Arsene Wenger has admitted that his decision to start Robin Van Persie on the bench in last night’s Champions League fixture against Marseille did not pay off. The Gunners resulting barren draw means that they will have to win their last 2 matches if they are to qualify for the knockout stages without a hitch.
Van Persie has been in outstanding form for Arsenal this year and going into the match, he had an amazing 27 goals in 28 appearances for his side. Of course, the scoreline is not a clear indication of the match as Arsenal had a host of opportunities to break the deadlock.
Choosing to start with Parjk Ju Young, the Gunners lacked the killer instinct that has been their trademark this past month. Speaking to the press immediately after the match, Wenger acknowledged that his gamble did not pay off.
“The reason I left Robin out was physical tiredness – that’s all. He would have to play 50 matches a year. He cannot play 50 games.
“It was a bit on the edge. It was a gamble. You can say it didn’t come off. He had a great chance when he came on.
“I believe you cannot just say that one player always has to make the difference. It was a game where we were not the sharpest physically. We lacked a bit of class in the last 30 metres.”
Arsenal’s barren draw coupled with Dortmund’s win over Olympiakos means that Group F is still wide and the final 2 slots will only be determined after the final round of fixtures takes place early next month.
Despite the result, Wenger still believes his side can qualify top of the Group.
“But in the last two games against Marseille we took four points. I’m confident we can qualify top of the group.”
Meanwhile, the Blues continued for Chelsea on Tuesday as they drew 1-1 away to Belgian side Genk. A missed penalty by David Luiz condemned the Blues to an unexpected draw that has started folks talking on whether Chelsea can really mount a strong challenge for any silverware this season.
The Blues lead Group E with 8 points from 4 games just 2 ahead of Leverkusen. Valencia lie in 3rd place on 5 points but still have a good chance of going through to the next round if they win all their matches and either of the 2 teams Chelsea and Leverkusen lose all their remaining matches.
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