Tag Archives: Laurent Koscielny

Calum Chambers – Should he stay or should he go?

Watching the Fulham v Tottenham game at the weekend, the stand out performer dominating the middle of the park was Calum Chambers.

The on loan Arsenal man was one of the few outstanding players in a very poor Fulham team. It had many calling for his return to the club in the summer.

Chambers turned 24 a couple of days ago and signed a new 4-year-deal back in July last year.

After a good start to his Arsenal career, he has struggled to nail down a place in the squad. Fulham is his second loan deal after a year spent in Middlesbrough during their 2016/17 relegation season.

What should Arsenal do with the not-so-young-central defender?

Keep, replace Laurent Koscielny

Club captain Laurent Koscielny rolled back the years against Chelsea, but team is clearly running out for the old dog.

Most Arsenal fans want a strong, first choice centre back to partner Sokratis in the long term. We can all agree that Calum Chambers is not that man. Neither is Shkodran Mustafi. Rob Holding has arguably moved ahead of Koscielny, Mustafi and Chambers.

In 2019/20 Koscielny will be, at best, 4th choice centre back being Sokratis, Mustafi/replacement and Rob Holding. Could Calum Chambers return and be 4th choice central defender? Certainly.

Keep, replace Mohamed Elneny

At Fulham, Calum Chambers joined as a centre back but was soon moved to central midfield. It was in the middle of the park he ran the game for Fulham against Tottenham.

He was composed on the ball, short and long passing, as well as stopping Tottenham attacks at will. He was Man of the Match.

Arsenal’s current midfield options are Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Could Calum Chamber take Elneny’s place in the squad? Certainly.

Cover Hector Bellerin

Roll back to 2014 when Arsenal signed Chambers for £16million, he was a right back – having made 22 Premier League appearances for Southampton in 2013/14.

With Stephan Lichsteiner set to leave in the summer, and Hector Bellerin’s injury, we clearly need to address the right back situation next season.

Maitland-Niles is an option at right back, and will surely get his chance in the coming weeks and months. Could Calum Chambers provide cover to Hector Bellerin? Certainly.

All of the above

So he could be 4th choice centre back, 4th choice central midfielder and 2/3rd choice right back. Is this a role that he could play in one go, covering depending who is injured? Certainly.

Sell

The final option is sell.

After his string of performances, Arsenal could easily get £20million or more for a home grown, 24-year-old player.

At Premier League level who would be a regular starter for a mid-to-lower league team, or a newly promoted one.

You could see him fitting in at Derby County. He was heavily linked with a £16million move to Crystal Palace last season.

The likes of Bournemouth have spent big in January for players who are inferior to Chambers (£19milion for Dominic Solanke!). He would certainly get into their team, as well as Brighton and West Ham.

If we sold him, there would be no shortage of takers.

Arsenal have been awful at selling players in recent years. We have let over £200m worth of talent exit, getting little in return.

Imagine the scenario. We get £20million for Chambers; we also sell Mustafi. We could get in the region of £35million for a Premier League, international proven central defender. That is £55million bought in selling a central defender not currently in the squad, and one more that we can improve on.

That total could then go towards a new defender.

For £55million+ we could get a quality central defender. There are not too many defenders in the world that would be out of our reach.

You then have the new central defender, Sokratis, Holding, Koscielny and Mavropanos as the options.

Should we learn our lesson with Chambers. Cash in on a player who will never quite be good enough, and reinvest that elsewhere on someone that improves our first team without weakening the squad? Certainly.

I would keep all options on the table.

Keenos

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How will Unai Emery solve Arsenal defensive puzzle?

Unai Emery is facing a defensive puzzle.

With Rob Holding out for the season, yellow cards to both Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi against Huddersfield means both are suspended for the game at Southampton on Sunday.

Not only does this give the Spaniard a headache for the Premier League match, but also disrupts his planning for the visit of Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday.

Thursday’s game would have been used to give Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal a run out. Get 90 minutes of senior football under their belts after long lay offs.

