Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Welbeck has killer touch to seal semi for Gunners


By Mark Mann-Bryans

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he is worried he may lose more players to injury over the Christmas period as the festive fixtures pile up.

Wenger made 11 changes as a Danny Welbeck goal was enough to seal a forgettable 1-0 win over West Ham last night and put the Gunners into the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Wenger has been rotating his team between the Premier League, Europa League and Carabao Cup so far this season and has bemoaned the lack of rest time his side has had relative to their recent opposition.

Both Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin limped out of the match last night, with Wenger anticipating Giroud will be out for up to three weeks with a hamstring problem. With Liverpool visiting the Emirates Stadium on Friday, Wenger conceded he is concerned that he may see more members of his squad ruled out in the coming weeks as Arsenal enter a run of 10 games in 36 days.

"It is very demanding, especially because we already have a tough schedule behind us," he said.

"We have to sit down and analyse very well what we can do. What is very worrying in my job is when you start to lose players, like Giroud tonight.

"After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule.

"When you look at our fixtures in January and February, you cannot imagine we will always play with the same players in every game.

"Will I change from Premier League game to Premier League or only in the Carabao Cup? I don't know yet, I have to look at the fixtures to see what I do."

West Ham have enjoyed a recent resurgence under David Moyes, including a 0-0 home draw against Arsenal in the league last week, but were toothless at the Emirates.

They had just one shot off target as Moyes made six changes, with the former Manchester United boss left frustrated with the overall display.

"I think we are making steady progress but I was disappointed with the quality of our play," he said.

"Overall, we were never out of the game in a cup match against Arsenal. We have conceded one goal in two games against them now and I think if you said that the day I arrived here I would have taken that.

"We put out a strong team, what was available to us but we have got big games coming up as well and arguably, I'm in a more difficult position than Arsene Wenger."

Moyes was unable to select Manuel Lanzini after he was hit with a two-match ban following a retrospective charge for diving to win a penalty at Stoke.

"I'm disappointed because I don't see any consistency," added Moyes.

"I'm not sure even in this room, everybody would be unanimous and that was what it said it had to be."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph