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Nov 2, 2011

Wenger: RVP gamble didn't pay off

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted his resting of Robin van Persie for the Gunners' goalless draw against Marseille was a gamble that backfired.

• Brewin: Arsenal revival continues

Van Persie has been in outstanding goalscoring form for Arsenal in 2011, netting 28 times in 27 appearances prior to Tuesday night's Champions League meeting with Marseille.

But Wenger opted to start Park Ju-young ahead of Netherlands international Van Persie for the Group F match at Emirates Stadium, and a lacklustre display ensued as the clash finished 0-0.

Wenger said: "The reason I left Robin out was physical tiredness - that's all. He would have to play 50 matches a year. He cannot play 50 games.

"It was a bit on the edge. It was a gamble. You can say it didn't come off. He had a great chance when he came on.

"I believe you cannot just say that one player always has to make the difference. It was a game where we were not the sharpest physically. We lacked a bit of class in the last 30 metres."

Of his team's overall performance, Wenger said: "We were tired emotionally more than physically maybe. It's difficult to be on a high three days later [after the 5-3 win over Chelsea]. We wanted to achieve qualification tonight.

"But in the last two games against Marseille we took four points. I'm confident we can qualify top of the group."

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