Before Arsene Wenger finally elected to try the increasingly common formation of using three at the back instead of four, many Arsenal fans thought that the Frenchman was simply too stubborn to change, so in a way we should give the boss some credit.
Although you could argue that the all round effort and form of the players has also improved in that time, since Arsenal came good with six wins out of seven following the terrible trip to Crystal Palace, you have to think that the new formation has worked and wonder what might have been had Wenger switched to it earlier in the season.
In his latest press conference, The Mirror reports that Wenger has admitted that he started thinking about it before the turn of the year, but for various reasons did not give it a go, so was this delay a big factor in the Gunners enduring yet another faltering challenge for the EPL title?
Arsene revealed, “Because we like to attack and it is a defensive philosophy. We were not sure it could hold the team when things were going well.
“People like Rob Holding were lacking experience. I think (we started thinking about it) in November.”
I am not sure about the Holding argument as he has been great and got little or no game time from November before Wenger went to a back three. I can understand his point about our strength being in attack, but just before Christmas we faced back to back away games at Everton and Man City and we lost both. Would a back three have helped to avoid that?
Even if not, should the manager have learned from that and tried it out before the trips to Chelsea and Bayern Munich, games which resulted in losses that just about killed our season? Hindsight is a great thing, but does it show that Wenger should have switched earlier in the season?