Arsene Wenger worries his Arsenal players will feel jaded after being rested. The 66-year-old manager has given his players a few days off before their FA Cup tie with Sunderland on Saturday 9 January, and Wenger hopes his squad use the opportunity to put their feet up.
The injury-hit Gunners looked tired during their most-recent game – a 1-0 win over Newcastle in the Premier League. And the Frenchman subsequently admitted he has mixed feelings about giving his squad some time off.
Wenger said, according to The Mirror: "Of course I will give them a rest. I will give them a couple of days, an extra rest, but you never know what shape they come back in. It depends what you do when you have a rest. You can come back more tired."
Arsenal are without nine first team players due to injury, however following the win over Newcastle Wenger confirmed that Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta are closing in on a full recovery. Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck remain long-term absentees.
Meanwhile, Wenger has also talked up Arsenal's title chances, saying they have the mentality and experience needed to lift the Premier League. The Frenchman said that, unlike some of his other sides in recent years, the current team has the character to win when they are not playing well.
"I have belief because of the experience, the quality of the attitude," the Arsenal boss added. "I think a team always has a charisma. If you look at the team as a unit, it is like a person. If you look at your team like a person and the vibes coming out, you can sense – when you are a long time in the job – if there is something in there or not.
"In my job, if you don't believe in your team you are in a bad shape. I think they are more experienced. When we moved into the stadium here the average age was 23 or 24. On our day we could play everybody off the park but when you had to dig deep, come out with your knowledge and your experience, it was a bit more difficult – but these are different teams."