Arsene Wenger has given an explanation for the big decisions he made which saw Granit Xhaka and Alexi Iwobi make way for Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey on Saturday.

The Arsenal manager was expected to make at least one change to his starting line-up for the clash with Manchester United as Hector Bellerin began a four-week spell on the sidelines.

However, the inclusion of Carl Jenkinson was not the only alteration to the team as Granit Xhaka, who started in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham, was dropped for Mohamed Elneny in midfield while Alex Iwobi was replaced by Aaron Ramsey in attack.

Wenger has received some criticism for the sort of line-up he named this weekend but the Gunners boss insists it was an attempt to deal with the threat of Jose Mourinho’s side.

“I knew it would be a bit more of a physical battle so I chose players [Elneny and Ramsey] who have experience and fight,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

“That’s why my selection was because of that. At the end of the day, everyone gave their maximum and there is a special spirit in the squad. That’s why we came back, because the players who came on made the difference. That’s remarkable.

“Considering the first half, yes [it was a fair result]. We had a lot of possession but in the second half when we came out of the dressing room, we dropped. We offered less going forward, but when we were 1-0 down we found the resources again.

“We want to be about style and steel but today we were more about steel than style. There’s a remarkable resilience in the squad and that’s why we came back to 1-1. We didn’t have the usual fluency in our game. Was that because Manchester United blocked us well? I think it was because we were also not at our best going forward.”

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