Arsenal fans plead for Aston Villa hero to start at Man Utd
Calum Chambers helped spare Arsenal’s blushes as they fought back with 10 men to dramatically snatch three points against Aston Villa yesterday.
The Gunners were one man lighter after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was awarded a second yellow card shortly before half time.
Unai Emery’s side went into the break 1-0 down at home to 18th placed Villa, and the manager decided to introduce Chambers for winger Bukayo Saka.
The change balanced Arsenal for the second period and they equalised from the penalty spot as £72m club-record signing Nicolas Pepe bagged his first goal for the Gunners.
Villa regained their lead just moments later, though, before surprise hero Chambers popped up with a deft lobbed finish to put a second past Tom Heaton on 81 minutes.
The goal inspired Arsenal as they bagged a crucial third three minutes later, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang curling home a free-kick.
Chambers was hailed for his performance from off the bench and his goal drew memories of an almost identical finish three-and-a-half years prior.
Again against Heaton, Chambers poked home as Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1 in their FA Cup fourth-round tie back in January 2016.
Arsenal posted the identical clips on Twitter and fans loved what they saw, with many taking the chance to urge Emery to start Chambers next week.
The Gunners travel north to take on rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Monday.
While Arsenal are still nursing some key injuries, especially defensively, including first-choice right-back Hector Bellerin, United are in the midst of a treatment room crisis.
Emery’s team will be playing the Red Devils at the ideal time, and Arsenal fans want Chambers playing to give them the best hope of picking up another three points.
The most liked response to Arsenal’s post was: “He deserves to start against Man United.”
Another Arsenal fan urged: “Start him against United please”.
A third suggested versatile Chambers should be picked to play in the centre of defence, adding: “It’s nice lads but start him as a CB.”
“Still gonna be on the bench for the next game I bet… Unfairly treated by the club, the fans don’t give him the credit he deserves either,” another supporter bemoaned.
One Gunners fan pleaded: “Start him ffs! @UnaiEmery_ ”.
Another insisted: “Has to stay at RB till @HectorBellerin comes back”.
And a final Arsenal fan said: “Wow what a coincidence! He’s 100 times better than AMN.”
Maitland-Niles, who has deputised regularly at right-back since midway through last season in the absence of Bellerin, will be available at Old Trafford.
His suspension only lasts one game and will see him miss tomorrow’s Carabao Cup third round tie at home to Nottingham Forest.
Bellerin, though, did feature for Arsenal’s Under-23s last week and is nearing a return to first-team action.
Chambers contribution against Villa, however, has earned him the backing of Arsenal supporters.
The 24-year-old defender, who spent last season on loan at relegated Fulham playing as a holding midfielder, has made three appearances for Arsenal so far this season.
He played the full 90 minutes at centre-half in their first Premier League game of the new campaign as Arsenal saw off Newcastle 1-0 at St James’ Park.
And he also figured at right-back last Thursday in Arsenal’s 3-0 win away to Frankfurt in their Europa League Group F opener.
Following his 45 minutes against Villa, it means Arsenal have conceded just once in two-and-a-half matches with Chambers playing in defence this season.