Mikel Arteta has explained his decision to leave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench during their 1-1 Europa League draw against Sparta Prague on Thursday night.
The Gabon international replaced Alexander Lacazette in the 78th minute alongside Nicolas Pepe, and they combined well for the opener in the 86th minute, which was scored by the latter.
Speaking after the game, Arteta defended his decision, adding he needed to have players who can have an impact off the bench.
"It was a big decision to leave some players out but we decided to play the team who had the best chance at the start of the game, and as well have some key players there to change the game when we need it,"
"I think when they came on they had a real impact, which was very necessary in this competition and they did what we expected them to do,"
Arteta responded to critics that he should have made substitutions early in the game.
"Well we made them when we believed it was the right time to do it, and when they changed their set up and we believed we could hurt them and not earlier. Whether should have done it before then, who knows?
The Gunners will now shift their attention to Sunday's Premier League match away to lowly Sheffield United.