By Editor Wayne Veysey
Calum Chambers has staked his claim to play in central midfield as injuries continue to devastate Arsenal’s options.
The 20-year-old played the full 90 minutes in midfield for the club’s Under-21s in a 2-1 win over Brighton on Monday night.
Chambers, who is a defender by trade, was given his chance to shine following the slew of injuries that have rocked the senior team.
Francis Coquelin will be out for three to six months with knee ligament damage, Mikel Arteta has a calf problem, Jack Wilshere is three weeks away from full fitness and Santi Cazorla joined the walking wounded when he sustained a knee problem in the 1-1 draw at Norwich on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger is now weighing up his central midfield options ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium and the must-win Champions League trip to Olympiakos four days later.
Mathieu Flamini has partnered Cazorla in the last two matches and the Gunners are anxiously awaiting an update on Cazorla’s fitness.
With Arsene Wenger reluctant to use Aaron Ramsey in central midfield because he does not believe the Welshman has the tactical discipline to play there, the manager is now weighing up using Chambers in an unfamiliar position.
The former Southampton player has been used predominantly at right-back or centre-back in his intermittent appearances for Arsenal.
Tellingly, he played the last 10 minutes of the Gunners’ 3-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Zagreb last Tuesday in midfield after replacing Cazorla, with Ramsey staying on the right flank.
Speaking on Monday of last week, Wenger said: “We have players that can play in [Coquelin’s] position. Chambers has been educated in that position.”