It’s a catastrophe to say the least. Shambollic productivity in the summers transfer window saw one centre-back leave whilst another joined. When you say it like that it doesn’t seem all bad. The problem is that we were short last year too. Now, entering the season with just three senior center-backs, Arsenal fans are even down about the news that youngster Isaac Hayden is ruled out of action for a month.
Joining the club in August was Calum Chambers, hot teen prospect from the ever-evolving Southampton youth set-up. The 19 year old seemed to be missed more than Luke Shaw over at Southampton as fans erupted at their club’s eroding nature in the transfer window. Up stepped the youngster to make his debut at center-half in the FA Community Shield vs Manchester City at Wembley. After a terrific, composed performance, it would be Chambers walking away with his first piece of silverware, something he could place next to his Man of the Match trophy he also earned. His start at Arsenal was superb. Voted by fans to become Arsenal’s August Player of the Month, he was excelling in the new role Le Proffeseur had granted him. Originally a right back, he looked versatile and what a signing he looked to be.
Since then, injuries have plagued the back-line meaning debutantes such as Hector Bellerin, the young Spanish right-back, have been introduced. Now, with Koscielny in the treatment room alongside Debuchy, Chambers has operated at right-back whilst make-shift centre-back Nacho Monreal has taken over the central defensive duties.
All-in-all he hasn’t been awful. His ability to read the game has been superb, and his tackling has improved drastically. Faster than most other defenders, he has coped well with his back to goal. The downside however, came on Tuesday night when he wrestled down Mitrovic to concede a penalty for Anderlecht. With uproar among the fans his head was called for, despite his recent performances proving otherwise.
There are, however, a fair few reasons why I personally would agree on the change. With Calum Chambers stepping in at center-back, it would provide a real chance for Hector Bellerin to make his mark. It was this youngster’s future that caused Wenger to loan out Arsenal-born star Carl Jenkinson. With his development key, it would be a fair assessment to bring in the Spaniard for the game at Swansea, ultimately a fixture we should be winning. Maybe not versus United, but Hector Bellerin would certainly benefit heavily from this alteration, providing him with the chance to prove to the Premier League what a technically astute defender he is.
Also benefiting from this change would be Kieran Gibbs. If it wasn’t for Alexis Sanchez, I’m sure Kieran Gibbs would have been the winner of the past two Arsenal Player of the Month awards. His consistency has been excellent, improving every week and adding to both his defensive and offensive game. Gibbs sometimes lacks in the final third, and area where Monreal proves his worth, so alteration at left-back would be a great option to have, if Monreal was pushed back to his natural position. With Gibbs being fairly injury prone, a rest for him may reflect well come the United tie, as he will be fresh and ready to show Luke Shaw why he is the best English left-back the Premier League has to offer.
Finally, in regard to Calum Chambers, it would benefit him too. The Englishman’s natural position is center-back whilst Wenger himself admitted the same. Now needing to push on and feel comfortable in this area, he needs game time. Including him at the heart of the defence against Swansea and Manchester United would do us all a favour, as our back-line would become taller, stronger and certainly more powerful. With Koscielny set to return in one week, I think with Chambers we have his best partner. The pair will be formidable, as the ageing Mertesacker looks out of form. Benefiting three players and improving our winning chances, it’s a change Wenger HAS to make.