We haven’t had to wait long for Arsenal to be back on our screens, as they head out to Scandinavia to round off their pre-season preparations.
With a few key names missing, Arsene Wenger has taken a 25-man squad across Europe that are well equipped with a balance of youth, experience and ability.
That gives us a great chance to see some of the names hoping to have a promising future with the Gunners, whilst many of the regulars are itching to get more minutes under their belt.
Competition is high amongst this team right now, and with the return of some big names still to look forward to, it’s a great chance for these guys to stake their claim for a starting spot.
In a game that will see Wenger experiment with his side a little more, Arsenal take on Viking FC this Friday, before heading to Sweden to familiarise themselves with Guardiola’s new-look Manchester City.
Don’t worry, both games are live on terrestrial TV this time round, and thanks to ITV4 and ITV1 you won’t miss a minute as the squad gear up for next weekend’s Premier League opener.
We’ve picked out and profiled the three from that 25-man squad that you should keep a close eye on.
1 – Calum Chambers
Content with warming the bench for the majority of the 2015/16 campaign, Chambers has his eyes set firmly on a breakthrough season under Arsene Wenger.
Early suggestions from the media told us that the 21-year-old could be set for a spell away from the Emirates, but following the recent news that could all be about to change.
Per Mertesacker’s knee injury will sideline him for at least four more months, and if Wenger doesn’t get his act together and sign an experienced centre back then Chambers could have it all to do.
After a shaky start to pre-season the England international has performed at an average level, but if he’s on the starting sheet against Liverpool then that form needs to change, fast.
This weekend provides him with the perfect opportunity to gain some minutes and work alongside a familiar back four that we’re likely to see open up the new campaign.
Gabriel has returned to the squad following his slight knock, and that will give Wenger a chance to line him and Chambers up together should he want them to play as a duo vs. Liverpool.
The days are running out to bring in any names before the season starts on August 14th, and if we’re realistic about who could cover Mertesacker then it has to be Chambers.
Whilst new boy Rob Holding has played every minute since his arrival, it would be a major risk to throw him into the side in a Premier League game as big as Liverpool.
Wenger also has the young legs of Krystian Bielik to back him up, but his lack of first team experience will ultimately leave him at the bottom of the pecking order with a loan spell imminent.
Chambers now needs to use these two friendlies as a chance to get comfortable and confident with the centre back role, something he hasn’t had the chance to do since his £16m move in 2014.