Koscielny would have most certainly started at centre back, with Monreal at left back. The problem now for Arsenal is that with Sokratis and Mustafi now out, the pair are now likely to be our central defensive partnership against Southampton.

So what does this mean for Thursday?

Does Emery continue with the rehabilitation of Monreal and Koscielny by giving them 90 minutes against Qarabagm hope they both get through and hope recover quickly enough for Southampton at Sunday lunch time?

Or does he play Sokratis and Mustafi (injury permitting) against Qarabag, keeping Koscielny and Monreal out of danger for Sunday.

The fear will be against Qarabag, the one of either Koscielny or Monreal picks up a little niggle ruling them out of Sunday. This is highly likely. Small injuries often occur after a long lay off. And even if they do both get through unscathed, are either yet fully fit enough to play 90 minutes twice in less than 3 days?

Arsenal were already without first choice U23 pairing Daniel Ballard and Julio Pleguezuelo, as well as Kostadinos Mavropanos. This would mean that if either Koscielny or Monreal were to not fit for Sunday, either 18-year-old Zech Medly would start, or Arsenal would have to move either Stephan Lichtsteiner or Granit Xhaka into the back four.

Logic dictates that you do not involved Koscielny or Monreal against Qarabag. It would also make sense to not play Sokratis if Mustafi’s hamstring injury is to rule him out of further games.

So Medley and Big Carl Jenkinson it is then/

Keenos

Out of the EFL trophy, Laurent Koscielny injured & Jack Wilshere woes continue

Disappointed to see the lads drop out of the EFL Trophy last night.

Whilst I am against academy sides being in the lower league competition, I can see the benefits of getting to see youngsters play against senior players.

Losing 2-1 against Portsmouth is not a bad result. They are flying high in League One this season – having lost just a single league game.

The side Arsenal put was very much a second string youth side, missing the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Julio Pleguezuelo, Ben Sheaf and Xavier Amaechi.

The side contained 7 teenagers, and once you remove Laurent Koscielny – who hobbled off injured, the average age was just 19.

Promotions to the first team of Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Willock meant that a whole host of U18 players were then called up. This then weakened the U18 team, who as a consequence lost 2-1 to Everton.

With 16-year-old Karl Hein on the bench, the squad that travelled down to the South Coast to face Portsmouth had 10 players who were still eligible to be playing in the U18s.

Having seen a dozen youth team graduates make the trip to Ukraine last week, the academy is in a very strong position, with many players performing above their age group.

On Koscielny, it is concerning that he limped off last night.

Following a 45 minute cameo against Derby for the U23s last week, he played 85 minutes last night. It was a step up in his recovery process, with the target being to return to the first team against Qarabag next week in the Europa League dead rubber.

It is not yet clear whether he was taken off as a precaution, or whether he has tweaked something more serious.

At 33-years-old, your body does recover slower and is more susceptible to niggling injuries during recovery. If this turns out to be something more serious, it could be the end of his Arsenal career.

On injuries, it was announced earlier this week that Jack Wilshere has picked up yet another ankle injury just as he returned to first team action following an injury to his other ankle.

Wilshere had missed West Ham‘s last nine Premier League matches due to an ankle injury before making his comeback last Saturday against Newcastle.

After playing only five minutes against Newcastle on the weekend, he had to be rested for the Cardiff game because of an ankle pain.

This season he has appeared for West Ham just 5 times – starting 4 games and playing 339 minutes.

When Arsenal fans announced he was to be let go on a free transfer, a lot of fans responded in anger. Wilshere’s continuation of a poor injury record justifies Arsenal’s decision.

The decision to let Wilshere go is ever more supported in hindsight with the development of Matteo Guendouzi.

Had 26-year-old Wilshere played, he would have taken minutes away from the teenage Frenchman.

19-year-old Guendouzi has started 12 games this season and the extra play time has sped up his development.

Wilshere is the teenage star of yesteryear. Guendouzi is the teenage start of today.

Keenos