Press conference

Why Wenger picked Coquelin and how he rated Alexis

Arsene Wenger had some difficult selection decisions to make on Sunday, and he opted for solidity by sticking with a 3-5-2 formation and bringing in Francis Coquelin.

That means Alexis played up front while Alex Lacazette dropped to the bench.

The boss explained his thinking after the game:

on why he played Coquelin in defence…
I can explain to you that Mertesacker came into training yesterday morning, sick. That Holding had a thigh strain. That Debuchy had just come back from [being] a long-time absentee. That I don’t see that big a problem to play in the middle of the [central defensive] two. You’re a defensive midfielder or a defender, it’s exactly the same. I don’t think that was a problem in our game.

on how he felt Alexis performed…
I felt that in the difficult moments of the game, he did very well because he was on his own up front. In the first half I felt he was very sharp but he had not enough support. Overall, I think he has given everything.

on it being a ‘huge mental test’ for Alexis…
It is a huge mental test, but I had no doubt about him before the game. I know that he is focused and he wants to win.

on what he thought of Alexis’ performance…
I just thought he had a good performance.