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Revealed: The real reason behind Sead Kolasinac’s absence at left-back

21:33 GMT+3 22/12/2017
Sead Kolasinac Arsenal
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger prefers Maitland-Niles when Arsenal play four defenders at the back — and the Bosnian is frustrated with the decision

Arsene Wenger has opted to play Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left-back in Arsenal’s last two consecutive Premier League games and Goal can reveal the reason behind the Frenchman’s decision to play a right-footed player on the left hand side of defence.

Gunners boss Wenger handed 20-year-old Maitland-Niles his first Premier League start against West Ham two weeks ago and starts again when the north Londoners face Liverpool at Emirates Stadium, with Bosnian international Sead Kolasinac frustrated at being snubbed in his favoured position.

Maitland-Niles has looked composed in possession and his recovery numbers are one aspect which has particulary impressed the Frenchman, and he has decided that the English youngster is a better fit when Arsenal play four defenders at the back.

In contrast, Kolasinac, who was part of a disappointing defensive performance in the recent 1-1 draw with Southampton, is favoured when Arsenal play three defenders in a 3-4-2-1 formation — a system which no longer appears to be favoured by Wenger.

Shkodran Mustafi was targeted to make his comeback against West Ham but didn't fully recover from his thigh injury but it's a possibility that he could play against Liverpool, with Nacho Monreal an option at centre back if the German international isn't declared fit.