Arsene Wenger has explained why he changed formation for Arsenal’s trip to Middlesbrough on Monday night.
The Gunners bounced back from defeat to Crystal Palace with a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Wenger pulled off a huge surprise before the game, with his team lining up in a 3-4-3 formation but has explained the reasons behind his decision.
“I felt it added a bit more stability on the long balls,” he said via BBC Sport. “We faced a direct game and we have been punished a bit on that. It gave the opponents more of the ball. Against Palace we had 70% possession but lost.
“Sometimes we want to have the ball but when a team lacks confidence just to change the system can help believe something different.”
The win leaves Arsenal still seven points off fourth spot, with a game in hand, but Wenger is refusing to give up on Champions League qualification.
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“We responded well. I think it was not perfect but the commitment and focus was there. At 1-1 we found a response and managed to win,” he added.
“It was a big test, Middlesbrough gave everything. It’s one of their last chances to stay in the league.
“It [the top four] is mathematically still alive. We knew we needed to win. Now we have a little break with the FA Cup and then we come back again to the league.”
Wenger’s decision to switch formation was a huge shock but appears to have paid off with the team collecting a welcome three points.
However, whether he will persist with a 3-4-3 against Manchester City at the weekend remains to be seen.
What did you think of the new-look Arsenal? Is the back three here to stay? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!