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Arsene Wenger: Lineup selection is intuitive

To Wenger, picking a lineup is as much art as science.

He's always watching
He's always watching
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Followers of Arsenal and fans of Arsene Wenger have long known that he doesn't necessarily stick to rigid definitions of formation and lineup. His opinion has long been "if I get a good enough player, he can play wherever he fits best". This approach, of course, has its drawbacks - when it doesn't work, it REALLY doesn't work - but overall, throughout his career, Wenger has seen fit to trust his players and their abilities more than most managers probably would.

In an interview released on the mothership today, Wenger talked a bit more about his team selection process and how it's as much gut feel as it is anything else:

"You try to make it as scientific as much as you can, but it's intuitive as well because you have to think if the balance of the team is right or if one player was a bit better in the last training session. Has one player got a bit of a cold maybe? When two players are together in your mind, competing for one position, every single detail can go for one of them - experience, confidence under pressure - everything can make a difference."

There's a bit more in the video. The interview does confirm that Wenger is not dogmatic about team selection - he will play what he feels is his best eleven on the day, and "on the day" draws heavily from the one or two days of training prior to a game day. Does he always get it right? I'm not sure even he would say that he does, but I like that this is how he approaches filling out his team sheet.

I also love the fact that he's willing make his team choices at the end of the week based on the training that has gone by, and that he doesn't lock himself into a team the day after winning the previous match, because that's what worked last time. I'm not sure how other managers conduct their team-building and game-day decisions; I just like that this is how Wenger does his.