Wenger defends decision to bring on Arshavin against Man United

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to replace livewire winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with Andrey Arshavin in their 2-1 loss to Manchester United, The Guardian reports. Wenger drew criticism from his own fans after making the bewilidering decision, but has defended his case.

Wenger’s decision provoked disbelief from both the Gunners fans and Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, who was seen to be open-mouthed at the Frenchman’s choice. Oxlade-Chamberlain had been in great form throughout the game and ran the United defence on numerous occasions, almost coming close to a goal. Boos echoed around the Emirates Stadium when he was replaced by the Russian international and Arshavin’s feeble attempt at a challenge on Antonio Valencia led to the United winner from Danny Welbeck.

The Gunners manager justified his decision by stating that the 18 year old winger had been sick during the week and was feeling an injury slightly. Arsenal fans chanted in disgust at their manager and Wenger is under pressure for this weekend’s FA Cup tie with Aston Villa, where he may start Oxlade-Chamberlain again.

Wenger said: ‘Oxlade-Chamberlain had started to fatigue, started to stretch his calf, and was not used to the intensity. He was sick during the week. Arshavin is captain of the Russia national team. I have to justify [substituting] a guy of 18 who’s playing his second or third game? Let’s be serious. I have to stand up for the substitutions I made. I’ve been 30 years in this job and have made 50,000 substitutions and I have to justify every time I make a decision? I do not have to explain to you every single decision I make.’

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