Squad rotation may be wise decision in long term for Arsenal

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Arsenal’s betting odds to win the Premier League have slightly drifted to 9/2 after drawing away at Wigan, but manager Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to rotate his squad for the fixture.

Wenger made eight changes for the trip to the DW Stadium from the team that beat Chelsea 3-1 on Monday, but his fringe players could only muster a 2-2 result, thanks to Sebastien Squillaci’s late own goal.

The result leaves Arsenal two points adrift of league leaders Manchester United, while they have also played a game more than Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

Although he would have obviously rather have taken maximum points, Wenger was not too distraught with the result and believes it could still have a bearing on where Arsenal finish in the final Premier League standings.

He said: “With all these matches we cannot play with the same team always. I don’t think it’s a shame – overall the draw was all right.

“It is a point and we will see at the end of the season how important it is.”

The decision to make widespread changes to his team may benefit Wenger in the long term as more of his chief players will be fresher as the season enters its closing stages.

It could be argued that one of the reasons why Chelsea are struggling for victories at present is because they do rely on 15 or 16 players to get results rather than a whole squad and these players are currently in need of a small rest.

Arsenal travel to Birmingham next in the Premier League on New Year’s Day and will be hoping to leave with more than the point that Manchester United gained from St Andrews recently.

It is 4/6 that Arsenal beat Birmingham, while the draw is priced at 9/2.

A £10 stake on Arsenal beating Birmingham 2-1 would return £70. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.