Arsene Wenger uses Arsenal formation change as proof to hit back at critics

Arsene Wenger used his formation change for Arsenal’s win over Middlesbrough to point out that he’s capable of change.

The Frenchman has come in for much criticism this season from disgruntled Gooners, with many calling for change at the Emirates.

However Wenger showed that despite being at the club for two decades he is capable of mixing it up.

‘The first time in 20 years,’ he said of the formation switch. ‘That shows you that even in my age you can change.

‘But sometimes when a team lacks confidence, just to add something new to believe helps to focus and overall the fact that we conceded three at West Brom, three at Crystal Palace, I felt it was needed.’

The 2-1 win over Middlesbrough ended a four-match losing streak on the road for Arsenal, suggesting the formation switch was a success. Wenger explained his thinking, which saw Rob Holding join Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel in a back three, further after the match.

‘I felt that we were recently a bit vulnerable defensively and to give a bit more reassurance to the team. Recently we faced many direct games, I thought before the game maybe they’d play with Gestede and Negredo and go for a very direct game. Those are the reasons.

‘It worked well in the first half, we didn’t give any chances away and we were quite solid on set-pieces. In the second half on one or two occasions, I felt we could have been a bit more dominant in the air, but overall yes.’

The win injected some hope back into Arsenal’s push for the top four, with the Gunners now nine points behind third-place Liverpool, but with two games in hand. Wenger thinks his side must win their remaining fixtures if they are to qualify for the Champions League.

‘For us the clarity is there. We have to win every game to have a chance to get into the top four and starting tonight. I think we give a bit more, made it seem a bit more serene, you could see that in some occasions we were a bit overcautious tonight and played with situation we are not used to, and hopefully that will give us a bit more confidence.’



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