Unai Emery has allayed fears of an injury to Granit Xhaka by confirming the Swiss was rested for Arsenal’s 5-1 win over Bournemouth.
The midfielder was a surprise exclusion from the matchday squad as the Spaniard rotated his players with one eye on Saturday’s North London derby.
“Yes he is [Xhaka] okay, he was rested,” said Emery after the win, a result that closes the gap on Sp*rs to four points.
Having started the game with three central defenders and two wing-backs, the boss switched to a back four in the second half when he replaced Sead Kolasinac with Alex Iwobi.
Initially, it looked like an injury might have shaped the decision but the Bosnian took a place on the bench rather than heading down the tunnel for treatment.
“Kolasinac has been having a problem in his muscle and sometimes he is telling us to rest some matches and some minutes,” explained Emery.
“The first half he finished it well, but in the dressing room he was saying he can continue, but he was feeling some pain.
“He could continue but I preferred to change him for a rest and also he played on Sunday with a big intensity, and today I think we could do this change and carry on with another player in this match.”
The boss was also hopeful that goalscorer Laurent Koscielny will be fit for the trip to Wembley on Saturday. There was a scare very late in the game when he charged into a tackle on the touchline only to end up in a crumpled heap.
“I hope all it is, is one kick,” said Emery. “We have three days between today and Saturday and I hope he can be okay.”