Mikel Arteta explains why he subbed off Willian at half-time during Arsenal’s draw with Leeds United

Willian was subbed off at half-time during Arsenal's draw with Leeds United
Willian was subbed off at half-time during Arsenal’s draw with Leeds United (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has confirmed he subbed off Willian at half-time during Arsenal’s draw with Leeds United because of an injury concern.

The Gunners were fortunate to leave Elland Road with a point on Saturday as Leeds failed to break down 10-man Arsenal despite hitting the woodwork three times.

Arsenal were on the back post for most of the match, but particularly after record signing Nicolas Pepe was sent off for violent conduct in the second half.

Brazil international Willian started the Premier League fixture but failed to make much of an impact before being replaced by Reiss Nelson at half-time.

Asked why Willian made way at the interval, Gunners boss Arteta said: ‘He was feeling something muscular and we had to take him off.’

Shortly after the second half began, Manchester United and England legend Gary Neville – commentating on the match for Sky Sports – said: ‘Well Willian was down below us in the first half, he didn’t look himself.

‘I mean, they put a lot of pressure on going forwards Leeds and make you do a lot of running and he just looked a little bit short today the Brazilian.’

Mikel Arteta's side were fortunate to leave Leeds with a point
Mikel Arteta’s side were fortunate to leave Leeds with a point (Picture: Getty)

Asked whether his subdued performance could be a result of travel weariness, Neville added: ‘Yeah I think so.

‘Didn’t see any injury before half-time. Maybe it’s just about some fresh legs with Reece Nelson’s introduction.’

More to follow…

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