Nacho Monreal’s place in the Arsenal team is under huge threat following the arrival of Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer this summer.
If Wenger sticks with the three at the back system he is currently using, the Bosnian is expected to take up the wing back role on the left hand side.
That could leave Monreal out of the team, but against Western Sydney Wanderers – just as he did at times during the back end of the season – the Spaniard showed he has enough about his game to move into the central defensive trio in the new formation.
Monreal was magnificent in the first half, defensively he was calm and composed alongside Mohamed Elneny and Laurent Koscielny, while he still showed he had plenty to offer going forward.
It was his rampaging run down the left and cross that set up Olivier Giroud’s opener, then just a couple of minutes later he produced a magnificent 60 yard pass to find Aaron Ramsey who lobbed home the second goal.
It may have been Ramsey’s goal, but Monreal took most of the plaudits for the quality of his ball out of the back.
After two superb seasons in a row, it looked at times during the 2016/17 campaign that one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers was beginning to struggle, that perhaps his best days were behind him.
But Monreal found a spring in his step during the final two months of the campaign and tonight he showed signs he was ready to pick up where he left off back at Wembley in May.
It was the performance of a man who is not going to have up his place in the team without a fight.
Ramsey could be set for a big year
Arsenal possess a midfielder in Aaron Ramsey who has pretty much everything he needs to get to the very top.
He showed during that magical season in 2013/14 just how good he can be when everything clicks, unfortunately since then inconsistency and more importantly injury has plagued his game.
Constantly finding himself in and out of the side clearly had an effect on his confidence, with Ramsey tending to frustrate more than excite during his last couple of campaigns at the Emirates.
Instead of being that deadly finisher who timed his runs perfectly, he was the player taking an extra touch when it wasn’t needed, the player trying the fancy flick that wouldn’t work out.
But towards the of last season we saw signs that Ramsey was beginning to get back to his best, he and Xhaka started to form a good partnership and we started to see him making the runs of old.
He ended the campaign with two goals in two games, including the winner in the FA Cup final – and tonight he once again got himself on the scoresheet with an excellent effort to make it 2-0.
He timed his run perfectly to break through the defensive line and when Monreal’s pass picked him out, the Wales international finished with aplomb – planting a sweet lob over the keeper into the net.
It was an excellent goal, one that Arsenal fans will hope suggests the midfielder could be set for a strong year.
Lacazette looked wasted on the left wing
It may well only be a short-term thing while Olivier Giroud’s future is being thrashed out, but Alexandre Lacazette looks far from comfortable being shunted out towards the left wing.
Arsene Wenger said after the game that his cub record signing can play in that position and that may be the case, but he certainly won’t give the team what it needs if he does line up there.
Lacazette is a goalscorer, that is clear, He needs to be in and around the box to put away any chances that come his way.
He doesn’t need to worry about tracking a full-back or a runner from midfield, that’s not what the club spent £52 million to bring him to north London for.
Elneny showcased his versatility
The Egyptian is a popular player at Arsenal, but he has yet to really make his mark since moving to England from Basel in 2016.
He is known as a steady player, but not a spectacular one – a player who will do a job for the team when called upon.
But against Western Sydney Wanderers he showed there may be more to his game that many give him credit for.
Playing in defence he looked calm and assured and he was never afraid to drive forward with the ball and start an attack off.
He scored one goal, albeit with the help of a deflection, but he also saw another sumptuous effort crash down onto the line off the underside of the bar before bing cleared.
We need to see more of that type of play from the midfielder if he is really going to make an impact at the Emirates.
The Australian support has been magnificent
For the second time in three days more than 80,000 fans flocked into the ANZ Stadium to watch Arsenal in action here in Sydney.
The support has been magnificent from start to finish.
Walking around the city during the past couple of days you could have been forgiven for thinking you were in north London, there were red and white shirts everywhere.
And inside the stadium during both games the noise has been fantastic.
It’s been 40 years since Arsenal last visited these shores and who knows how long it will be until they return again. So the Australian fans certainly made sure they lapped up every single second of their heroes being here.