Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has explained that popular summer signing Sead Kolasinac has been out of the team in recent weeks due to a shift in formation to a system that uses a flat back-four instead of a back three with wing-backs.
After starting 15 of the Gunners' 16 previous Premier League games, Kolasinac has not featured since 10th December, filling the role of unused substitute for the last three league fixtures against West Ham, Newcastle and Liverpool.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, typically a midfielder by trade, has been preferred by Wenger, but the boss insists Kolasinac will be back in the team soon.
"He is highly suited for a wing-back role, for a more offensive role," Wenger explained as he justified the Bosnian's surprise recent omissions (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," the manager added.
Although Wenger has returned to a 4-2-3-1 system this month, he claims the team is also so well drilled in 3-4-2-1 that flipping between the two depending on each game will be possible.
"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," he commented.
"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."
Arsenal return to action in the Premier League on Thursday (28th December) for their delayed 'Boxing Day' fixture against Crystal Palace. A win would move the Gunners level on points with north London rivals Tottenham, but would leave them still in sixth place.