Arsenal host Southampton on Saturday afternoon upon the return of the Premier League. In desperate need of a victory, here are five key players to watch.
After the third and final international break brought a brief hiatus to Arsenal’s disastrous start to the season, the Premier League returns to the fore on Saturday afternoon, the Gunners hosting relegation-threatened Southampton in desperate need of an emphatic, attacking victory. Head coach Unai Emery only felt the pressure intensify during the international break with Spurs making the decision that many Arsenal fans would like their club to make, and now, with a nice game to re-establish some attacking routine and rhythm, Emery needs a big performance from his players.
Here are five key players to watch.
5. Calum Chambers
In the week prior to the international, Unai Emery ostensibly made a move in the centre-back pecking order. Sokratis, who had been used a Premier League starter, dropped to the Europa League XI, with Calum Chambers usurping him in the Leicester City match. The decision may have been a tactical one, Emery using a back three instead of a flat back four, but when he switched to a back four late on, Chambers remained on the pitch, partnering David Luiz centrally.
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It is not inconceivable that Chambers has now proven himself as Arsenal’s most capable defender, even including the erratic Luiz. He was the Gunners’ best player against Leicester, has performed admirably at right-back in Hector Bellerin’s stead, and is coming off the best season of his career at Fulham, even if many of his most positive performances during that campaign came in midfield.
If Chambers starts on Saturday, especially if Emery shifts to a back four again as is anticipated, it would be a show of faith. This would be his opportunity to forge a consistent starting role in the team. He has waited a long time for this moment. Now that it might be here, can he take it?