Arsene Wenger has defended his move to substitute Joel Campbell midway through the second-half during Arsenal's 1-2 loss to Swansea City on Wednesday (2 March). The Gunners title challenge is slowly disintegrating in front of them following back-to-back losses in the Premier League, their previous coming at the hands of Manchester United.
The supporters were perplexed as to the Costa Rican's withdrawal, especially since he was the best player on the pitch until his substitution in the 64th minute. Campbell had given the north London club the lead in the 15th minute and looked threatening every time he got the ball on the right-wing. He was combining well with Hector Bellerin, who was getting into an offensive position at every opportunity.
Wenger, however, decided to replace him with Danny Welbeck, who is only returning from injury and yet to reach full match fitness despite scoring in his two previous appearances against United and Leicester City. The French manager cited fatigue as the reason for the Costa Rica international's substitution, which was not a popular move on a night when Arsenal desperately needed the three points to keep their title march on track.
The 23-year-old attacker has completed the full 90 minutes in the Premier League just once this campaign and was visibly disappointed to be leaving the pitch. Wenger, however, credited the forward for his performance and he is likely to play a part in the game against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (5 March).
"Campbell hasn't played for a while and he started to tire. He played against a very young left back and I thought Welbeck could give him some problems with his runs in behind," Wenger said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"These kinds of decisions don't mean that Campbell did badly. I think he did quite well tonight. I also think that there was room on that flank to be very dangerous," the French coach added.