The England international striker has been in good form for the Gunners since swapping Old Trafford for North London in the summer, scoring six goals in his previous 14 club games.
Despite the return of fellow striker Olivier Giroud pushing Welbeck to an unfavourable wide role, the former United man has performed admirably and scored the winner in the recent 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.
With his evident ability to score headers and his willingness to apply high pressure and unsettle defences, it came as a shock to supporters to see him benched for the trip to Stoke City.
The decision arguably became more bizarre given the Gunners’ poor first-half display and Welbeck’s introduction with the team trailing 3-0 at the interval.
When asked on his decision to not start the 24-year-old, Wenger explained that his striker is suffering from a slight groin problem and rotation was necessary in order to rest his players.
“Danny has played a lot, he had a little groin problem. He could have played. I rotated a little bit because I wanted to give him a breather,” Wenger was quoted as saying by the official Arsenal website.
“I had to respond at half-time unfortunately and it looked like he was alright. We have three or four strikers from game to game and not everybody can play.
“As Alexis has played every game, he has to dig deep in every game. At some stage you have to rest the players.”
Despite their best efforts of a second-half turnaround, Arsene Wenger’s men slipped to a 3-2 defeat and their third in five Premier League fixtures.
The result leaves the Emirates outfit in sixth position in the table, two points behind Manchester United in fourth who play Southampton on Monday.