Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed he almost did not select Danny Welbeck in his squad for Sunday’s dramatic Premier League victory over leaders Leicester City.
Welbeck came off the bench to head the winning goal in the fifth minute of stoppage-time at Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners came from behind to win 2-1 and move within two points of the 10-man visitors.
It was Welbeck’s first appearance since April after a knee injury and Wenger was thrilled with the former Manchester United striker’s impact after nearly leaving him out for another match.
“For him it is a fantastic day,” Wenger told Sky Sports. “I had a hesitation until the last second to put him in the squad.
“He was number 18 or 19 [on my list] but in the end I trusted the impression we got from his training sessions and thought ‘okay, let’s put him in’.”
Welbeck received a rapturous reception from his Arsenal team-mates in the dressing room after his late winner from Mesut Ozil’s free-kick.
Wenger added: “Everybody chanted his name because the players know a year out is 10 years in normal life for a football player. He is a great character as well and liked in the dressing room.”
Arsenal’s second-straight victory boosts their title hopes after they had previously gone four league matches without a win.
“It keeps us in it with many other teams,” Wenger said of the title race. “There is a long way to a go and we play a lot of big teams.
“We came out of a bad spell after four games without a win – we now win two games on the bounce. To still be in the fight after that spell is good and hopefully the result strengthens the belief of the team.
“We have a good chance. It was a pivotal moment because the mathematics meant it could be eight points or it could be two points and that is a great change.”
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