Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud both missed Wednesday’s friendly victory over Bayern Munich because of illness, while Sead Kolasinac had to come off before the break and second-half substitutes Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey both finished the game not feeling well.
Wenger acknowledged that the “shock” of coming to sweltering Shanghai — where the temperature was 37 degrees at kickoff — from Australia’s winter climate may have affected the players’ health.
Asked if the long-haul flights to different time zones and weather conditions are worth it, Wenger said: “It is a good question. Unfortunately sometimes I give bad answers to good questions. But if you ask me if it is ideal physically to prepare, I say certainly not.
“Does it have other advantages? Yes, because we can meet fans all over the world. The bonding in the team is easier as well because we live together for two weeks. So on that front it can be very positive. But the real answer will be given by the way we start in the championship.”
Arsenal beat Bayern 3-2 in a penalty shootout after Alex Iwobi levelled the scores 1-1 with a last-gasp header for the Gunners at Shanghai Stadium, in a game that stood out mainly for the heat.
Robert Lewandowski had given Bayern the early lead and squandered a number of chances to double their lead before the Gunners gained a small measure of redemption for their two 5-1 losses to the German giants in last season’s Champions League.
That’s despite Wenger playing with a makeshift back three of Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny and Krystian Bielik after Mertesacker had to withdraw just before kickoff to return to the hotel. Laurent Koscielny also missed the game with a back problem.
While Bayern dominated much of the game, Wenger was pleased with how his team handled the difficult conditions throughout the week.
“It was a bit of a shock for us to come from Australia where we were freezing,” he said. “When we came out of the plane in Shanghai I must say it was a bit of a shock. And we had decided to work very hard Monday and Tuesday so I was a bit scared that tonight we could have big problems.
“In fact in the first half we suffered a little bit but then in the second half we became physically sharper, and maybe Bayern dropped a bit as well. It was an interesting game for us because we had to dig deep and I think we’ll benefit from it in the coming weeks.”
But he rejected the notion that it would erase memories of the Champions League drubbings against the Germans.
“These kinds of games don’t wipe out what happened last season, we’ll always remember that,” he said. “It’s different but it’s still good to win against a team like Bayern because it can help a little bit the confidence… It helps us to think, let’s push on with the last two weeks of our preparations. So on that front, mentally it’s good.”
Arsenal continue their travels by flying to Beijing on Thursday for another friendly against Chelsea on Saturday but assistant manager Steve Bould won’t be with them after needing a hernia operation in Australia.
Bould was left behind when the team left Sydney on Sunday and has undergone a successful procedure,.
“Steve Bould has a hernia. He had to do it [the operation] in Australia, he couldn’t travel,” Wenger said. “It all went well, but he couldn’t go on. He suffered too much, he had to do it in Australia. He will go home on Saturday from Australia. But he’s OK, I had him on the phone last night and he’s good.”
Bould, the former centre-back who played for Arsenal from 1988-99, has been Wenger’s main assistant since 2012.
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