Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will take the chance to rest players in Arsenal's final Champions League group game against Galatasaray despite having the chance to win the group.
The Gunners play the Turkish giants on Tuesday knowing they need a win to have any chance of topping Group D. Should Anderlecht manage to beat Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal will win the group and thus have a greater chance of progressing past the round of 16 by means of a more favourable draw.
However, Wenger is under no illusions and is well aware that Anderlecht have little chance of leaving Germany with three points. As a result, he has actively dented Arsenal's chances of winning in Turkey by leaving behind several key stars, including Alexis Sanchez.
Chance to rest
"A few players [will not travel] because there's not a lot at stake and we have given a lot in the last two weeks," Wenger said in a statement.
"We have to recover a little bit. Alexis will not travel and I don't think I can play, for example, Koscielny.
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"[Koscielny] didn't play on Saturday and I don't see why I should risk him for a game where’s there's not a lot at stake - first place hypothetically, but there’s maybe a 10 per cent chance."
Sanchez has been a key player for Arsenal since signing a £130,000-a-week deal to sign from Barcelona in the summer. So far the Chilean has scored 13 goals for his new club and is far and away their top scorer this season.
However, having started 31 games for club and country already since the start of the World Cup in June, Sanchez risks burning out. Resting him now could pay dividends when Arsenal face Newcastle United on Saturday where a win in necessary to make their Premier League season does not descend into crisis.
Premier League form
Arsenal lost their fourth game of the season against Stoke City, going 3-0 down in the first half. Second half goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey hinted at a comeback but the deficit proved too much to overcome.
Win or lose against Galatasaray, Wenger is likely to be met with more criticism from Arsenal fans if they can't turn a deteriorating situation around.