When Mikel Arteta first took over at Arsenal he used a back four, switching to a back three after the restart following two successive defeats to Man City and Brighton.
It resulted in an FA Cup win and European qualification, but conversations about our formation/tactical approach are common place online these days.
There’s speculation as to how long we’ll keep using the three centre-halves; whether we’ll move to a back four; play a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 or some variant of that; and wonder how we might fit more creativity into the starting XI.
It’s not something that particularly worries the Arsenal boss though, as he looks to build a team which can provide tactical variation over the course of a season.
“I don’t get too concerned about the formation,” he told Sky Sports.
“It is about where the players we have can adapt better and perform better, and how we can get the balance right better.
“We can attack and defend in different systems using the same personnel, but some days the players that we use make that system different. We try to exploit that by putting players in situations where they are comfortable and can perform at their best.
“Being able to play different formations gives us more adaptability so that we can cope with the more difficult times of the season when maybe we do not have the players to play quite the same way.
“We also want to be more unpredictable for opponents.”
Unlike his predecessor Unai Emery, Arteta’s communication is clear, so shifting formations or systems doesn’t lead to the kind of confusion we saw under the previous man.
“It is about helping them,” Arteta explains. “Helping them to become better players and win football matches.
“When I was a player, the thing that I found most difficult to manage was when it was the day before a game and I was not clear what I was going to find.
“From my side, I have to try to provide them with the pictures of what is going to happen, how we are going to resolve it to provide some security, because I believe that the more secure they are when they run onto the field then the better they are going to perform.”
For more on Arsenal Tactics, the evolution of Arteta’s back three, and where it might go from here, check out the new Tactics Podcast on our Patreon. You can sign up for just €5 a month at patreon.com/arseblog