Paul Merson believes former club Arsenal could start playing with a three-man defence as a result of the recent arrivals of Kieran Tierney and David Luiz.
After seeing his team concede 51 league goals last season, Gunners boss Unai Emery bolstered his defensive options for the new campaign by adding both players to his squad on deadline day.
Left-back Tierney joined the club from Celtic in a £25million deal while David Luiz made a surprise £8m switch from London rivals Chelsea
Both players are yet to make their debuts for the north London club, with Tierney recovering from a double hernia operation while Luiz was an unused substitute for the opening game against Newcastle .
However, Merson is expecting both defenders to play a key role in Emery’s plans going forward and believes their inclusion could prompt the Spaniard to move away from the back four he used at St James’ Park on Sunday.
“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,” Merson said on Sky Sports’ ‘The Debate’ programme (via The Express ).
“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.
“If you have three centre-halves playing there it gives all of them something to fall back on.
“If Tierney can get forward he can play, so he’ll want to get forward.”
Arsenal got their new Premier League campaign off to a strong start with a 1-0 win away at Steve Bruce’s Newcastle.
A second-half strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang proved the difference between the two sides to give Emery’s side three points.
And following the disappointment of missing out on the top four last season, Merson is expecting better things from his former club after an encouraging first display.
“I’m looking forward to Arsenal this season. I was quite impressed [against Newcastle].
“It was a hard game, going to Newcastle, first game of the season, a couple of new players.
“For me it was comfortable and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang what a goal, what a goal.”