Arsene Wenger vows Arsenal won't sacrifice any competitions this season
Arsene Wenger says modern sports science includes a lot of treatments "that nobody knows if it's really efficient or not" and admitted his team will not sacrifice any competitions this season.
Arsenal play West Brom on Monday night before a Europa League game against Belarusian team BATE Borisov on Thursday, which is then followed by an early kickoff against Brighton on Sunday.
Wenger said the scheduling will force him to rest several players for the Europa League trip, and questioned whether there are any treatments that can actually help athletes recover quicker today than 30 years ago.
"They have warm-downs, they have what everybody does nowadays - treatment with the physios, massage, cryotherapy and all the stuff that nobody knows if it's really efficient or not," Wenger said, when asked how his players will be able to recover from Thursday night to Sunday morning.
"Because you have a lot of science. If you read the science, some have proved that it works, and some prove that it doesn't work," he said. "Those who prove that it works usually are sponsored by the guys who sell [the treatment].
"Because at the end of the day, since I am in the job, we have improved a lot the medical treatment. A lot, a lot. But still, if you have a muscular problem it takes 21 days. It took 21 days 30 years ago. So we have to respect nature, and nobody could make miracles."
Arsenal are in the Europa League for the first time under Wenger and are still getting adjusted to the Thursday-Sunday schedule. But unlike rival managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, Wenger did not want to entertain the idea of ignoring the Carabao Cup in order to lighten the load.
"With the pressure that every club is under now, you cannot sacrifice any competition," the Arsenal boss said. "You know that you could pay the price sometimes for it because if you go further in the League Cup, at some stage you play semifinals where you are home and away in January, and you have the FA Cup, the Premiership. Sometimes you lose players in these competitions."
Against West Brom, Wenger will come up against Kieran Gibbs for the first time since the left-back left Arsenal this summer in search for more playing time. Gibbs seems to have broken into Tony Pulis' team after starting West Brom's last two games - unlike Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has just one start and four substitute appearances since joining Liverpool last month.
Wenger insisted that he hopes both players have successful careers at their new clubs, but also warned that the grass hasn't always been greener for players who left Arsenal.
"You look at the players who performed here and left, and you come back to me after," he said. "Once a player makes this kind of decision you wish them well and you focus on your squad...
"Of course I sympathize with [Oxlade-Chamberlain], with everybody. But we're in a job where you have to accept that you are judged every day on your performances. But the level of your performances is not permanent. It's down to you to respond to that."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.