Arsene Wenger has revealed that he took a risk fielding Laurent Koscielny for Arsenal against Leicester City after he picked up a knock on Friday.
The defender was rushed back into action for the match away at last season’s Premier League champions, after Rob Holding and Calum Chambers were unable to stop rivals Liverpool from putting four past them the weekend before.
Koscielny put in a great defensive display to help his side grind out a 0-0 draw at the King Power Stadium, but we have just been made aware that he was a risky inclusion, having picked up a back injury the day before the crucial encounter.
The French international was forced to stop training the day before the match, and Wenger was so unsure that he took youngster Krystian Bielik as an extra squad member in case Koscielny was unable to feature.
The 66 year-old boss said: “Koscielny had a big back problem on Friday and he had to come out of the training.
“We went to Leicester with 19 players and he decided in the morning he could play and I think it saved us this point. We thought at some stage he would not play but he was very brave and he is brave.
“He was not ready last week. He had only four days’ training and that is too short after having four weeks off.
“I did think if I should have taken a gamble last week or not, but because we had lost already two players, then if I lost another one for two or three months we have a massive problem.
“We looked a different team and he gave us stability and against a team that attacks very well he was very important.”
Koscielny was no doubt the difference between us drawing and losing the match at the weekend, but the story could easily have been different.
If the defender had added himself to the long-term injury list, Wenger would have been ridiculed, and would have put himself in a very dangerous predicament, with no other senior defenders fit within the squad, and just over a week to try and make amends in the transfer window.
The move certainly paid off this weekend, but do you think Wenger was right to take the risk? Knowing we would have been in serious trouble if it had gone wrong, I’m not so sure I would have done the same.