Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Arsene Wenger Must Find the Right Balance

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Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Arsene Wenger Must Find the Right Balance
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Arsene Wenger must seek balance against Manchester City tonight

"Squad rotation." That wretched concept is back to haunt us as Arsenal prepare to host Manchester City in the Carling Cup quarterfinals.

Fifteen years ago, this was unheard of, as many teams, including the most successful ones, went through multiple competitions and entire seasons using the same group of players. Often less than 20. To put that number in some perspective, Arsenal have already used 36 players this season!

Coming back to today's clash against big-spending City, Wenger must face a selection nightmare from hell.

There's one school of thought that says, "Pick your strongest squad and try and win the game to keep the winning momentum going." There's a completely contrary way of thinking which suggests, "Forget the Carling Cup, it doesn't count anyway. Just use your youngsters and reserves."

For Arsene Wenger, it's almost a no-win situation.

If he picks his first 11, and one of his main players in the "red zone" (that's a new term this season) gets injured, irrespective of the result, he's going to get slated.

If he puts out a reserve team and they are on the wrong end of a mauling, as is likely, he will be criticized for "disrespecting the only trophy Arsenal could realistically have won."

That obviously leaves us with the middle path, and it is this route that I suggest he follows tonight.

Left to me, here's how I believe the squad MUST line up.

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