When Doncaster Rovers were drawn to face us in the Carabao Cup, their players might not have expected to be up against Alexis.
But the Chilean ended up playing the full 90 minutes of our 1-0 win at Emirates Stadium, six days after starting our Europa League victory against Cologne.
- Team news: Ozil, Welbeck, Chambers, Jack
- Wenger - My thoughts on Wilshere future
- 'It will be strange to see him in that shirt'
- The boss... on Lacazette, Evans and Barry
Alexis didn’t start at Chelsea in the Premier League and Arsene Wenger was asked on Thursday whether there was an agenda behind his team selection.
“There is no disguised attitude on my side,” responded the boss.
“I just try to get him back to full fitness and for me the Europa League and the League Cup is important as well. So I just try to give him competition and to get him back to his best, because I gave him a long holiday and after that long holiday this year he had a real rest. He came back not really fit, it took us time to get him back and then he got injured.
“If you add the injury plus the rest time it was a bit long, but on Wednesday night you could see that he is coming back sharp now and I left him on the pitch as well for 90 minutes because I wanted him to have a real go.
“All the players are [in my plans], he’s not more than another. I said I chose the team at Chelsea who can be strong on the counter-attack and fight very hard and Alexis could have played if he was 100 per cent fit at the start, but for me there’s no real hierarchy.
“I have six or seven strikers, but if I go in one game with three strikers, the three who have not played will play in midweek in no matter what competition it is. That is nothing calculated.”
Wenger also believes that Alexis has settled down again after the speculation over his future at the end of the transfer window.
“I think that [saying he is distracted] is coming into very quick conclusions,” said the boss. “He has been out and injured, I thought he was still a bit short physically on Sunday, and I played him against Doncaster to give him more competition.
“The the impression I have [is that he’s happy].”
Copyright 2018 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.