Our back three… and the top four

Two games with a 3-4-3 formation, two wins.

Arsene Wenger’s tactical tweak has paid dividends with back-to-back victories over Middlesbrough in the Premier League and, most impressively, Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup.

Will the boss continue with his new formation on Wednesday when Leicester City visit the Emirates? As Wenger explained at his press conference, the system depends on which team has the ball.

“We are in a formation that is really adaptable because Gabriel can play right back,” he said. “Overall I think we play a system that is not a strict three at the back because when we have the ball Chamberlain plays midfielder basically.

“What [the change in formation] did was it got the players to focus on something that is concrete, to forget anxiety and a little bit of uncertainty. Sometimes when a team doesn’t do well, just focusing on something different helps to focus on something that might be better. We realised that we have to fight like mad to come back and win our games.

“It’s possible I’ll use it against Leicester.”

With seven Premier League games to go, we’re in a big fight for a top-four finish. It was put to Wenger that we’d need to win all seven to climb above the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool.

“It looks like that,” he said. “That has to be the target. To achieve that, we have to win the next one. I think the next thing we have to achieve is to transfer the energy level we showed on Sunday to the Premier League. We started well at Middlesbrough, so let’s continue that against Leicester.

“The semi-final win will give us a bit more confidence. I think it will convince everybody that with the right energy levels and the right fighting spirit, the right togetherness, we can beat everybody.

“On morale [I’ve seen an improvement], for sure, and certainly the confidence as well. Big games give you confidence and convince you that you can win. That’s the most important thing in our job.

“The top four is open - but what it demands from us is consistency in the results now until the end of the season. It’s still possible, but that means we’ll maybe have to have a perfect run-in.”


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