Mertesacker injury good news for Arsenal and England under-21 star

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Arsenal’s injury list continues to grow before a competitive ball has even been kicked this season, as Per Mertesacker faces a reported five months on the sidelines with a knee problem, picked up in Friday night’s friendly against Lens.

And although this has caused many Gunners fans to shout and scream at Arsene Wenger to add depth to his defensive unit, 21-year old Calum Chambers will see it as a perfect opportunity to break into the first-team himself.

After signing for the north London outfit in the summer of 2014 with the intention of breaking him in gently, Chambers was thrown straight into first-team action due to enforced defensive absences.

The former Southampton man ended up making 23 league appearances in his debut season at the Emirates, earning him his first full international call-up.

But the emergence of Hector Bellerin and the addition of Brazilian centre-half Gabriel in January 2015 meant opportunities were limited for Chambers, and it was thought he’d be sent out on loan this summer to earn vital Premier League game-time.

However, the situation in which Wenger is now in means that sending Chambers out on loan leaves him incredibly short at the back, with just Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel being the only recognised central defenders in the first team.

Bolton’s Rob Holding arrived last week but it’s thought the 20-year old will be sent back out on loan to a Championship side for the season.

This leaves Chambers, who played a key role in England’s Under-21 Toulon tournament win this summer, as the only real competition for Koscielny and Gabriel for a starting place.

It’s likely the £16m man will start the opening game of the season at home to Liverpool alongside Gabriel as Koscielny recovers from a long summer with the French national team, and he’ll want to stake a claim for a permanent spot.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.