Wenger to field experienced side against BATE

Danny Welbeck, Arsenal; Football

Arsene Wenger has revealed he will play an experienced team in the Europa League clash with BATE Borisov on Thursday night.

A relatively strong Gunners’ side with a few unfamiliar names defeated Cologne 3-1 at the Emirates two weeks ago.

And now, ahead of facing the Belarusian side, the Arsenal boss, who left out some of his big-names players for this trip, has allayed fears he will take the match lightly.

Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal all remained in London as Arsenal made the journey to Belarus.

Wenger explained: “I said on Monday night after the (2-0 defeat of West Brom) that I would play an experienced team with a young bench.

“We have a very tight schedule and it is an important game, and that’s why there is only one or two young players who will start.”

He added: “This is the kind of job: you do not get 10 opportunities to play for Arsenal.

“Even if they only get 20 minutes, you have to convince people you have the qualities to do it and the courage to play and show your qualities.”

Ashley Maitland-Niles played in the match against Cologne and is likely to feature against Bate.

Wenger continued: “We see in training that the player has quality. He is here because he has the qualities. After, to show it during competition is something different, and you only discover that during the competition.

“His best position is central defensive midfielder. He has great quality, he can steal the ball without making fouls. I believe he is ready to play.

“He has a great future.”