Arsène Wenger has revealed exactly why he chose to start the “remarkable” Alexis against Manchester United on Saturday.
The 27-year-old had only returned from international duty on Thursday after recovering from a hamstring injury to help Chile beat Uruguay, but that didn’t stop him completing the full 90 minutes at Old Trafford.
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“It’s very unusual [to play someone after that],” Wenger said. “I chose him because Alexis is a guy who can take people on and I knew that would be a quality that would work. He is good on the counter-attack, good in short spaces as well. He’s always a player who is not scared of anybody.
“He played very well in the first half but we didn’t give him enough service in the second half because we dropped off too much and we played too many balls in our own half. We didn’t give him enough support by coming out more. For a guy who played a decisive game on Wednesday morning, and then travelling after, it’s remarkable.”
In the end it was Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who made the difference from the bench, and Wenger believes our squad depth will be a key factor in this season’s title challenge.
“When you’re 1-0 down and you come back to 1-1 with one minute to go, it feels like more than a draw, that’s for sure,” the manager said. “I hope it strengthens the belief inside the squad that no matter what happens, we can always come back.
“As long as you’re playing many big games, you can give games to everybody. It’s more than that. It’s just the understanding and camaraderie in the side. It’s the common target you share. Sometimes a player won’t play in October and then afterwards he’ll play every game until January. That’s part of it.”
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