Wenger explains Bellerin and Walcott absences

91

Arsene Wenger says that fitness issues are what caused him to leave Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott out of last night’s starting XI and the 2-1 defeat to Watford.

The England striker notched a hat-trick against Southampton on Saturday, but given it was his first game since December 21st, and with a Premier League clash against Chelsea on Saturday, the Arsenal manager wasn’t willing to risk him from the start.

On Walcott, he said, “If you look well at his history, he has not played for five and a half weeks. He was stiff still yesterday.

“I kept him out of training yesterday. We have three games this week. We know well, do not think we are completely stupid in the way we make decisions.

“I think it was a good, normal decision.”

Meanwhile, Bellerin is still feeling the effects of an ankle injury, and Wenger defended his decision to play centre-half Gabriel there.

“We knew that we had to be strong in the air with their direct challenges,” he said. “Hector Bellerin has just come back from injury and is not completely, in my opinion, recovered.

“We knew that their main danger was from set-pieces and every time Gabriel has played recently, he has done extremely well in this position. I don’t think he was at fault for any of the goals.

“You have to look somewhere else.”

He didn’t make specific mention of Danny Welbeck, but it’s clear from what he said pre-game that he is going to be cautious with a player who has only just started his first game after 9 months out.

However, he did play Aaron Ramsey from the start despite the fact the Welsh international pulled out of training last Friday complaining of a hamstring injury. He looked a long way from 100% and looks set to miss several weeks with a calf strain that is unquestionably a consequence of that.

Francis Coquelin also was carrying a hamstring strain, so it seems sensible selections only apply to certain players, or where there’s a bit more depth.

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And a one
And a one
3 years ago

He looked stiff to me…

Highberry
Highberry
3 years ago
Reply to  And a one

I’d be happier if Arsene could explain why nobody at all except Alexis and our glove butler turned up. It ain’t rocket science Boss. Watford turned up and got stuck into every challenge. This has happened so many times and I for one expect that for the money these footballers get they ought to put a fucking shift in.

SuperTom7
SuperTom7
3 years ago
Reply to  Highberry

To be honest, Alexis was crap yesterday also.

Cagooner
Cagooner
3 years ago
Reply to  SuperTom7

Crap, but he put in a shift.

Uzor
Uzor
3 years ago
Reply to  Cagooner

Put in a shift by holding the ball 10 extra seconds, turning and twisting while his mates are making runs all over.
He loves the ball a bit too much.

ChrisGoona
ChrisGoona
3 years ago
Reply to  SuperTom7

Yep. Think it is time to move Alexis up top (so he “holds” the ball in positions which matter!) and move Iwobi back to left.

Iwobi was outstanding in his brief spell on the left, carrying the ball into dangerous areas and creating havoc.

Why on earth was he was moved to the center!?

Arsensarmy
Arsensarmy
3 years ago
Reply to  Highberry

How in gods name did arsenal make that fat troll Troy deeney look like a world beater. And capoue is ok but he looked like the football gods blessed his boots before kickoff. What a complete and utter nightmare.

Arsensarmy
Arsensarmy
3 years ago
Reply to  Highberry

Imagine if we had 10 other players who played with the heart and desire that Sanchez does. Every time he steps on the pitch he plays like his life depends on it. It was nice knowing you Alexis. Hopefully when you leave for greener pastures it won’t be in England. That will at least soften the blow.

Guylo
3 years ago
Reply to  And a one

You guys stop moaning about whatever one player done and didn’t do we are a big club we should have players able to come on and do the jobs in whatever positions when called upon yesterday was shocking performance wise and there no excuses for it….

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  And a one

The players have a share of the responsibility but they will only give you what you demand of them. If a manager does not demand 100% application every game, the players will not give 100% application. It is human nature. If my boss tells me that here are the day’s targets, I will not try to double those targets, because I can’t be arsed and winning employee of the year doesn’t make much difference to my life… I am earning enough money to live a comfortable life. I know we all hate the cunt little boy who ran off to… Read more »

James
James
3 years ago

Was explaining Walcotts absence in the first half or the second half?

