Arsene Wenger was not aware that Arsenal played without a captain in second half against Manchester City

No Arsenal player wore a captain's armband after Laurent Koscielny's half-time substitution, breaching Premier League regulations on player identification

Mark Critchley
Wednesday 05 April 2017 15:13 BST
Arsene Wenger's side did not emerge for the second half with a designated captain
Arsene Wenger's side did not emerge for the second half with a designated captain (Getty)

Arsène Wenger sent his Arsenal side out to play without a captain on the pitch during the second half of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

Laurent Koscielny, who wore the armband during the first-half in the absence of club captain Per Mertesacker, was substituted at the interval after sustaining an Achilles problem.

Gabriel replaced Koscielny in the heart of Arsenal’s defence but neither he nor any other Arsenal player wore a captain’s armband, thereby breaching Premier League rules on player identification.

When asked who became Arsenal’s designated skipper after Koscielny left the field, Wenger said he could not remember, having failed to elect a new captain at half-time.

“No, it is a good question. Nobody asked me who is captain,” he said, speaking ahead of his side’s meeting with West Ham United on Wednesday.

With Koscielny ruled out for the visit of the Hammers and Mertesacker short of full fitness, Wenger is short of captaincy options, and added: “I will have 24 hours to think about that.”

According to the Premier League regulations, the captain of each team must “wear an armband provided by the League indicating his status as such.”

Any club in breach of this rule is liable to pay a penalty of £300 for a first breach. The fine is doubled to £600 for a second breach and doubled again, to £1,200, for a third.

The Premier League are expected forego a fine on this occasion and merely remind Arsenal of their duties.

Koscielny, who reportedly commands a salary of £75,000-a-week at Arsenal, would earn enough to pay the fine in approximately 40 minutes.

The centre-half was criticised by Gary Neville following Sunday’s draw not playing through the injury, with the Sky Sports pundit suggesting Koscielny “always goes off” and could have stayed on the pitch.

Wenger, however, denies that Koscielny had that option having aggravated a long-standing injury while on international duty with France.

“I think he had an old Achilles problem that he maintains here by working,” he said. “He had that many times. When he goes with the French national team they work on different grounds, sometimes in hard surfaces and that made it worse.

“He came back with a little Achilles problem and it made it worse in the game. He wanted to play and stay on and he couldn’t.”

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