Wenger fears for tired Gunners

Arsene Wenger fears Arsenal's exhausted stars could pay the price for their mental fatigue in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League clash against Fenerbahce.

Wenger's side return to European action after a chastening week in which they surrendered a two-goal in the final minutes against bitter rivals Tottenham and then crashed to an embarrassing defeat at Stoke on Saturday.

The Gunners left Stoke battered mentally and physically and the damage done to their confidence by the last two results could prove devastating.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Wenger could be without injured trio Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Adebayor and Bacary Sagna against Fenerbahce.

With the Turkish club's visit to the Emirates Stadium marking the start of a run of three games in six days that includes a crucial clash against Manchester United, Wenger is desperately trying to lift his squad.

"We looked a bit jaded because we have played a lot of games recently," Wenger said. "My biggest worry is we did not create a lot at Stoke.

"We are not used to playing without creating chances and that is very frustrating. At the moment we are suffering. We put a lot in on Wednesday night and we play again in midweek in Europe.

"We have very bad injuries. We have Adebayor, Walcott and Sagna as well as one or two others who have knocks, but that's the kind of game we played here. When you are not as sharp, you are less agile and you can't get as quickly out of tackles."

Gael Clichy, Arsenal's French left-back, conceded that the Londoners fragile state of mind played a part in the meltdown at Stoke.

"We didn't play well at Stoke but we controlled the game and they scored on two throw-ins so maybe we weren't focused enough on the throw-in," he said. "We have to look forward, what is behind is behind. But it was a big disappointment again."

Arsenal produced one of their best European performances to dispatch Fenerbahce 5-2 in Turkey last month and another victory over Luis Aragones's side would give them ten points from their four group matches - effectively booking a place in the last 16.

At almost any other time, Wenger sends out his most experienced side in an attempt to seal qualification. But, with United on the horizon and morale at a low ebb, he plans to make changes as he tries to breathe new life into his struggling squad.

"We have to rotate. Unlike Stoke we play in between Premier League matches and the games in the Champions League are very demanding. You cannot play with the same side," he said. "You can maybe if you play once per month but not three times a week so you rotate."

Despite such a dispiriting recent run, Wenger still maintain complete faith in his decision to trust his youngsters this season and he sees the coming week as a perfect opportunity to restate their claim for major honours.

"We have a Champions League game on Wednesday and then Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime," Wenger said. "There are no better games in which to come back, give confidence and show our quality."

Wenger's hopes of a morale-boosting victory were boosted when Fenerbahce's Alex picking up a thigh strain on Saturday. Alex scored twice in the 2-2 draw with Eskisehirspor before sustaining the problem which has left the Brazilian as a major doubt.