English Premiership

Wenger denies mind games over Lacazette fitness

2017-12-06 21:26
Alexandre Lacazette (AP)

London - Arsene Wenger has hit back at Jose Mourinho by insisting he wasn't using gamesmanship when he picked Alexandre Lacazette to face Manchester United 24 hours after saying he would miss the game with a groin injury.

France striker Lacazette was a surprise selection for Arsenal's 3-1 defeat against United last weekend as Gunners boss Wenger had stated he would miss the game due to the injury he suffered against Huddersfield at half-time.

Instead, Lacazette was fit to start at the Emirates Stadium and scored Arsenal's goal.

United manager Mourinho made a pointed jibe towards Wenger when asked about his team news ahead of Sunday's derby against early Premier League pace-setters Manchester City.

"I'm telling the truth," Mourinho said when listing the availability of some of his players. "It's the truth, eh? No stories of Lacazette or (Manchester City midfielder) David Silva. All the truth."

Wenger, speaking ahead of Arsenal's Europa League game against BATE Borisov, was asked about Mourinho's comments and said he was expecting to go into the United game without the former Lyon star.

"I thought he wouldn't play. In the end, he could play. What did you want me to do, leave him at home?" Wenger said on Wednesday.

"I'm always honest. I thought really that he wouldn't play, that's what I had been told.

"After, he had a test on Friday morning and went to the game. We weren't sure he would play but he tried and he played, that's part of football."

Arsenal welcome Belarusian Premier League champions BATE on Thursday having already sealed top spot in Group H.

Wenger has made mass changes throughout the competition, handing valuable game time to the likes of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud.

Even though progression into the last 32 has been assured, the Frenchman still intends to play those on the fringes of the first team, rather than blood a team of youngsters.

Asked how winning the group would affect his team selection, Wenger said: "Not too much, because I have many players available who need competition.

"Next week we go into a week with three games and so some players need competition, some experienced players. We'll play quite an experienced team tomorrow."

Wenger also warned the injury-plagued Wilshere to be careful when ice skating after pictures emerged of the midfielder with his family at a rink earlier in the week.

"It's not ideal. For your balance it's not bad but for a footballer I don't think it's great. It depends as well on what you do," he said.

"You can do ice skating by bringing your child on and just making sure nothing happens to him, or (you can do) ice skating violently, I don't think he did that."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Thursday, 01 March 2018
Arsenal v Manchester City, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Saturday, 03 March 2018
Burnley v Everton, Turf Moor 14:30
Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth, King Power Stadium 17:00
Swansea City v West Ham United, Liberty Stadium 17:00
Southampton v Stoke City, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Watford v West Bromwich Albion, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Huddersfield Town, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Liverpool v Newcastle United, Anfield 19:30
Sunday, 04 March 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal, The American Express Community Stadium 15:30
Manchester City v Chelsea, Etihad Stadium 18:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.