Arsenal to start Premier League season with three-man defence - Wenger

When their eyes aren't on £52.7 million man Alexandre Lacazette, the global football community will be closely monitoring Arsene Wenger's tactical approach to Arsenal's first preseason friendly.

Wenger has confirmed he plans to start the new Premier League season with the same 3-4-3 formation that brought success at the back end of a disappointing 2016-17 campaign.

But after revealing his intention to tinker with different systems during preseason, the manner in which the French manager sets up for Thursday night's clash with Sydney FC will be instructive.

After two decades -- and two 5-1 floggings by Bayern Munich -- the under-siege Wenger departed from the four-man backline he's favoured for almost the entirety of his tenure, implementing a three-man defence to defeat Middlesbrough in April.

He retained it for the remainder of the season and the Gunners won nine of their last 10 games across all competitions.

That included surprisingly outplaying Chelsea in the FA Cup final, beating the new Premier League champions at their own tactical game in a 2-1 triumph.

Wenger signalled he'd use the Sky Blues game and Saturday's run against Western Sydney to experiment.

"We'll test many systems," Wenger said in Sydney.

"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."

Though new signing Sead Kolasinac is recognised mostly as a left-back, the Bosnia-Herzegovina international is an ideal fit for the left wing-back role that's been filled at times by Nacho Monreal and the possibly departing Kieran Gibbs.

Hector Bellerin, who did not travel to Sydney, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appear set to compete for the right-sided spot, should the latter sign a new contract.

Having been suspended for the cup final, Laurent Koscielny is ready to slot into the back three, while Wenger will have a striker selection dilemma with Lacazette, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck all part of the travelling squad.