Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that midfielder Jack Wilshere was left out of Saturday's game at Fulham due to a reaction to his latest ankle injury.
Wenger has confirmed that the 21-year-old "was in pain" after last Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Everton, but he has insisted Wilshere has not suffered a major setback in his ongoing fitness battle and should be fit to play in next Sunday's crucial game against Manchester United.
"He was in a bit of pain after the Everton game and I just felt to give him three games in six days would be too much," Wenger told reporters. "Now he has a break until next Sunday, so he will be available (against United).
"There is no basic ankle problem. I just do not want to go into a vicious circle again when I play him, I play him, I play him and then suddenly (he has a problem). I think coming back after six weeks out, two games in a week was enough.
"I don't want the game in England to lose the commitment and combative side, but Jack has a game that is based on dribbling so he is more exposed to kicks than players who are just passing players. You don't want him to lose that because that is his strength."
Meanwhile, Wenger has urged Arsenal supporters to show Robin van Persie respect when he plays at Emirates Stadium as a Manchester United player next weekend, with the prospect of the former Gunners skipper returning as a Premier League champion rubbing salt into the wounds of supporters who were frustrated by his move to Old Trafford last summer.
"We will respect the players that have played for us a long time as we always have done and treat them well before and after the game," he added. "As a champion or not as a champion it is exactly the same. What I want is for us to have a good game and to beat them, it doesn't matter what kind of status they come with.
"We have 63 points and we have four games to go, two at home, two away. Let's go and win the next one, that's all we can do."