Stuart_Ten
Stuart_Ten
3 years ago
Reply to  James

People say Ozil goes missing in games (maybe true in BIG games..), but Theo ‘pass the buck’ Walcott literally does goes missing in most games. So, when he doesn’t take the chances, (2 BIG ones last night) he gets, he really is a wasted shirt. I like Theo – he seems a nice chap – but we really are missing a lethal, consistent, defenderpant-shitting Winger. imo.

locksley444
locksley444
3 years ago
Reply to  Stuart_Ten

The only winger in our huge squad that can run and dribble past a defender is Alexis, and even he almost never goes wide to cross. From a standstill and with the ball, I’m pretty sure no on else has enough trickery to beat their marker. Arsenal has always been a narrow team. Throwing the full backs forward to add width leaves us exposed many times. When you have Ozil who’s somewhat of a luxury player in terms of his inability to hold onto the ball under pressure, you need two wingers on either side that have great close control,and… Read more »

Hoosier Gunner
Hoosier Gunner
3 years ago
Reply to  locksley444

Alexis is not a winger (neither is Theo) and you never see him beat players with a dribble. He always beats players on the turn, after receiving ball. He’s definitely a striker now and has been a second striker until this season.
The only one with winger capabilities in our squad is the Ox.

GOON
GOON
3 years ago
Reply to  locksley444

I think to be fair to Ozil. He kept the ball well under pressure yesterday. I think. Look we can analyse all players’ performances and pick out a flaw or a moment where they could have made a better decision. Personally, I think we should have started with Sanchez upfront. More pace up front created space to get our passing game going. Then again, I do think Wenger had no choice but to play Giroud up top seen as Lucas played the full 90 on Saturday (a late kick off too). Welbeck and Lucas to start against Chelsea. Pace and power.

Spooner
Spooner
3 years ago
Reply to  Stuart_Ten

The lineswoman was utterly useless from where I was sitting. Theo got continually shoved & wrestled, with no protection. His positioning was sometimes a bit off, but we looked a lot better when he came on.

Don’t agree with the Theo bashing on here today.

remember the invincibles
remember the invincibles
3 years ago
Reply to  James

the chance he missed was a real sitter at the highest level. So much time and space and he messed it up.

Cagooner
Cagooner
3 years ago

Agreed. But to be fair he does typically take his chances pretty well. Just think back to the Southampton game. But, yes, that’s irrelevant and the chance last night was what mattered.

Ndubya5
Ndubya5
3 years ago

That last paragraph? It’s obviously about depth.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter
3 years ago

We alternate every week between having depth and not having depth

Like a New Signing
Like a New Signing
3 years ago

It’s clear after last night’s performance that Gabriel is NOT a good enough back up for Bellerin. Now the transfer window is shut, is it time to give Corporal Jenkinson another go if Hector isn’t 100%?

PBM
PBM
3 years ago

Carl is a great guy but is not and will not be good enough. Just my opinion.

KOSTAFI Axis of Awesome
KOSTAFI Axis of Awesome
3 years ago

I know I’d be extremely unpopular with Egyptians saying this but I’m praying that Burkina Faso edges them out of the Africa Cup tonight so we can have Elneny available for the Chelsea match. Sorry Egyptians.

Sean
Sean
3 years ago

Isn’t Elneny injured? So it’d make no odds either way if he’s back with us or not.

If he’s not injured then these years of Arsenal squad injuries have permeated my dreams and altered my reality.

Alexstratz
Alexstratz
3 years ago

Nah I hope Elneny wins the cup. The only major trophy he can win, this season.

Newxieland
Newxieland
3 years ago

I don’t even know what depth is anymore when it comes to Arsenal…

6 midfielders to fill two positions – but thanks to injuries/loans/suspensions/bad luck had to play the Ox there and probably next week as well.

3 RBs in the squad – but had to play a CB there.

Just how much more depth do we need at Arsenal?!?!

