• Champions League

Arsenal take depleted squad to Olympiakos

ESPN staff
December 3, 2012
Arsene Wenger saw a depleted squad attend training on Monday © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has opted to leave a number of his star players at home for Arsenal's Champions League trip to Olympiakos on Tuesday.

The Gunners boss, who admitted his team looked jaded during their 2-0 defeat at home to Swansea at the weekend, has left eight senior players behind.

Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski are both injured, while Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud will miss the trip to Athens.

"Some players needed a rest because they were a bit on the fringe of injury and some players were a bit injured," Wenger told Sky Sports News. "When I count the injured players I speak about Podolski and Walcott.

"We 100 per cent needed to rest Wilshere and Cazorla, Arteta and Mertesacker played many games recently and have been rested.

"We he have one luxury that we can [rest players] but we have one necessity which is to win the game so I try to find the right balance between resting some players and having a competitive team."

Wenger, who is set to oversee his 150th Champions League match, appears to be prepared to risk Arsenal's chance of winning Group B. The Gunners are currently second, one point behind leaders Schalke - and Wenger is convinced victory will be enough to top the group.

"I am convinced that Montpellier will get a result against Schalke - they are highly motivated to do it," Wenger said. "If we win the game I am convinced we will finish top of the group. We know the Champions League is a difficult place and we need to play at a very good level to do it."

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