Five questions facing Arsene Wenger on Arsenal's preseason tour

Five questions facing Arsene Wenger on Arsenal's preseason tour
From ESPN - July 17, 2017

Arsenal are already halfway through their preseason tour and some pieces have started coming together for manager Arsene Wenger. New signings Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac have both slotted in well, players are adapting to new roles and long-term injury victims like Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are looking fully fit.

But there are still some question marks for Wenger to sort out as the Gunners continue their trip with two games in China this week -- against Bayern Munich in Shanghai on Wednesday and Chelsea in Beijing on Saturday. Here's a look at five questions Wenger has to solve.

Can Alexandre Lacazette and Olivier Giroud play together?

While Lacazette is expected to take the central striker role from Giroud, Wenger has made a point of playing them together so far and started both in Saturday's win against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Perhaps Wenger sees Lacazette playing behind Giroud -- especially if Alexis Sanchez does end up leaving the club -- but the WSW game raised some question marks about whether the players themselves can do it.

Giroud, in particular, was singled out by some fans who felt he passed up the opportunity to feed Lacazette the ball and then ignored his France teammate after scoring the opening goal. That may be mini-controversy over nothing -- although one would understand if Giroud was not overly excited about having Lacazette in the team -- but if he stays at Arsenal this summer then his best chance of getting regular playing time may be to show that he and Lacazette can form a deadly duo together.

What is Theo Walcott's role, exactly?

Walcott was one of the big losers when Wenger switched systems to a three-man defence late last season. With the width provided by the wing-backs and a narrower forward line, his usual position on the right wing was eliminated and left the pacey forward without a clear place in the team -- as evidenced by him starting just one game in the new formation.

Heading into the new season, Walcott's purpose is still unclear -- even though he says he's held talks with Wenger about his role. Walcott played in one of the two attacking midfield positions against Sydney FC, but those will be occupied by Mesut Ozil and Sanchez (if he stays), or possibly Thomas Lemar if Arsenal can pull off a deal for the Monaco star.

Walcott certainly wo not displace Lacazette up front, while the likes of Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi also provide competition. Things may change if Wenger reverts back to his normal formation, but right now it's hard to see Walcott being more than a bit-part player next season. Which raises the question: should Arsenal entertain offers for their longest-serving star?

What to do with all the centre-backs?


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