Stuck on repeat...
Stuck on repeat...
3 years ago
Reply to  Newxieland

^^^ This is spot on!

Georgeycharles
Georgeycharles
3 years ago
Reply to  Newxieland

It doesn’t matter how much depth we have if none of them turn up – and for sure, there weren’t many turned up last night..

Graham
Graham
3 years ago

Fair decisions from Arsene. We should still have enough to beat Watford at home withour those two ?

Matt
Matt
3 years ago

Wenger looks and has looked “stiff” to me for the last +10 seasons. Wenger Out

Nasri's missing chinbone
Nasri's missing chinbone
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt

That’s was Wenger’s fault last night and not the players’ then?

We had bags of quality on the pitch. He can’t be blamed if they don’t turn up in the first 45.

What I would say is that our FA cup side without ozil in it looked a fair bit better than our league team.

Mitigating factors in that it was a weakened Southampton side but to me, ozil is not at his best right now.

Christ we miss santi

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter
3 years ago

“He can’t be blamed if they don’t turn up in the first 45” It seems to be a common theme this season – play shit 45 minutes, step up the pace for the next 45. Are you saying you cannot instil passion and motivation and confidence into a team? Ask Antonio Conte who has taken a bunch of flops and turned them into major title contenders. So, yes, Wenger is to blame not just for this game, but for the entire outlook of the team in all games. You cannot say the manager is not responsible for what happens with… Read more »

chippy's chip
chippy's chip
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Hunter

Sorry Dan i replied to nastis missing chin before i read your reply.otherwise i wouldnt have bothered but its so obvious.

Greaves
Greaves
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Hunter

But those bunch of flops won the league season before last and as soon as Mourinho left they were pretty solid the rest of the season. So players can motivate themselves.

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Greaves

That doesn’t even make logical sense. You are saying Mourinho leaving caused them to play better, yet they were self motivated and did not depend on Mourinho to play well…but they flopped…

Gunnerous
Gunnerous
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Hunter

hahahahahahaha
let me catch my breath
hahahahahahahahaha
anyways – when the team wins its because it has great players. when a team loses its all the managers fault. On to the next game. #COYG

chippy's chip
chippy's chip
3 years ago

Who buys those players? Who coaches them? Who picks the team? Who tells them what to eat, what time to bed etc etc

janine
janine
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt

sorry did i miss something i diddnt know wenger was playing, mind u i diddnt see half our players in 1st half.Please turn up on sat thats 12-30 at the bridge

spinner
spinner
3 years ago
Reply to  janine

If Wenger has no responsibility then why are we paying him £8m a year?

Wengerholics like you, can’t see things in an objective way. When we win, it’s well done to the manager. When we lose, it’s all that players fault. Pathetic!

Dawn
Dawn
3 years ago
Reply to  spinner

Oh yes I remember the praise ringing out from everywhere for Wenger after the 5-0 thrashing of Southampton. Wasn’t it something like Wenger should stay in the stands and Steve Boulds red army? Absolute goons being goons!

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Dawn

All tongue in cheek obviously.

Alexstratz
Alexstratz
3 years ago

This is all going to plan. If we drop out of top 4, we will have to win the CL to get CL qualification. Never underestimate a Wenger or an Arsenal that is about to miss out on CL. Wenger just wants to trigger his inner strength for the cup matches. #Masterplan #Genius #SneakyWenger

lango
lango
3 years ago

You can’t win all games,even Chelsea will be defeated in the coming games.its a normal thing.

Petit's Handbag
Petit's Handbag
3 years ago

No explanation on why Chamberlain didn’t start? I’ve Liverpool supporting friends who are in the same boat with Emre Can still starting when he’s horribly out of form. We need Arsene to be more ruthless

true gunner
true gunner
3 years ago

I can understand walcott absence in the first half, he was on the bench. Now in the second half he also went absent, this time he was on the pitch, explain that.

