Unai Emery has explained that Laurent Koscielnys absence from Arsenals 3-1 win over Burnley on Saturday was down to the Frenchman suffering from fatigue.
The 33-year-old has recently returned to action after suffering a serious Achilles injury at the end of last season but was absent for Burnleys visit to the Emirates.
Despite facing an injury crisis in defence, Unai Emery has eased Koscielny back into the side gently in order to maintain his fitness and limit the risk of further injury.
And Emery revealed that Koscielny joked to him that he can no longer recover from games as quickly now as he could when he was a teenager.
Emery said: I was speaking with Koscielny about the possibility of playing against Burnley and he said “not today” because he was very tired after two matches in a week, so I decided for him not to be with the group.
He said, Im not Matteo Guendouzi, Matteo is 19 and Im 33!.
Koscielny has featured in three of Arsenals last four games in all competitions but has only played the full 90 minutes in one of those – the 3-2 defeat to Southampton earlier this month.
Emery might have wanted to restrict Koscielnys involvement further but injuries to other players have forced his hand somewhat with Arsenal lacking options in defence.
Nacho Monreal came off with a tight hamstring in the game against Burnley while Shkodran Mustafi has also been suffering with a hamstring strain over the past couple of weeks.
Rob Holding is out for the season after rupturing his ACL and Konstantinos Mavropanos has also been sidelined long-term with a groin problem.
Koscielny, therefore, is expected to return to the Arsenal starting line-up alongside Sokratis Papastathopolous for Arsenals trip to Brighton.
More: Arsenal FC