Arsenal travel to Germany on Thursday to take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League opener. Ahead of the game, Unai Emery will be scratching his head and wondering how to tighten things up at the back.
Last Sunday, Arsenal imploded against Watford in the Premier League. Emery’s men were 2-0 up but individual errors saw them slip to a 2-2 draw. This could open the door for Calum Chambers to earn an Arsenal recall on Thursday.
The 24-year-old played the first game of the season for Arsenal but has been on the bench since. If he is recalled to the starting line-up against Frankfurt, it could be a decisive game in his Arsenal career.
Arsenal’s defensive errors
Chambers is surely in contention for a starting spot. Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz both traded horrendous gaffes in the draw with Watford to cost Arsenal two points. Both players are surely at risk of losing their place.
Meanwhile, Rob Holding has declared himself fit but Emery might not want to risk him straight away. Alternatively, he could try a brand new centre-back pairing of Holding and Chambers against Frankfurt.
Chambers offers a ball-playing style of play, which is what Emery wants. But he needs to show that he suits this role better than Sokratis and Luiz. After Sokratis gave the ball away inside the box last week, Chambers can show why he would have been better in that scenario.
This also allows Emery to trial out different formations. Emery dabbled with a back-three last season and Chambers is the perfect right-back/centre-back hybrid for this role – if Emery thinks he is good enough.
Last season, Chambers was on loan at Fulham. While the Cottagers went down, Chambers could hold his head high as he produced some fine individual displays. The ex-Southampton player was mainly deployed in a holding midfield role, too.
This is another option for Emery to look at. Perhaps he wants to add defensive reinforcements in front of his back four. This is where Chambers’ versatility comes in handy. Wherever he is played against Frankfurt, it could be the game that earns him a permanent Arsenal spot.