Arsene Wenger says that he was seeking defensive stability as he selected a back three for the first time since 1997 for the 2-1 win over Boro.
Laurent Koscielny was flanked by Gabriel and Rob Holding, and although it wasn’t perfect it helped bring about a much needed win.
It was a big departure for Wenger, and something new for the team, and after the game he explained his thinking.
“I felt that we were recently a bit vulnerable defensively and to give a bit more reassurance to the team,” he said.
“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.”
Wenger also quipped that it was a sign that even the old leopard can sometimes change their spots.
“The first time in 20 years, 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.”