Search

Young defender needs a break, says Arsenal boss

07:32 24 December 2014

Calum Chambers (left) battles with Liverpool

Calum Chambers (left) battles with Liverpool's Adam Lallana

Archant

Arsene Wenger admits he must shield teenager Calum Chambers from the burden of a central defensive role despite Arsenal’s ongoing injury problems at the back.

The 19-year-old, who was signed from Southampton last summer, has been suspended twice but has otherwise featured in all but one of the Gunners’ fixtures this season.

However, Wenger has opted to deploy right-back Mathieu Debuchy as an emergency centre-half in recent games – and he has signalled that policy will continue for Arsenal’s Boxing Day clash against QPR (kick-off 5.30pm).

“For a 19-year-old player he [Chambers] has played too many games,” said the Gunners boss. “After 15, 17 games you have to give them a breather, get them fresh and get back again.

“At the moment, to have that responsibility in every single game is a lot for players of that age. I put Debuchy in because he’s good in the air and [in the 3-2 defeat] at Stoke we suffered in the air.

“He’s a defender of experience and that experience can sometimes make a difference, whereas the defensive responsibility’s a bit less on the flank.”

Laurent Koscielny’s ongoing calf problem has meant that Chambers, left-back Nacho Monreal and Debuchy have all been pressed into service to partner Per Mertesacker in the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

The Gunners have conceded seven goals in their last four games and Wenger concedes that lack of continuity may have had an adverse effect on the German’s form as well.

However, he expects that situation to improve once Koscielny returns – and that could even be as soon as Sunday, when Arsenal travel to West Ham (3pm) for their second London derby of the Christmas programme.

“I believe he’s on the way up, Mertesacker,” added the Frenchman. “He had a difficult start to the season but he has been much sharper.

“When you look at the number of players who have played centre-back this season, it’s not easy for him. When Koscielny comes back I think we’ll be more stable.

“We have had a depleted squad since the start of the season and no stability. The fact that we got so many important injuries at the back cost us – we lost Debuchy and Koscielny during the same period of three months. It’s too much.”

Club captain Mikel Arteta remains sidelined until the new year with an ankle injury, but Tomas Rosicky, Yaya Sanogo and goalkeeper David Ospina are all available again.

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 17:14
St Aloysius' RC College U14s won the ESFA PlayStation Cup at the Madejski Stadium, Reading

Left-back Prosper Keto headed in the only goal at Reading’s Madejski Stadium as St Aloysius’ Under-14s collected their first national 11-a-side trophy for 16 years.

Yesterday, 16:52
Summer Eytle-Rock (left) of Activities4U U12s

Summer Eytle-Rock produced another big game for Activities 4U Under-12s as the Islington side defeated Hackney Jedis 26-14 to book their place in the Community Basketball League play-off semi-finals.

Yesterday, 16:52
Beth Potter (right) is pursued by her British rivals Kate Avery and Jessica Andrews (second from left), who eventually won the race on the Parliament Hill athletics track. Pic: Mark Shearman

Former world record-holder Dave Bedford says Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs is a “fascinating event” which is “of great value” to the world of athletics.

Yesterday, 13:27
Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett (left) exchanges high fives with Sam Solia

Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett blew away the Indian Gymkhana batting with the division’s first six-wicket haul of the season to put his side top of the Division Two table.

Yesterday, 12:46
Regent Rovers captain Ryan Bruce lifts the Invitation Cup

Abo Eisa followed up his Islington Gazette Cup final hat-trick with a double as Regent Rovers beat Islington Admiral United 3-0 to secure their second trophy of the season.

Yesterday, 12:28
Chris Arul hit a century for Highgate in their win over Wembley

Highgate opener Chris Arul clobbered the Wembley bowling with a century to set up his side’s first Division Two victory of the season.

Mon, 15:06
North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll (left) has praised Rob Fahrenheim (right), who hit 96 against Teddington on Saturday. Pic: Max Flego

New signing Rob Fahrenheim led a much-improved batting display from North Middlesex – but the Crouch End outfit suffered their second successive defeat in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Mon, 07:10
Middlesex's James Franklin bowling.

Middlesex all-rounder James Franklin fears the new County Championship toss rule is stifling the competition and generating “attritional cricket”.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe