Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger thinks his team came out successfully from an essential mental test as they came from behind to overcome 10-man Leicester City at Emirates Stadium. Premier League leaders were leading at half time with Jamie Vardy’s goal just before the break. Theo Walcott finished their lead in the 70th minute and then substitute Danny Welbeck scored the winning goal just few seconds before the final whistle. Welbeck, who had not played for Arsenal since April 2015 following the knee surgery, replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 83rd minute.
Now two points behind Leicester, Wenger said: “It was a serious mental test because we found ourselves 1-0 down against a team that defends so well.” Wenger celebrated on the touchline at the end while the Gunners players mobbed the returning Welbeck. And the Gunners manager added: “We came back with relentless energy and took all the risks because we knew a draw wasn’t good enough. It was down to our mental desire. “It was a big mental hurdle for us because we were in shock at being behind at half-time. We didn’t see that coming. It is not a coincidence Leicester are top.
“This strengthens our belief that we are in the fight. It would have been massive for us to lose because we would have been eight points behind and that is three games for us to win while Leicester would also have to lose three.” Welbeck’s dramatic entrance came after two days in training that convinced Wenger he was fit enough for a place on the bench following knee surgery. The manager said: “It was a great decision in the end because Danny Welbeck is a great player and everybody is extremely happy for him because he has been out for 10 months.
“He has worked very hard with our fitness team to come back so strong and he got a great reception from the other players in the dressing room. He is a great guy with a great mentality.” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri felt referee Martin Atkinson had been “a little bit severe” on his side. The Italian was still so pleased with his table-topping team, however, that he has given them a week off – with the club not in FA Cup action next weekend.
Curated from Arsenal: Arsene Wenger says Leicester win was a mental test – BBC Sport