Jermaine Jenas: Why Arsene Wenger’s decision cost Arsenal

Jermaine Jenas questions Arsene Wenger's decision to substitute Olivier Giroud

Jermaine Jenas has questioned Arsene Wenger’s decision to take off Olivier Giroud during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat by Chelsea.

The Gunners manager was forced into action in the 18th minute after Per Mertesacker was sent off for hauling down Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

I can honestly say I have never seen that happen in any game I’ve been involved in

Jermaine Jenas/cite>

Wenger opted to sacrifice Giroud for Brazil centre-half Gabriel Paulista to fill the void left by Mertesacker in his defence.

However, some Arsenal supporters at the Emirates Stadium were unhappy with the tactical move and Arsenal struggled to create any real chances despite the introduction of Alexis Sanchez.

Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jenas believes Wenger should have left Giroud on the pitch to offer the home side a target man against Chelsea’s robust defence in north London.

“Arsenal played well and showed great character with 10 men against Chelsea, but taking striker Olivier Giroud off after 22 minutes was a mistake that cost them the chance to get something from the game,” Jenas wrote in his BBC Sport column.

“Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had to sacrifice an attacking player to bring on another defender when Per Mertesacker was sent off for a professional foul, but I think his choice shocked everyone.”

Jenas added: “The Arsenal fans and Giroud himself made it very clear what they thought of the decision, and I agreed with them.

“I can honestly say I have never seen that happen in any game I’ve been involved in. If a team has a defender sent off, it is usually one of their ‘luxury’ players who gets dragged off – not the big striker.”

Arsenal are in third place and three points behind surprise Premier League leaders Leicester City.

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The Gunners host Ronald Koeman’s Southampton side in their next top-flight game at The Emirates on Tuesday 2 February.

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