Following David Luiz’s 26th minute sending off against Chelsea at the Emirates, Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff looked set to send Rob Holding into the fray.
Television coverage suggested that the centre-half would more than likely replace Gabriel Martinelli, the youngster sacrificed to allow the team to rebuild defensively.
However, the Arsenal manager changed his mind. In part because of how well Granit Xhaka slotted into the centre of defence, but as explained afterwards, he felt it might be the kind of change that would put his team into a negative mindset.
“I changed my mind,” he said.
“I was thinking about that and said ‘I don’t want to send that message’ to the team and we decided to keep us as we were, give them a chance and I wanted to see how they could respond to that.
“Don’t make the response for them because I asked them to be accountable for what they do and I didn’t want to make a decision not to let them decide for themselves.
“It was a great response from them.”
And he outlined his happiness with his players even further after the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
“The spirit they showed, the character, the fight and the leadership as well was there because you have to really stand up,” he said.
“I asked them that when someone makes a mistake – it can happen in football, someone has to take a red card – what cannot happen is that after we don’t stand up for him and every single did it with belief as well.
“I could sense at half time they believed they could get back in the game and I wasn’t expecting Hector to score with his left foot obviously, but I’m very pleased.”