wenger defends rest period

Arsene Wenger says he does not understand criticism of his decision to give Arsenal's players two days off this week.

Last Updated: 27/02/14 at 22:43 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Considering playing Thomas Vermaelen at left-back

Arsene Wenger: Considering playing Thomas Vermaelen at left-back

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Several of Arsenal's squad left the country after the manager spared them training in the wake of last weekend's victory over Sunderland.

And as he addressed the media ahead of Saturday's trip to Stoke, Wenger called the scrutiny of his decision "unbelievable".

"I don't see why that's suddenly a problem," he said. "We have played without a break since December, we don't have to justify that, it's unbelievable.

"We are in a society where everyone wants to control everything. I don't understand this at all. We came out of a heavy schedule. We had two days off, that's all.

"Sometimes it's not only physical, it's mental, you're under pressure all the time, there's nothing unusual there."

Mesut Ozil missed the Sunderland game following his penalty miss against Bayern Munich but will return to this weekend's squad along with club captain Thomas Vermaelen.

The Belgian is fit after almost two months out with a knee injury, and may be asked to fill in at left-back if Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs are both ruled out.

Wenger said: "Ozil had a difficult game because he missed that penalty, and it was on his mind. Sometimes when you're under this kind of pressure it's good to refresh.

"My opportunity is just to put the best team out who can win the game, it's not about individuals, it's about the team.

"If needed Thomas can play at left-back. It's not his preferred position. He's been out for a long time but I still have 48 hours to make that decision."

Wenger was also asked about Joel Campbell, the Arsenal striker who is yet to play for the club but scored for Olympiakos in this week's Champions League victory over Manchester United.

Campbell is on loan at the Greek club, having previously had spells with Lorient and Real Betis, but he remains very much a part of Wenger's long-term plans.

He said: "He was good against Manchester United, convincing in going forward, he looks like he has adapted better to the physical side of the European game.

"We knew always that he had the talent to create something special. He did rely a bit too much on that, but he has now been out at three different clubs, at Lorient, Real Betis and now Olympiakos.

"I will decide his future later, but why not? We bought him to bring him here."

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

sailingmagpie
Top Ten CL Players Whetting Our Appetite

W

ow Pete, you would make an excellent stalker!

fouloleron
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

T

his specializing in mediocrity will only stop when Wenger and his entire back room staff are cleared out. Dortmund are everything Arsenal should be; in fact they're everything Arsenal thought they were, until they met this supreme doppelg nger.

dr soccer
The Bitter Taste Of Arsenal Déjà Vu

Footer 365

Kagawa: My heart stayed in Dortmund

Shinji Kagawa admits life at Manchester United was "particularly difficult", but the playmaker says his heart was always at Borussia Dortmund.

Championship news: Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set to leave club

Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set to leave the club following talks over his future, Sky sources understand.

Championship: Alex Tettey has signed a new two-year deal with Norwich City

Alex Tettey has signed a new two-year deal with Norwich City, with the option to extend for a further year.

Mail Box

I've Given It Some Thought: He's Got To Go

There is some more considered reaction to Arsenal and Liverpool's results, plus a big get well soon message for Jonas Gutierrez. And an apology to Merse...

B**locks To That, I'm Going To Sit In The Shed

Arsenal supporters given their understandable reaction to the debacle in Dortmund, whilst Liverpool fans weren't too impressed either. Still, at least they won...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property