Arsenal have clearly been making a concerted effort to improve their defence this summer. David Luiz and Kieran Tierney were signed and Paul Merson thinks they should drastically change their formation to fit them in.
As reported by The Express via The Mirror, Merson has hinted that Unai Emery should play three centre-backs this season. Merson said: “When you’re looking at them and you’re naming them players, I wouldn’t be surprised if he started going to a three at the back.”
He went on to say: “Play them two and David Luiz in the middle of them. He can come out and play, you’ve got Tierney playing as one wing-back. I think it suits all of the defenders.”
In theory the formation change would certainly make sense. David Luiz has proven he can bring the ball out of defence but will make several horrific mistakes each season. Having an extra player at the back could help to negate that.
In addition if Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin are both fit then Arsenal would have two dynamic full backs with enough pace to cause problems going forward while getting back to cover defensively.
One of the main casualties could be their big summer signing Nicolas Pepe. Playing five at the back means it’s likely he would be forced to play through the middle. The Ivorian was at his best last season cutting in from the right onto his left foot so he would also need to adapt.
We will get an idea from Arsenal’s game this weekend if that’s something Emery wants to experiment with.