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Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mathieu Flamini was substituted minutes before half-time against Barcelona with an injury for which he was treated during the break. The latest setback means that the Gunners only have Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin available for selection with the game against Everton in the offing.
Coquelin came in place of the Frenchman after being left on the bench during the initial selection. The Gunners lasted only 18 minutes before Neymar scored the opening goal for Barcelona to all but seal the tie for the Catalans. Mohamed Elneny scored the equaliser seven minutes into the second half to bring parity in the game but was a little too late for the north London club.
"I didn't know where he was," said Wenger, as quoted by the Telegraph, when asked about Flamini's situation. "I'm not sure he was allowed on the bench. He was injured. He had treatment after half-time. On a night of great football I wouldn't say that was the most important thing about the game."
Danny Welbeck hit the post while Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a couple of brilliant saves to deny Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud respectively in a night when basic finishing eluded the Gunners yet again. Alex Iwobi gave a good account of himself and was replaced with Theo Walcott 20 minutes before the final whistle. Wenger insists that there was a chance for the north London club to seize the initiative but they failed in their efforts as the magical front three of Barcelona ruled supreme in the exchanges.
"I felt from the bench at 1-1 they were wobbling a little bit and a bit insecure," Wenger added. We could not take the chance to score the second goal to put us in a strong position. When they scored at 2-1 we lost a little bit the edge, belief. They are exceptional."