Arsene Wenger praised Alexandre Lacazette after Arsenal’s 2-0 win against West Brom and said he took him off because the French striker was tiring.
Summer signing Lacazette scored twice at the Emirates Stadium, where he headed in a 20th-minute opener and then netted with a penalty midway through the second half.
Wenger’s decision to replace him with Olivier Giroud with seven minutes remaining denied Lacazette the chance of a hat-trick, but the Gunners boss insisted it was the right thing to do.
“He’s not only a goalscorer, his link-up play is good, he fights as well and looks to adapt very quickly and very well,” Wenger said at his post-match press conference.
“I took him off because he was tired. He had an opportunity to score a hat-trick but what you want is to win the game, not take any gambles.
“When a guy is a bit tired there’s no need to (gamble). You know that we might have to defend at set pieces or Giroud might score a third goal.”
Wenger was pleased with his team’s display against the Baggies, who managed to frustrate them for much of the game.
He said: “In the first half they were physically very strong, very mobile and disturbed our build-up and went very direct and it took us some time to adapt to that.
“I believe in the second half we controlled the game much more. They dropped a little bit in their intensity and that made it a bit more comfortable for us. Overall it finished in a comfortable way.
“What is important is that we are strong at home. It is important we keep our home strengths.”