Arsene Wenger has explained why he had kept Sead Kolasinac out of the starting eleven until recently.
Kolasinac had started in all of Arsenal’s Premier League games until the visit of West Ham on December 13th.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles came in for a surprise start at left back as Arsenal reverted to a back four.
The 20-year-old then kept his place for the following games against Newcastle and Liverpool, while Kolasinac featured in the Carabao Cup.
Wenger has since explained that he thought the Bosnian was better suited to a wing-back role, and that he was giving him a breather.
“He is highly suited for a wing-back role, for a more offensive role,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
“I think he will play again and I gave him a breather as well. He is working hard and I think he will play in a back four, as well.
“I will still adapt because we are capable to play in a three as well, because the team has practised now in both systems so we are adaptable.
“But, for me, we didn’t score enough goals away from home. So that’s why [I switched]. I felt as well that sometimes our game was a bit too lateral.”
Kolasinac returned to the starting eleven for Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace on Thursday night when Wenger used the back three again.
This could be a sign that Wenger may alternate his left backs depending on which system he uses.
It’s also worth nothing that Kolasinac is also used to being on a winter break at this time of the year.
Wenger may just be easing him through the busy winter period to prevent any future injuries.
Arsenal play again on Sunday against West Brom before welcoming Chelsea at the Emirates on Wednesday, so we could yet see more rotation in defence.