Have you ever wondered what goes through Arsene Wenger’s mind when he has to pick a starting lineup before any game? One would think that the most important thing he looks at is the players available to him and how tactically they can outwit the opposition and the players they have.
But it seems like there is a lot more that goes into picking a side these days and Wenger explains to us what happens.
“We start to look at it [the minutes each player has played] and you get their [the players’] feeling as well,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.
“You add that to the number of minutes they have played since the start of the season, then you make your decisions.
“Overall we do not come off it [the international break] too bad because Koscielny didn’t play the first game at all, Giroud played only one half and 80 minutes in the second.
“The only one who played again over the two games is Aaron Ramsey, and apart from that Mertesacker played only one, Ozil played nearly two full games.
“You look at it [the numbers] because we play so many games now. That’s why it’s important to have players like Cazorla, like Rosicky and hopefully Walcott, Podolski and Chamberlain back soon.”
So based on that, I guess each player has a certain number of games (minutes) they are able to play and if they have played to much over a period of time for club or country they will need to be given time to rest and then they will be available for selection. Which makes sense as there is no point playing players who are not 100% fit. Gone are the days when the manager just picks players best on who the best players available are. So someone like Ozil, who is one of our best players, may not start against Norwich this weekend as he played nearly two games for Germany. And with Ozil having picked up a knock whilst on international duty, there is no point risking him against a Norwich side which in all fairness we must be able to beat even without Ozil.