Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said he will pick “a very competitive team” for his side’s EFL Cup fixture against Brighton on Wednesday.
The Gunners are enjoying a spectacular start to the Premier League season, with 11 wins, one draw and one loss from their opening 13 games.
Their success has translated to European competition as well, boasting five wins from their six Europa League group stage matches to sit atop Group A.
With a congested schedule and the World Cup right around the corner, Arteta could be forgiven for using the EFL Cup as a chance to rotate his squad and give his big names some rest, but he told the media that winning is the priority.
“It is a different competition, but the purpose is the same,” he said. “To play as good as we can, win the game and go into the next round.
“You know there are no second chances and we’ll take it very seriously. We’re going to pick a very competitive team.
“I think everyone deserves chances, and we’ll make some changes with judgement in relation to the load of the players, but we’ll play to win.
“The ones that haven’t played want to have their chance, and feel that they are contributing to the team. The positive thing is that everybody has played games and everyone has been important.
“We have two games to go, and the focus has to be there because we know that afterwards we have a big break.”
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While he claims it will be business as usual against Brighton, Arteta pointed out that heavy rotation of his squad has been their new normal this season, and he sees it as an advantage.
“I think we had a really good pre-season and we put the boys in a really good condition to face this fixture congestion,” he said. “They have responded extremely well, especially the way we play which is really intense.
“I think we are the team in Europe who has rotated the most, and obviously that has its benefits as well. When you are winning, the energy is better and the mood is better, but the preparation is a bit easier, so overall I think they have coped with it really well.
“When they have been used, they have performed really well. For periods in games in the Premier League and when they have started games in the Europa League and the Premier League, I think they have been really consistent.
“It’s a joy of a group to work with because they’re really at it every day.”