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  true gunner

Would you be confident if you had worked your arse off only for your position to be given to someone else? Walcott scores a hattrick and is on the bench. Welbeck plays a blinder and is not even in the fucking squad. Ox plays brilliantly in the centre and is replaced by a lower league player. What the hell is Wenger doing? Why does he not play the players who are in form? Lucas Perez scores a hattrick in the CL and gets benched. Its a recurring theme

Mark
Mark
3 years ago

He should have brought Lucas on to start the 2nd half instead of Walcott, much more productive and also much healthier. If Ramsey pulled up in training on Friday with a hamstring issue again why even risk him? Should have started Ox from the beginning and gone with Maitland-Niles if a sub was needed there. I don’t care what the physios say about Ramsey’s ability to play, history has proven that his hamstring(s) needs much more caution than the normal player and yet again he will be out for a spell and then struggle to get back to top form… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
3 years ago

But why not bring Bellerin on once it became clear that Gabriel was going to be required mainly as an attacking force in the second half? There is no point resting players for Chelsea when you are in the process of losing to Watford. I like Lucas, but bringing him on for our only deep CM and moving Iwobi to the middle completely destroyed any semblance of attacking shape. And Iwobi had been brilliant down the left for the few minutes before that, then became largely anonymous. Substitutions are really not Wenger’s forte, and various of his decisions appear increasingly… Read more »

Sancheezy
Sancheezy
3 years ago

I wonder what Mac Allegri would have said? Hmm, maybe we’ll find out next season when Arsene finally leaves his position as manager.

chippy's chip
chippy's chip
3 years ago
Reply to  Sancheezy

Fingers crossed

Si
Si
3 years ago

Doesn’t matter what players you put out on the pitch- if they start with the attitude that they can roll over a team putting in limited effort then you are in for a shock. Same old.

jon
jon
3 years ago

The manager does not play. He can make a game plan and all that, but his most important contribution is to motivate the players. When they come out like this, certain of victory, only because they are a “big club”, he has not done his job. I know it is very hard to get people’s feet back on the ground, facing a probably inferior team a few days after a 5-0 win, but this is the manager’s job. This time, he failed.

Mr. T
Mr. T
3 years ago

Arsenal is just being arsenal and Wenger just being Wenger; never wins when it’s necessary and are contented always finishing at Number Four. Just watch how they’ll get bitten at Chelsea as well. It’s gonna be another ten years without a trophie.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Mr. T

It’s “Trophy” fool! 🙂

spinner
spinner
3 years ago
Reply to  Mr. T

What are you talking about? Fouth place is a trophy, isn’t it?

johar
johar
3 years ago
Reply to  Mr. T

“…always finishing fourth…”
We’ve actually finished second as many times as fourth under Wenger.
1st 3 times; 2nd 6 times; 3rd 5 times; and 4th 6 times. That means we’ve finished above 4th 14 times and never below 4th. And still you moan.
But if you repeat a falsehood over and over again you can be President of the USA.

Frode
Frode
3 years ago

Rumour has it Johan Djorou is being flown in to explain the loss…

Bin
Bin
3 years ago

Win 5-0, make 10 changes for the next game.. Wenger logic. Talk about killing momentum. At least keep 3 or 4 players in the side. I don’t dislike Giroud, but surely Wenger can see that it’s good to stretch teams with a pacy striker with lots of movement, and then at 70 minutes when they are feeling fatigued, bringing on a fresh 6 ft 4 powerful guy to knock about the defenders is a superb weapon to have (and has worked this season on numerous occasions.) Unfortunately can see Bayern seriously mugging us off. They’ll be so confident and expressive… Read more »

Shank
3 years ago

All that positivity about the place……..I sure know to fuck what Id do about it when a team like Watford visit.

Straight off id remove all the pace from the team.
Then id keep that young upstart Ox , on the bench, just to let him know that he will never make it in the middle.

Yeah, Id start with a couple of little ditties like that, and when were 2 down quickly at home, Id change it around , but only if im forced to.

What the FUCK??
Excuse me, my gin bottle awaits.

