Arsenal endured a rollercoaster ride last season but finished the campaign in stunning style, winning 11 of their final 12 matches – including beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
That victory at the home of English football raised spirits ahead of the summer transfer window and the atmosphere in North London has improved significantly since, with the Gunners splashing a club-record figure to bring Alexandre Lacazette to the club from Lyon and also landing Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer.
Many questions still float above the head of the North London giants this summer, though, but Arsene Wenger has already provided one key insight into his season, as he informed the press in Sydney that his side will start the new season with the three-man defence that shone in the back-end of last term.
“We’ll test many systems. At the moment, in preseason, we are in the continuity of the end of last season. In some games we will play with four at the back and some with three, but at the start of the season we will certainly play with three.”
Arsenal’s switch to a back-three is a major change from the past two decades under Wenger, where he’s stuck with a traditional back-four, but it does bring further questions regarding a squad that boasts significant wide options.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain showed his versatility with fine performances in a wing-back role last season but it’s unlikely that Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott, who were both regulars within Arsenal’s ranks next season, will be able to adapt similarly.
It also means that Hector Bellerin is not a guaranteed starter, though competition with Oxlade-Chamberlain could be very good after the Spaniard’s disappointing displays last term, whilst it likely means Nacho Monreal will play centrally – allowing Arsenal the utilise new signing Sead Kolasinac at wing-back.
Those failing to show they can adapt could fall to Wenger’s new ruthless approach though, as the Frenchman is ready to oust the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs from his squad this summer.