Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed in an exclusive interview with Thierry Henry that he has taken to a back three in recent games against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in order to give his side better security at the back as they have been conceding more goals away from home. The Gunners have lost four back to back away games since the turn of the year and Wenger insists that they needed to change something to reverse that trend.
The manager is confident that he has the players to make a back three work, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain capable of playing at wing back when inducted in that position. The north London club play with Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka in midfield, with the Welshman willing to make runs through the middle which leads to a gaping hole in the middle of the park.
Wenger insists that a back three strategy gives players like Ramsey the license to go forward but acknowledges that a midfield pairing, as administered by Chelsea in the form of N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, would be ideal as they would provide protection for their defence. The north London club face Manchester United later today with the manager not dropping any hint on the formation he would opt for following the harrowing loss to Spurs last weekend.
"I believe if you look overall at our season we have conceded a respectable number of goals, but recently we conceded too many away from home when teams went directly at us. That's one of the reasons; to give a bit more security through the middle," Wenger told Sky Sports.
"The second one is that I have players who suit it. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, for example, has the qualities to play at wing-back with the freedom to go forward and get better use of the width of the pitch.
"If you look at Chelsea then N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic give security defensively, they are not adventurous going forward, but we play with players like Aaron Ramsey. One of his strengths is to go forward and get into the box, to not allow him there is to take something out of him. So we have to find the balance."