Alan Dawson3 hours ago
Arsene Wenger has lifted the lid on a; how he prepares his Gunners for away days in Europe and b; what happens if that is followed by another in the league, like on Sunday, when Arsenal take on Manchester United.
Arsenal travel to Signal Iduna Park to take on Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, November 6 in the Champions League and, if tradition dictates, manager Arsene Wenger will be preparing his Gunners as he has done since the start of his tenure in North London.
However, what was most revealing about Wenger’s policy regarding matches on the road is that, if a second away game follows a European trip, there will be very little training between games as, instead, there will be a greater emphasis placed on medical sessions and recovery.
When it comes to traveling to games in Europe, Arsenal have their final training session at their Shenley Training Centre in Hertfordshire, the morning prior to kick-off and will then depart London in the afternoon, however, there is little time to rest after the game’s conclusion as the team will leave that same night.
‘Usually we have our last training session here in London the morning the day before the game, and then travel in the afternoon,’ Wenger said, as quoted by the club’s official website.
‘You have a press conference when you arrive [and] the next morning you get the players up at around 10am… we have a pre-match meeting where we talk about the opposition, and what we need to do. Then lunch, followed by an afternoon sleep, then tea, another meeting where I give the team out then head to the stadium.
‘After the game we always like to come back to London straight away. Some teams stay the night in the country they have played, but we always return immediately, no matter where we have played.’
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Wenger prefers operating this way because he says the team, if they have won, are generally too excited to sleep straight away and can often be up until five or six in the morning. If they did not travel straight away then they’d have to leave first thing, which would disrupt their sleep patterns and it would also, effectively, waste a day’s work.
‘If you come home straight away, even if you don’t get to bed until 4am that night, you can leave them in bed until midday and so you don’t lose sleep, and you don’t lose the next day. I always found it better to recover that way.’
Arsenal’s title challenge was supposed to hit hurdles in November. The North London outfit have already cleared one obstacle, an examination against Liverpool which they duly answered thanks to goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, but this weeks fixtures, against Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United, will no doubt be the most gruelling. Not just because of the quality of the opposition, but because it is two away games on the trot.
Arsenal play on Wednesday, then have three full days to recover until a Sunday afternoon encounter with United. There will be few actual training sessions between these two tests, though, as Wenger explained that it is ‘all based on warm-downs, recoveries, treatments and assessments: who is tired, who isn’t tired, who has knocks and so on.
‘Basically during the time between a Champions League game and a Premier League game there is more medical work than technical work. If you play on Wednesday night in Fenerbahce and then play at 12.45pm on Saturday at Fulham, what else can you do?
‘You arrive at five in the morning on Thursday, you get them warmed down, then the next day a recovery session outside, then you go again to the next hotel.’
Arsenal are top of both their Champions League group and Premier League table, however, any positive result obtained against either opposition will no doubt fortify their standing as the favourites to finish Group F and the domestic campaign in pole position