Arsenal
Arsenal's second-string side failed to impress against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger plans to continue with his squad rotation policy after Arsenal were held to a tedious home draw by Red Star Belgrade.

Such an approach, which has seen the Frenchman field a team entirely comprised of fringe first-team players and younger hopefuls in the cup competitions while resting the majority of his most important performers for Premier League duty, had thus far produced five wins in as many matches across the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

That impressive 100% run came to an end on Thursday night (2 November), however, with Arsenal's second-string failing to sparkle during a painfully low-quality stalemate against the Serbian league leaders in north London.

While that result coupled with Cologne's 5-2 win over BATE Borisov enough to see the Gunners book their place in the last 32 with two matches to spare, the nature of the performance, the sparse crowd and the fact that the final whistle was greeted by a smattering of jeers may lead to calls for Wenger to deploy a stronger team in the knockout phase.

However, he spoke before the game of his happiness with fielding essentially two separate sides and will seemingly persevere with that system as the tournament progresses, believing that it offers Arsenal a distinct advantage for the rest of the season.

"Look, we made in four games ten points so overall I believe it is good if I can combine both," Wenger was quoted as saying by football.london at his post-match press conference. "You could see it tonight. It was a very intense game. And with the number of games you play - we want to play in every single competition - I think yes, I will continue at the moment."

Asked if he was disappointed with the boos, Wenger said: "No. No, no, no. People I think supported the team. In the end, we did not see goals. They are not used to not seeing goals at the Emirates so for us it is frustrating as well when you don't score. But overall we have to understand as well that there were many young players in the team and I think that is part, for them, of the learning process to play these kinds of games."

Jack Wilshere grew into the game against Red Star after a notably quiet first half and only an acrobatic intervention from Damien Le Tallec prevented him from notching the winner after the break.

The 25-year-old was denied a return to the England set-up earlier in the day for upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil and Wenger reiterated his belief that he could have been included by Gareth Southgate despite making just one top-flight substitute appearance to date in 2017-18.

"He needs these kinds of games to come back to his best level and what Jack needs is to be injury-free for long a period until the end of the season and get games like that," he said. "I believe he could have been involved but he is not so maybe if he keeps his fitness, maybe next time."