Arsenal's Arsene Wenger: I was right to gamble on Alexis Sanchez fitness

Arsene Wenger has defended his decision to select Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Saturday, despite concerns over the player's fitness.

Sanchez, 27, completed the full 90 minutes at Old Trafford while wearing heavy strapping on his right thigh as a result of an injury sustained during the international break with Chile.

Arsenal manager Wenger has previously been reluctant to use players unless fully convinced of their fitness, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck previously being held back by the Frenchman following injury problems.

But against United, Wenger insisted that the positives of using Sanchez outweighed the negatives.

"It's very unusual [for me to use an injured player,]" Wenger told reporters. "But I did it because Sanchez is a guy who can take people on and I knew that would be a quality. He is good in counterattacks in short spells as well. He is always a player who is not scared of anybody.

"I think he played very well in the first half. In the second half, we didn't give him enough service. But overall, for a guy who has played a decisive game on Tuesday for Chile, or basically Wednesday morning, travelled after and had jet lag, it's remarkable that he was able to play as he did."

Arsenal's point at Old Trafford was secured by Olivier Giroud's late headed goal after being introduced as a substitute.

Giroud also made a decisive contribution by scoring two goals after coming off the bench at Sunderland last month and Wenger admits it is crucial for every member of his squad to accept that they will not always start games.

"I believe there's a great harmony in the squad," Wenger said. "The players who come on make a difference every time and that's not a coincidence. That is down to attitude and overall I took some gambles as well.

"That's not the first time, but they only work if the players have the right attitude. As long as you play many big games, you can give the big games to everybody.

"But it's above that. It's also the understanding in the side, the camaraderie in the side, the common target that we share. Sometimes a player doesn't play in October and then plays every game in January. That's part of it."