Fuhgedaboudit
Fuhgedaboudit
3 years ago

It’s hard to believe that despite the added depth this year, we are still struggling with injuries, especially in midfielders. I know we are all sick with the loss to Watford, I actually woke up last night in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep for a while because I was thinking about the game. But, I just don’t think we should be getting all over our team. Keep in mind that the only team that hasn’t really suffered a somewhat embarrassing loss or draw this year has been Chelsea. Tottenham’s draw against lowly Sunderland has… Read more »

Tony Hall
Tony Hall
3 years ago

It would be nice if once in a while the players and manager came out after shitfest like that and said “we were really bad today, no excuses and we apologise to all of you who turned up to watch us, it was nowhere near good enough” That would get a lot more respect than the usual excuses.
I am sure the players and manager do care after a bad result but it just doesn’t seem like it sometimes …

Sane
Sane
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Hall

There have been plenty of times when Wenger has admitted we were poor.

Churchil Msira
Churchil Msira
3 years ago

Perez should be starting in every game

ALexis PACINO
ALexis PACINO
3 years ago

By the numbers:
2- number of successful dribbles by Capoue yesterday.
2- number of successful dribbles by Capoue in all his career.

Louqmane Soulaymane
Louqmane Soulaymane
3 years ago

“We know well, do not think we are completely stupid in the way we make decisions.” But Stupid anyway..we all see the rigidity in playing Giroud up front, but we are all completely stupid to know we don play our best football in that case. We all know Ramsey isn’t fit and outta form, but we are all completely stupid to know Ox had a good game Mid week and would have complemented Coq……

Chert Merman
Chert Merman
3 years ago

Can we please sell Rambo for 30 million and go get someone who can stay fit or even play cohesive football? I’ll admit I’m a neophyte when it comes to Arsenal, I’ve only been watching for three seasons. However, in that stretch Ramsey has either been injured or is spraying basic passes into the stands and killing attacks with absurdly over complicated attempts at skill which he does not posses, at least not in actual games. This is not some vendetta born out of some dislike for him as a guy, he seems a nice person, it comes from the… Read more »

John
John
3 years ago

If Egypt should loose , they still have 3rd and 4th place to play for … I hope we turn out massively like we did at the emirates, Giroud will be a perfect sub .. #COYG

Elcamino
Elcamino
3 years ago

I don’t necessarily thing starting Gabriel was a bad decision but obviously Ramsey wasn’t fit because I’ve never seen him play that badly.

We’ve all said we’ve been lucky to escape.from our defensive.lapses…well now they’ve cost us.

But most worrying is why are we not awake at the beginning of matches?

janine
janine
3 years ago

I thought we should of had a pen in 2nd half

Arsene Gonner
Arsene Gonner
3 years ago
Reply to  janine

That explains it then.

Santori
Santori
3 years ago

Wenger caught between a rock and a hard place. If he wins its Stave Bould’s doing If he loses its entirely his fault Arsenal fans in meltdown. Honestly you can’t fault him for resting key players and playing them against Watford Whether they show up or whether Stave Bould can sufficiently motivate them is another thing. But if he played say Walcott 2 days after and he gets a knock plus similar result he would be wrong If he played Belief in and he gets tired for the weekend he’d be wrong People criticise because they want to see what… Read more »

spinner
spinner
3 years ago
Reply to  Santori

I thought ‘Stave’ was a typo but then you repeated it. It’s Steve!

Godfrey Twatschloch
Godfrey Twatschloch
3 years ago
Reply to  spinner

He said Stave twice because he likes Stave.

