Mikel Arteta shares the real reason why he subbed Gabriel Jesus last night
Photo by Nigel French/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta shares the real reason why he subbed Gabriel Jesus last night

Mikel Arteta has explained the thinking behind taking Gabriel Jesus off at half-time of Arsenal’s Europa League exit against Sporting.

Jesus made his first start since the injury he picked up at the World Cup, but it only lasted 45 minutes before the Gunners went on to lose on penalties.

Gabriel Martinelli’s penalty miss meant that Arsenal went out at the round of 16 stage and can focus purely on the Premier League title race now.

Speaking to club media after the game, Arteta said that other injury blows meant he had to act quickly over Jesus at the interval.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mikel Arteta explains why he substituted Gabriel Jesus at half-time

Arteta was asked if Jesus’ substitution was planned and said: “Yeah.

“And we decided to do that because we had to manage the subs and thank God that we took him out, especially after the two (substitution) windows that we had to use in the first half.

“But that was the plan and he was coming from an injury as well. We knew the game could go to extra time and we have to manage that and he looked okay.”

Jesus’ comeback has been managed carefully and Arsenal seemed to reason that it was better to take him off a bit earlier than planned than risk a situation where he plays 90 or 120 minutes before he was ready.

That is the wise decision in terms of not risking a setback, and while Arteta outlined his desire to win the Europa League, going out of the tournament may well be a blessing in disguise.

They can focus their resources on maintaining their lead in the Premier League and that may be especially pertinent on a night where they suffered injuries to William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu.

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