Graeme Souness suggests why Arsenal will field a weak team in the Champions League

Arsenal Logo

Graeme Souness believes that Arsenal’s poor Premier League campaign is the reason for their weak Champions League side.

Gunners head coach Arsene Wenger has already confirmed the side he will put out to face Galatasaray on Tuesday evening, and it shows some major changes from his strongest XI.

Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud have been left out in favour of Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo, whilst Hector Bellerin looks likely to feature in the left-back position. Joel Campbell is also to be awarded a rare start, but the best news for the North London club is the return of Mathieu Debuchy, who has been out of action since September.

Arsenal are fighting to claim top spot in their group to secure an easier knock-out stage tie, although, even if they clinch victory over their Turkish opponents they will be hoping that Anderlecht can defeat Borussia Dortmund. Should Dortmund secure a draw it is likely they will progress in first place due to their superior goal difference, and a win for the Germans guarantees them top spot.

Despite the chance of still winning their group, the weaker starting XI comes as little surprise, with qualification already guaranteed. Having fallen to defeat at Stoke on Saturday in the Premier League, it is likely that Wenger will waiver a good performance in the Champions League tie to secure a good result at home to Newcastle next weekend, as the Gunners look to kick-start their league campaign after a faltering start.

It is the need to field a strongest XI when the Premier League returns this weekend that sees Wenger name a weak side, according to former Liverpool star Graeme Souness. The Sky Sports pundit claimed that Wenger is wise to have one eye on the Newcastle fixture at the weekend, especially considering the Magpies were the first team to defeat Chelsea this season last Saturday.

The former midfielder said: “He’s [Wenger] got to strike a balance and get the best out of the group over the next two games because they’ve got to start winning games in the Premier League.

“That's why he isn't fielding his strongest team and thinking he’s got to win in Turkey. Even though Dortmund are poor in their own league you would expect them to beat Anderlecht - and that means Arsenal can't win the group.

“I don't blame Wenger for having one eye on the Newcastle game at the weekend.”

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch