Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has defended Arsene Wenger following criticism from Gunners fans at the weekend.

After taking off Olivier Giroud for Francis Coquelin during the 0-0 stalemate at Aston Villa on Saturday, Wenger was subjected to chants of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ from the visiting fans.

And while the Spanish midfielder respects that fans are allowed to have their say when they are frustrated, he insisted that Wenger has reasons for every decision he makes.

“They can say whatever they want,” Arteta told Sky Sports News.

“If they feel that way it has to be respected. Even when they say something to one of us.

“I think he has got experience and he has been here for 15 years. He is someone who knows the club better than anyone.

“He knows the players really well and he knows what he can get from each of us.

“So when he puts the team out, obviously it’s because he wants to win it and he’s picked the best team – that day – to win that game.”

Arsenal are currently sixth in the Premier League, five points off the coveted fourth spot after an indifferent start to the season, but Arteta reiterated that the players support Wenger, whatever decision he makes.

“He is always trying to do the best, you know. And some of the decisions he takes are very unpopular. But if he takes them it’s because he’s got a reason,” he added.

“If he does it once then maybe it’s a mistake but if he does it four or five times then there is a reason why and he’ll explain that better than anyone.”

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