Arsene Wenger has admitted he though Mathieu Debuchy might pick up an injury after surprisingly naming him in his starting line-up for Sunday’s clash with Bournemouth.
The full-back started his first game since November 2015 at the Emirates on Saturday but it ended in disappointment after he was forced off early on.
The former France international lasted just 15 minutes before limping off and being replaced by Gabriel.
Despite the early setback, Arsenal went on to win the game 3-1 thanks to two goals from Alexis Sanchez and a rare Theo Walcott header.
Speaking after the game Wenger made the surprise admission that he thought he might lose Debuchy and admits it looks like a long-term problem.
“When I picked the squad I imagined that something could happen to Debuchy,” he told Arsenal’s official website.
“I had Francis Coquelin ready to play right back as well because he can play there, but I went for Gabriel because he’s a defender and is very quick. He adapted well. I watched tapes of him playing full back at Villarreal.
“On two or three occasions he played at left back and I found just one tape of him playing at right back. He was playing in Brazil and I must say that it was not super convincing, but today he did well.
“He thinks it’s a severe one. Don’t go too far because I have to speak to medical people, but you can only assess it really after 48 hours.
“You have to let it bleed and after, usually they have an MRI 48 hours later to see how big the damage is.”
Wenger’s comments on Debuchy are somewhat surprising and do little to reveal why he opted for the Frenchman in the first place. Ahead of the game, the full-back appeared to have little future at the club and has been linked with moves to Roma and Galatasaray recently.