Arsenal boss explains why trio didn’t start against Brighton today

By on March 4, 2018

aaron ramsey arsenal

Arsene Wenger has confirmed he decided to rest Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck against Brighton today ahead of Arsenal’s crucial Europa League clash with AC Milan.

Ramsey didn’t travel to the south coast this afternoon while Bellerin and Welbeck were named on the bench as we went to the Amex Stadium hoping to get back to winning ways.

However, Bellerin and Welbeck were both introduced as second half substitutes as we chased a late equaliser in vain en route to another shocking 2-1 defeat to Brighton.

Wenger has now confirmed that the trio weren’t carrying any type of injury and he simply decided to rest them ahead of the first leg of our Europa League last-16 clash with Milan on Thursday.

Ramsey has only recently returned from a hamstring injury and Wenger didn’t want to risk him while Welbeck will start up front against Milan as Alexandre Lacazette is injured and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible.

Wenger told Arsenal.com:

“Especially with Aaron rested, yes [I had the Milan game in mind], I didn’t want to have a setback with him. Welbeck as well.

“Aubameyang will not be there [in Milan] and Lacazette is not there, so of course that plays a part in my selection decision.

“It’s a massive game in Milan, but we have to focus on it. Hopefully we’ll recover physically and will not suffer too much from Sunday’s game. After that, we will prepare well.”

On Ramsey in particular, Wenger appeared to concede that Arsenal’s priority is now the Europa League. When asked why Ramsey didn’t travel, the boss continued to Arsenal.com:

“I left him at home because I played him in the two games against City, without a lot of training in behind,”

“I didn’t want to gamble today for a physical setback, so I left him completely out of the squad.

“Yes [it’s a sign of the Europa League’s importance], because we have to be realistic. We need two teams to collapse [in the Premier League]. I can’t see that at the moment, because two teams to drop so many points is very difficult to imagine.

After today’s defeat we’re now 13 points off the top four so we can forget about the Premier League and concentrate on winning the Europa League to get ourselves back in the Champions League.

The only worry is that even if we did somehow manage to win the Europa, that may persuade Wenger to stay on as manager for another year and I’m not sure the Arsenal fanbase can handle another year like this one.