Wenger extols heavy schedule for helping Arsenal rhythm

Manager Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's heavy schedule has helped the side maintain a rich vein of form that continued with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in an FA Cup third round tie on Saturday.

The packed fixture list in England over the Christmas and New Year period has come under fire from several Premier League managers, including Liverpool's Juergen Klopp and Sunderland's Sam Allardyce, but Wenger holds a different view.

After winning seven of their last eight games in all competitions, the Frenchman said the hectic schedule had given the league leaders a perfect platform to build on in the second half of the campaign.

"You have a rhythm (when you have a lot of games). You try to check who needs a breather and who needs a rest and you do it," Wenger told the club's website (www.arsenal.com).

"It is easier to keep the squad focussed and motivated when you have many games. It has both a positive and negative impact."

Wenger also suggested he could rotate his squad for the midweek Premier League trip to Liverpool and again for Stoke City on Sunday.

"When you are on a roll and have no injuries, everyone is in the same direction and it is easier to keep everyone on board. Everyone in the next competition thinks they have to play, and that is a positive," Wenger said.

"There is fatigue and injuries at the end of the season but you can't say we are not a big club and that we can't go for the big competitions, that is important."

The Gunners top the standings on 42 points from 20 games, two points ahead of Leicester City.