Jack Wilshere thinks Arsene Wenger got his formation wrong in the first-half against Chelsea, but says the team showed good character in the second period.

In the opening exchanges, Arsenal were pretty terrible. They couldn’t find a pass to a teammate, and conceded twice before five minutes were up. Fortunately, one of those two goals was offside, or they’d have been in real trouble. Wilshere blamed the formation for their early struggles.

“It was strange, we might have got our formation wrong in the first 20 to 25 minutes and they took advantage of that,” the midfielder said on Arsenal.com. “They’ve got players who can damage you through the middle and they did. But we came back into it and showed good character. I thought we were the better team in the second half.”

COLOGNE, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 23: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal in action during the UEFA Europa League group H match between 1. FC Koeln and Arsenal FC at RheinEnergieStadion on November 23, 2017 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

I have to agree with Wilshere’s assessment of the opening period. It was a surprise to see Arsenal go with four at the back at all, after recent matches between the two teams. The Gunners have almost always played three centre-backs against Chelsea in the last year, and they’ve won or drawn every encounter since last February.

In the second half, Arsene Wenger dealt with the problem by having Mohamed Elneny regularly drop into the back line. The tactical change nullified Chelsea’s dangerous attacking threat, and allowed Arsenal back in the game. Whilst the boss may have got his starting team slightly wrong, he fixed the issue well.

We also have to give credit to the team for hanging in there even with the first-half tactical disadvantage. Despite Chelsea having most of the chances, the opening period ended 1-1. Overall, the Gunners adapted to the situation well, and have another date at Wembley as a result.