COMMENTARY | Following Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at home against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger had to defend his decision not to field his strongest possible team. While Tuesday evening's Arsenal team was fairly experienced, the squad included seven players who are most likely not the manager's first choice at their respective positions.
Speaking after the match with Arsenal.com, Wenger stated, "I think it was a very tight game that was decided on one or two mistakes but overall we cannot play all the games with the same players, at the some stage you have to rotate."
Wenger went on to say, "No, that's not a regret overall (his decision to rotate his squad) - there's a lot of positives in the game, there is as well negatives because we lost it and that we repeated a little bit giving the first goal away."
For as long as Wenger has been in charge at Arsenal, the French manager has taken the Capital One Cup (formally named the Carling Cup) lightly, usually using the competition to let his younger players gain more experience.
One of the issues with the Gunners on Tuesday night (besides the team's defensive play) was the lack of finishing. The team had a few chances at goal, but failed put much pressure on the Chelsea goalkeeper. Second string striker Nicklas Bendtner started the match, thus resting the team's most complete striker, Olivier Giroud.
Bendtner did not have a good game, and was substituted in the 67th minute (Giroud entered the match for Bendtner). Bendtner's lack of play Tuesday night appeared to frustrate Wenger, as he told Arsenal.com, "I do not want to go into the individual assessment of the players in the press conference. I leave that between the player and myself."
Although, the Gunners currently have both Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott returning from injuries soon, it may be wise of Wenger to look into purchasing another striker during the January transfer window to help take some of the weight off of Giroud's shoulders.
One striker that is definitely up for sale is Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski. According to The Express, Dortmund want to sell Lewandowski to a club outside of Germany, to avoid letting the star striker join their rivals Bayern Munich on a free transfer next summer. The report also suggests that the Polish international could be bought for as little as $11 million (about a quarter of his actual transfer market value).
The Gunners surely know what Lewandowski can do up front, as he scored the winner in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat against Borussia Dortmund last week. In 16 total matches for Dortmund this season, Lewandowski has managed to score 10 goals.
Christopher Moore has been following Arsenal Football Club for over 10 years.
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- Arsene Wenger
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