Wenger defends Giroud substitution amid boos from Emirates crowd

Arsenal striker was player sacrificed after Gunners were reduced to 10-men

Arsene Wenger, Nacho Monreal, Arsenal

Picture by: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to substitute Olivier Giroud after Per Mertesacker's 19th minute red card against Chelsea.

The Gunners' top scorer was taken off as Arsenal were reduced to 10-men after Mertesacker's last-man foul on Diego Costa in the 1-0 defeat.

The decision was booed by fans at the time and after the game, Wenger explained why he chose to take off Giroud.

"For me it was a quite normal decision because we needed pace to go from one goal to another. We needed space to get forward," he said.

"It was a bit in my mind that he could get injured as well. His ankle was a doubt and he didn’t train yesterday, of course it was on my mind."

Wenger also felt the red card was harsh and appeared to question Costa.

"I think it was a very harsh decision," said Wenger on referee Mark Clattenburg showing red to Mertesacker.