As it turned out Arsenal got into the next round of the FA cup without too many dramas and without having to bring the National League club Sutton United back to the Emirates stadium for a replay. The team that Arsene Wenger selected to start the game at Gander Green Lane got the job done, and even though Oxlade-Chamberlain had a good impact coming on for Elneny at halftime, Arsenal were already ahead through Lucas Perez.
I must admit, however, that I was a little worried when I saw the Arsenal team as there was no Giroud, Welbeck or Alexis Sanchez, although the Chilean striker was on the bench in case of problems. What I do not really understand is why Wenger brought him on with 20 minutes to go.
The Frenchman was asked about this after the game, with the press clearly wondering whether it was a risk worth taking with our star man on an artificial pitch, as reported on the Arsenal website, and Wenger responded by declaring that there was no risk involved.
He said, “He is a guy who has a strong body. I think on this pitch it is the guy who does not have good co-ordination, who is heavy on his feet, who is in trouble. Alexis is more a guy who has very good co-ordination, he is light on his feet. I don’t think it was a risk.”
The thing is, though, it is always a risk of sorts and when you saw the Sutton players flying into tackles it was probably more so than usual. Was it not a bit daft of the boss to risk his most important player at the end of a game that was already won?
I understand that Iwobi may have needed to go off after being involved in a heavy tackle himself, but would it not have been better to go with Gibbs? Was Wenger just keeping the forward happy with minutes on the pitch and the chance to add to his goal tally?