Arsene Wenger has welcomed the competition for places ahead of their clash against Chelsea after he made 11 changes to the starting lineup that beat Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday (20 September). None of the players who started the game against Hull City in the Premier League on Saturday (17 September) were involved in the clash as they were given a rest ahead of the visit of the Blues.
The French manager had a mixture of youth and experience in the team that took on the Championship outfit, including summer signings Granit Xhaka and Lucas Perez. The duo are yet to nail down a regular place in the starting XI, but Wenger admitted that they will be in contention for a place in the team for the clash against Antonio Conte's team.
The Arsenal boss has preferred to stick with the proven combination of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin in midfield thus far in the Premier League, with Alexis Sanchez taking up a false number nine role. However two goals in as many games for Xhaka and a brace in the EFL Cup for Lucas could see them force their way into the starting XI for the clash against Chelsea.
Apart from the duo, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Elneny were other first-team stars involved and impressed on the night, but are likely to return to the bench for the game on Saturday (24 September). The game against Forest at the City Ground showed the strength and depth the Arsenal squad possesses this season, something that was lacking in recent seasons, which will please Wenger as they face a hectic schedule in three competitions in the coming months.
"We have four days to prepare for the game, let's focus on that now. The performance tonight shows that the players who played at Hull need to be on their toes and that's what we want - competition for places. The performance tonight shows that competition exists, really," Wenger was quoted as saying on Arsenal's officials site following the win 4-0 win on Tuesday.