Arsene Wenger has revealed that Hector Bellerin has been playing with an ankle injury for the last few games, and that was a key factor in his decision to start Mathieu Debuchy against Reading the weekend.
The French international hadn’t played since January when he suffered a dislocated collar bone in the win over Stoke, and seemed to find it hard going at times, as you would expect.
And while admitting it was a bit of a risk, the Arsenal manager backed the quality of the former Newcastle man to perform against the Championship side.
“It was a bit risky,” he said. “Bellerin has played recently with some ankle problems and Debuchy was back so I thought it was a good moment to do it.
“Debuchy had cramps just before the end of the game but I couldn’t change him, but he is a French international and must be capable of playing in a semi-final against Reading.”
And with Chelsea coming up next week, it’s probably not a coincidence that Debuchy was given some playing time to up his match fitness.
Let’s hope he didn’t suffer any ill effects from the 120 minutes.