Unai Emery tried his best to give Arsenal the defensive stability they need when he named his team to face Manchester City on Sunday.
And, although, the Gunners played well under the circumstances, they were always going to struggle to keep City out with a vulnerable defence like that.
The manager’s decision to play Sead Kolasinac as a left-midfielder, though, backfired completely and the 25-year-old’s poor backtracking and efforts to get in-front of the City attackers caused Arsenal major problems on the left-flank.
Initially it looked as if Emery had opted for a back-three formation, which was expected given the amount of injuries they have at the back, but instead he went with back-four formation with Nacho Monreal at left-back and Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi as centre-backs.
But, Kolasinac, who has played most of the season as a left-wing-back or left-back, ultimately struggled to execute his role as a defensive midfielder and that put the rest of the Arsenal team under pressure.
Most notably, Matteo Guendouzi slotted in as an extra centre-back on a couple of occasions due to Kolasinac not helping Monreal in defence.
This presented the likes of Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne with loads of space to work with and put balls into the box where Sergio Aguero was looming.
Emery might have expected from Kolasinac to play a similar role to a wing-back but he was too high up the pitch than normal, while Monreal was left to his mercy at the back.
The gaps that Kolasinac created for City to use almost made it looked as if Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira weren’t doing their defensive job and it let to Arsenal being exploited on a number of occasions.
The North London club would’ve been much better off if they had just used a plain back-three formation or a back-four without Kolasinac as a midfielder.
Arsenal travel to Huddersfield Town this coming weekend and will be hoping to play a bit more attacking than at the Etihad, which could see Kolasinac operate as a wing-back again.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!