Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal’s injury problems this season should be taken into consideration as they head into the final straight with greater options.
Wenger had some doubts about the ability of Danny Welbeck to manage back-to-back starts, having previously spent so long out injured, but the England forward justified his inclusion with the opening goal in a 2-0 win at Everton on Saturday.
Teenager Alex Iwobi also rewarded Wenger for giving him his first Premier League start with a maiden goal, while January signing Mohamed Elneny showed he has adapted to English football with a composed performance in midfield.
The win ensured a disappointing week of FA Cup and Champions League exits ended on a high and dampened down some of the criticism being aimed at Wenger and his players.
“If you lose it is disastrous but we were not as bad as that,” said the Gunners boss, whose side remain 11 points behind leaders Leicester with a match in hand.
“We were backs-to-the-wall and responded well. I am pleased mentally we responded under pressure.
“We have a game based on movement, mobility, technical level and attacking football and we have to get the balance right.
“Sometimes it is not right. Let us not forget some players were out for the whole season basically.
“Welbeck was just coming back, Iwobi is just coming into the side and Elneny is giving us good balance, and we just bought him in January.”
Defender Hector Bellerin, whose quick pass released Iwobi for the second goal just before half-time, thinks, despite their disappointments this week, they are actually playing well.
And a win was the ideal way to sign off for the international break.
“The team put on a great performance, especially in the first half with two great goals. That gave us the chance to relax a little bit in the second half,” he told Arsenal’s official website.
“I think the team has had more purpose with the ball lately and we are playing better football and that is showing on the pitch because we have to defend less, because we are keeping the ball and creating way more chances.
“It is a great time to go on the international break after a win and it’s time for the players to recharge their batteries because it is the last bit of the season and it is important for us.”