Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed regrets over selection decisions that contributed to fresh injury problems for Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez during last night’s 2-1 victory over Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners moved back to fourth in the Premier League thanks to goals from Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott, but that success could be overshadowed if either Ramsey or Sanchez are out long-term heading towards the business end of the campaign.
Ramsey pulled up suddenly just nine minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute with what looked like a hamstring problem, while Sanchez also limped off after the interval following a heavy tackle from Matthew Upson midway through the first half.
Arsenal boss admits his mistakes
Wenger has admitted that he’s at least partly culpable for both men ending up back on the treatment table, while also conceding that the nature of Ramsey’s recurring injury problem is deeply concerning for the Welshman and perplexed Gunners medical staff.
In his post-match press conference the Gunners boss was asked quickly about Ramsey and told GiveMeSport: "Just visually, it didn’t look good (Ramsey’s injury). When a guy stops straight away and sits down, that’s not good news.
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Ramsey has struggled all season long
“There’s a recurrence of a few muscular injuries and we haven’t found out why. I basically left him out today as a precaution. I had a hesitation between him and Flamini – (who to bring on in the 73rd minutes) – but we lacked a bit of offensive power. It was not the best decision.
“You cannot say it’s not a worry because after a while the player doesn’t play with freedom in mind.”
Sanchez must also be a pressing concern for Wenger, who looked well short of top form and back complaining of pain in his knee after that clash with Upson.
Sanchez staying on was a mistake
Wenger did consider taking the Chilean off at half-time, but eventually relented under protest from the forward. That also proved to be a poor decision as Sanchez hobbled his way through the start of the second half, before eventually being replaced by Olivier Giroud after 68 minutes.
The Gunners boss conceded as much in his presser, stating: “Sanchez got a knock. I don’t think he was himself, he was never really comfortable. I was ready to take him off at half-time but he said: ‘No I can go on’. Sometimes when you can run it off if its just a kick but it got worse and I didn’t see him in the second half.”
Arsenal are back on track and for 24 hours at least sit in that precious fourth spot, but a hard-fought victory has definitely come at a price that may get heavier when the doctors examine two key players the Gunners need for their fight on three fronts for the rest of this season.