Arsene Wenger says he would have played Alexis Sanchez against Tottenham if it was the last game of the season.
Arsene Wenger has been discussing his difficult decision to leave Alexis Sanchez out of the side against Spurs.
The Frenchman initially ruled the attacker out of the game before reconsidering it, and ultimately leaving him out of the matchday 18.
Speaking to Arsenal's official website, the manager has revealed he could have thrown caution to the wind and played the summer signing from Barcelona, but chose to hold him back.
He said: "It was difficult for him not to play [at Tottenham]. If it was the last game of the season he would have played.
“For us it is important that he has no setback as, once you go into February, if you have a muscular injury and a guy has a setback, you say ‘bye bye’ as the season is over as it is six weeks out.
"By the time you come back to your full level it is April and that is why we didn’t take the gamble."
The comments that Sanchez could have played in the defeat is no doubt tough to hear, especially with the following games against Leicester and Middlesbrough in the FA Cup seemingly less than daunting.
The form of the side the previous week however gave the club real confidence they could take the performance displayed in the 5-0 win over Aston Villa into the North London derby.
Sanchez's injury timing was certainly unfortunate, but fans should be thankful Wenger is being cautious, having earlier in the season rushed Laurent Koscielny back to fill gaps in defence only to see him aggravate the injury he returned from and face another spell on the sidelines.