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Wenger Explains Decision Not To Make Any Subs vs Chelsea
Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw by a very defensive-minded Chelsea side on Monday night.
In what was a dull game, the two major talking points were a stone-wall penalty on Theo Walcott that wasn’t given and a poor tackle by John Obi Mikel on Mikel Arteta. However, another interesting subject was the fact Arsene Wenger decided not to make any substitutions throughout the 90 minutes.
I’m not sure about you, but I was crying out for the boss to mix things up and really go for the win. We had the likes of Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and even Nicklas Bendtner on the bench waiting to make a positive impact on the game, but Wenger decided to ‘stick’ instead of ‘twist’.
After the game, he was quizzed over this unusual decision and Wenger explained that he felt he had enough offensive players on the pitch and none of them looked like they needed a rest. He told Arsenal.com:
on not making substitutions…
Because I had plenty of offensive players on the pitch and we were in the need to attack. I had Walcott, I had Ramsey, I had Ozil, I had Giroud, I had Rosicky, and because we didn’t play for nine days none of them looked really jaded. That’s why… I felt we had the balance defensively and we had four or five offensive players on the pitch, let’s continue to do that. And we had the chances, of course. When you don’t score you don’t score.
Hmmmm. I get what he’s saying, but it’s not really about adding to our offensive players, it’s about introducing something different to the mix. Surely when players like Rosicky, Walcott and Ramsey were having below par games and Chelsea were holding us at bay with relative ease, it’s worth bringing on a fresh pair of legs to just give them something different to think about?
It’s not like subbing Rosicky for Cazorla is going to weaken us, is it? Chelsea looked comfortable, it took us until the 82nd minute to have our first shot on target, so I really don’t see why Wenger wasn’t making subs after 65-70 minutes.
Therefore, I’m not buying his reasoning. I think he was too scarred to lose the game, so decided to just see it out and hope we nicked it. It’s understandable after we lost to Man City last week, but it would have been good to see us make a positive change to try and win the game against Chelsea.
Anyway, a draw is not a disaster. We have come through a very tough run of games and are level on points at the top of the table with some very winnable games coming up. So plenty to be positive about.