Arsenal must field a weaker side against Barcelona and focus on Premier League success


Following their 2-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Emirates last Tuesday, Arsenal must now shift the Champions League to the bottom of their priorities list.

It would take nothing short of a miracle for Arsene Wenger's side to qualify for the quarter-finals at the Camp Nou and given they're still in the FA Cup and in a prime position to win the Premier League, all efforts must now turn to domestic success.

The Gunners have failed to taste league glory since 2004, with pressure from fans building season after season for Wenger to end their 12-year wait.


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However, if Arsenal are to mount a strong challenge in pursuit of either - or both - the Premier League and FA Cup, it's paramount they avoid injuries.

And if they're to do this, their French manager must swallow his pride and field some fringe players against the European Champions on March 16, eliminating the risk of his key men spending any time on the treatment table.

Following defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, Arsenal now face must-win fixtures against Swansea and rivals Tottenham, which could determine their title credentials.

The title race is still wide open and if they take maximum points against the Swans and Spurs, the Gunners are in with a chance of going top with seven games to go, depending on results around them.

Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League

Thereafter, Arsenal arguably have the more favourable run-in of the three and must field their stronger players fresh. The Foxes, meanwhile, face United, Chelsea and Everton in their final games, whereas Tottenham travel to Liverpool and Chelsea with Europa League and FA Cup fixtures still to come.

Given Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere are expected to return in mid-March, Arsenal will soon find themselves with a near fully fit squad which they must take advantage of by preserving their better players.

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