Wenger Explains Decision Not To Make Any Subs vs Chelsea

By on December 23, 2013

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.


  1. flo8

    December 23, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    defensive chelsea are you kidding me. 11 attempts to arsenal 4.

  2. Dammy

    December 23, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I think Mourinho was being tactical, he took off harzard hoping walcott will start to leave space at the back which will eventually expose Sagna but it didnt work or on the other hand expecting wenger to sub walcott for Carzola knowing fully well he wont track back as much as walcott would. But wenger knew all his substitution was all about mind games and he didn’t fall for it, a draw is not that bad, we will have a good run of games and claim back our top position. CYG

  3. Segun

    December 24, 2013 at 12:06 am

    As far as i am concened he made the right decision….if he brought in carzola for ramsey..we all know he isnt quite good at defending giving chelsea a chnce to counter…fair result if you ask me

    • Manny

      December 24, 2013 at 12:36 am

      I would have liked Wenger to bring in Carzola for Rosicky add a bit more zest to the game with some quick passes and maybe brought Podolski on for Giroud he is not afraid to shoot after all.

      But it was a game of tactics both teams were being very careful not to lose

  4. Susu

    December 24, 2013 at 12:20 am

    2 points out of 9 possible. Am i the only one that is worried. Something is going on behind the scenes.

  5. Marc B

    December 24, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Hogwash excuse, it was obvious Wenger didn’t have a clue what to do, his body language said it all. Mourinho’s got him so scared that he’s probably dead chuffed he got a draw. The lack of substitution means we only went out with on game plan. The man is absolutely useless when it comes to tactics. This is why we will never win anything under Wenger again, to win things, you have to win big games and we crumble when t comes to big games.

  6. bright chingoma

    December 24, 2013 at 3:53 am

    a draw was a fairest result considering that it was a derby

  7. Antique Gunmen

    December 24, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Mou did his typical best once again to deny our win. And how Mike Dean involved “to help” them. That bloody sided fortune Goddes still follows their ass. But,I sense our weakness that in a dull game like this we should use a single chance into a goal, which was Giroud failed to do. A world class striker need a.s.a.p in January, Arsene. DO OR DIE!

  8. Joe Lotodo

    December 24, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Good for us

  9. @xempe

    December 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    It was a great game and good result for both teams cos both coaches were tactical and clever because a wrong subtitution may ruin the game I think Arsenal did their best but can do better. @xempe

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