Not sure what was more stunning. The way that Arsenal’s makeshift defense played against Liverpool on Sunday or manager Arsene Wenger’s comments afterward that the Gunners were not ready for the start of the new Premier League season.
“Physically we are not ready,” Wenger said.
“You’re in a catch 22 situation with the Euros because you give the players a rest. We are not ready to play this kind of game and they get injured like Ramsey today, or you give them a rest and you start the season without many of your players.”
Asked why his side were not ready when others clearly were, Wenger answered:
“Because we had many players at the Euros and they played very late in the Euros.
Ramsey, Koscielny, Özil, they went to the semi-final, Giroud. We had four players who went very late.
“We are not stupid, and we prepare with the players we have, but I think as well we need to consider we’ve been a bit unlucky as well.
We have lost [Per] Mertesacker and Gabriel in the preparations and Koscielny is not fit.
You have to accept sometimes that you cannot control absolutely everything even if you try to be as intelligent as possible.”
Wenger gambled by playing one of those players and the move backfired as Aaron Ramsey limped off with a hamstring injury on the hour mark, minutes after Adam Lallana had put Arsenal 2-1 down.
Iwobi left soon after with a thigh injury, and with a trip to reigning champions Leicester City up next for his side, Wenger admitted that he doesn’t know when his side will be physically ready to compete.
“We will try but when they have not [got] the volume of the level required they get injured,” he said.
“You could see that we dropped physically today. It was a game of contrast between two halves but I felt as well that mentally we kept going and we have been absolutely remarkable on that front.
We had 15 minutes where I believe the first goal was a big shock for us, we didn’t see that coming in the first half, and maybe we didn’t recover too much from that.
“I don’t know, we have to be ready next week because we got to Leicester, and I see first what we can do with the players who are preparing at the moment and how many players are injured today for next week.”
What do you think of Wenger’s comments? Is it just a case of getting players back from the Euros fit and playing again?