Arsene Wenger has revealed it was important to rest key-midfielder Jack Wilshere for the large part of the tie against Fulham, after the youngster completed over 60 minutes in the intense matches against Everton and Norwich.
The 21-year-old has recently returned from a six week lay-off due to an ankle complaint and was expected to start again on Saturday against fellow Londoners Fulham, however the Boss opted to start Rosicky leaving the England international on the bench until 20 minutes remained on the clock as the Gunners held on to a 1-0 lead.
Reports have heated up recently citing a possible surgery is on the horizon for Wilshere to cure his ankle issues, however Wenger has admitted his recent rotation of the midfielder is to prevent burn out rather than an ongoing ankle injury. The England international has also been given the all clear to feature in this weekend’s must-win tie against Van Persie’s Manchester United.
The Frenchman told reporters of Wilshere’s situation:
He was in a bit [of pain] after the game but I just felt we had to stop him because of inflammation last time and I just felt to give him three games in six days would be too much.
Now he has a break until next Sunday and that is different so he will be available. There is no basic ankle problem.
I do not want to go into a vicious circle again when I play him, I play him, I play him and then suddenly… I think coming back after six weeks out, two games in a week was enough.
I don’t want the game in England to lose the commitment and combative side. But Jack has a game that is based on dribbling so he is more exposed to kicks than players who are just passing players. You don’t want him to lose that because that is his strength.
The good news is that Wilshere will be available to play Manchester United which will add some more excitement into the lineup. Unfortunately the Gunners looked slightly lethargic after a battling 0-0 draw to Everton in midweek, but with a decent rest on the horizon we can expect a more livelier display.
We are yet to hear of Arteta’s situation, however we will keep you posted. Physioroom are suggesting he has indeed suffered an injury but have not revealed a length of time.
Wenger revealed in his Fulham post-match press conference:
[on Arteta’s injury] He played the second half but I don’t know how much damage it’s done. It was a kick. I don’t know if he has twisted his ankle a little bit or not. In this kind of things, it’s just a question of a fraction of a second. If you are fully on your foot at the moment you get it, you break your leg. If you just ease a bit off [you can prevent injury]. Maybe that’s why he got away with it.