Arsene Wenger has revealed that his double substitution in extra-time was a calculated gamble in a bid to avoid a penalty shoot-out.
The Frenchman introduced Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere for the final 15 minutes, and it paid off as their fresh legs helped Arsenal clinch a late winner.
Despite their shoot-out success in the semi-final against Wigan, Wenger did not want a repeat at Wembley on Saturday and did everything to avoid it.
"I tried desperately not to go to penalties because I did not have many players on the pitch who were specialists at it"
“I had a funny feeling not to go to penalties,” the manager said. “I tried desperately not to go to penalties because I did not have many players on the pitch who were specialists at it. I tried to go for it before the end.
“It paid off but we had a horrible feeling for a long time in the game and in the end it was a relief. The job is how it finishes, all the rest nobody cares.
“Especially [taking off] Cazorla [was bold]. I must tell you Ozil I would not have put him on the penalty list, but Cazorla is a serious penalty taker and that’s why I was hesitant.
“I was worried by the decision I was making because I had two strikers on the pitch. Jack is not a penalty taker, Rosicky is not a penalty taker. Giroud had cramp so it was difficult.
“The other problem I had was the hamstring of Gibbs. Before the end of the game, he had a hamstring problem and so I waited as long as possible but I tried to win it before the end.”
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