Fulham 0 Arsenal 1: Wenger explains decision to rest Wilshere
Fulham 0 Arsenal 1: Arsene Wenger reveals that Jack Wilshere is still not "pain-free" after his recent lay-off with an ankle problem
Arsene Wenger revealed that he opted to rest Jack Wilshere for Arsenal’s narrow victory at Fulham because the midfielder is not yet “pain-free” following his ankle injury.
Wilshere was a second-half substitute at Craven Cottage as Arsenal netted their eighth win in 10 Premier League games and moved up to third in the table thanks to Per Mertesacker’s header just before half-time.
“He played on Saturday and he played on Tuesday,” said Wenger of Wilshere. “He is still not completely recovered and pain-free. I took the decision to rest him today.”
Fulham were forced to play for 78 minutes with 10 men after Steve Sidwell was sent off for a lunge on Mikel Arteta early on in west London.
But the Gunners were also reduced to 10 men in the 90th minute when Olivier Giroud was given his marching orders by referee Andre Marriner for a foul on Stanislav Manolev.
“I spoke with Giroud,” said Wenger. “He said to me that he slipped at the moment he went for the ball and it’s confirmed by the television.
“I haven’t seen it but he’s not a tackler. He went over the ball and knowing that Sidwell had been sent off before, I had no illusion of the colour of the card.”
Asked if Arsenal would appeal the sending off, Wenger replied: “I have to see it again. I haven’t seen it on television.”
Wenger’s side, who host Manchester United at Emirates Stadium next weekend, are now in third place in the Premier League table with four games left to play.
And the Frenchman added: “We are on a strong run and we just go into the next game and focus on winning that. The next game will be Man United so it’s a good challenge for us.”