Wenger to Experiment with ‘Experienced Team’ against BATE

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Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger committed to Arsenal

EUROPA

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will this evening play “quite an experienced team” against Bate Borisov, despite his side having already won Europa League Group H.

The Gunners have managed to qualify without using a number of regular first-team players in European games.

Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott have not started a Premier League match between them in 2017-18, but have played in Europa League ties.

“I have many players available who need competition,” said Wenger.

Asked how winning the group would affect his team selection for Thursday’s home match, Wenger replied: “Not too much.

“Next week we go into a week with three games and so some players need competition, some experienced players. We’ll play quite an experienced team.”

While Arsenal has already secured a place in the last 32, Belarusian side Bate Borisov is one of three teams aiming to finish second in the group to also advance.

Borisov, beaten 4-2 at home by Arsenal in September, is bottom, but only a point behind Red Star Belgrade and Cologne, who meet in Serbia in Thursday’s other match in Group H.

Wilshere has had numerous injury problems during his Arsenal career and has not started a Premier League match for the Gunners since the last match of the 2015-16 season.

He spent the last campaign on loan at Bournemouth in an attempt to get regular match action but has only played 65 minutes of Premier League football this season.

On Tuesday, Wilshere posted a picture on Twitter of him ice skating with his family, but Wenger has warned the 25-year-old England midfielder to be careful.

“It is not ideal for your balance, the way you fall down, for a footballer it’s not great,” said the Frenchman.

“You can do ice skating by bringing your child on and just making sure nothing happens to him, or (you can do) ice skating violently. I don’t think he did that.”