Arsene Wenger has hinted that he will use Arsenal’s remaining Premier League games, including their match against Manchester United on Sunday, to blood youngsters as he turns his attention to the UEFA Europa League.
Arsenal are all-but guaranteed to finish 6th in the league this season and can only qualify for the UEFA Champions League next term if they win the UEFA Europa League, meaning United could be facing a much-changed team at Old Trafford.
Speaking ahead of the match, and Arsenal’s semi-final second leg at Atletico Madrid next Thurday, Wenger explained: “For me, the fact that there’s not really a lot at stake in the Premier League is a good opportunity to see how ready [the younger players] are, and for them as well to realise that it’s much harder than they imagined when they’re playing in youth-team games.”
The Arsenal squad were pictured jetting off for Manchester on Saturday and the most notable absentees included the likes of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsay, Alexandre Lacazette as well as defensive trio Laurent Koscienly, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal.
Wenger added on Arsenal.com: “I always think it’s first of all part of our culture at the club. I also believe it’s very important for our football club to show the young players some faith and trust. As long as you don’t give them a chance – even if you say that you believe they’re a good player – as long as you don’t have the courage to put them on the pitch, they don’t really believe you.”
By the sounds of it, we could see men against boys at Old Trafford on Sunday which presents are huge opportunity for United to give the departing French manager a proper send-off by adding to the list of humiliations both home and away over the years.