Santori
Santori
3 years ago

As far as the match was concern, I think we were sloppy because of midfield. The Coquelin/Ramsey combination lacks something As mentioned before Flamini held well playing with Ramsey over a period last season we were deprived of better players and they presided over wins against olympiakos and City It was when our goals dried up ironically when our better assets returned that Ramsey tried to venture forward more and the pair were disconnected But when Coquelin returned we leaked 13 goals in 7 games Again those critics of Flamini will have made up their mind and blamed him where… Read more »

Arsefull
Arsefull
3 years ago
Reply to  Santori

Oh my lord Santori, another fucking Flamini reference. Do you get paid every time you use his name in vain? As for all the statistics involving Le Coq and loses and leaking goals, you and others seem to be inadvertently making the case that most rationale supporters see clearly: most everyone else other than Arteta and of course the great Flamini (over that magically period you keep going on and one about) do not partner well with Ramsey. Moreover, since neither of them play for the bloody club anymore, maybe we should ask whether Ramsey is presently a major part… Read more »

Paul
Paul
3 years ago

Our passing is poor and has been for a while…that really is THE problem. imo

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

If we could short/medium pass like we used to back in the day, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Accurate throw-ins might help too!!

spinner
spinner
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul, would you like to reply to your own comment one more time? 🙂

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  spinner

I’ve got some stuff to do that can’t wait, so I can’t unfortunately, could you fill in for me?

FREDDO
FREDDO
3 years ago

Arsene seems to think that, if you’re playing a team that sits back you bring on a big thug like Giroud to get on the end of crosses, etc etc. However, Giroud loves to play with his back to goal in the middle of the park and that is just too congested and he is not technically good enough. So everything is funneled into the middle and we lose the ball. But when Alexis goes to CF, he starts running the channels and combining with the wingers and suddenly the attack comes alive. Please, Arsene, no more Giroud from the… Read more »

Onenil
Onenil
3 years ago
Reply to  FREDDO

I think Giroud is a lot better technically than you make out. That said, playing him with Alexis wide does not work. It slows the attack, wastes Alexis on the wing and the two never combine. Coq and Ramsey in the middle doesn’t work either and Gabriel is makeshift at Rightback. Watford went 2 up and pressed us. There was no cover for the defence and because the set up was all wrong the players were hesitant and easily dispossessed. With everyone pushing forward Watford were straight into our back line. The players don’t stop trying, or become rubbish overnight.… Read more »

Ollie
Ollie
3 years ago

Just throwing something out there: 1. Our deficiencies this season cannot be ignored but Chelsea have been excellent. 2. Unlikely Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool or Utd are going to win the league either – is it time for their managers to go?

spinner
spinner
3 years ago
Reply to  Ollie

Spuds income is about £200m less than us – they shouldn’t be ahead of us in the league. It pains me to say it but they are overachieving where we are underachieving.
Liverpool are about where they should be compared to their resources (less income than us). The other 2 clubs have new managers. I’m sure they will be sacked if they continue to underachieve for years, like Wenger is doing.

johar
johar
3 years ago
Reply to  spinner

Underachieve for years!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See my stats above.
God give me strength.

spinner
spinner
3 years ago
Reply to  johar

No serious league title challenge for 12 years is underachievement.
Another fan that supports Wenger more than Arsenal.
God give me strength.

Futsboller
Futsboller
3 years ago
Reply to  spinner

Not a fair assessment: if a fan were to stop supporting Arsenal when Wenger leaves the club, then you might have a point; but for now, supporting Wenger and supporting Arsenal are the same thing – he is our manager, like it or not, and he’s done, and is trying to do again, great things with this club. The problem with the lot of ‘same old Arsenal fans’ is that they churn out the same rancid criticism of their team and manager at the slightest provocation as if we’re the only team on the planet that suffers poor form —… Read more »

Gunnerflatter2dcv
Gunnerflatter2dcv
3 years ago

Stick a fork in us .. season over bar the moans and groans.. we are done!Wenger cares more about massaging fragile egos of softies than winning trophies! Why not get into the lanky Frenchmans noggin that he’s s role player not an automatic starter and hopefully we stick to a winning team for two consecutive games in a season. This arsewipe tinkers more than Ranieri did phew!. Thanks for the good times and memories.. time to shift him upstairs

James nyaga
James nyaga
3 years ago

Ramsey Giroud you’ve let us down,why why are not aggressive.

janine
janine
3 years ago
Reply to  James nyaga

sorry i thought there was 11 players out on pitch not two the whole team were shamles in 1st half