HEAD-TO-HEAD: Is Wenger right... can Chambers handle Lukaku?

Chambers v Lukaku

The Arsenal boss believes the 19-year-old can handle the Everton striker on Saturday. Do the stats back him up?

Chambers V LukakuArsene Wenger seemed calm and confident when discussing Calum Chambers on Thursday.

The Gunners boss claimed that his 19-year-old protege could handle Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, based on the logic that he had handled another ex-Chelsea striker - Demba Ba - against Besiktas in midweek.

In that Champions League clash, Chambers produced an astute display, winning two tackles, four interceptions and making no less than nine clearances, while also blocking two shots.

And the 19-year-old won a further two aerial duels, according to statistics from Whoscored.com.

As our head-to-head stats show, that was a continuation of Chambers' form in the Premier League. Last weekend against Crystal Palace, the former Southampton defender won four tackles and two aerial duels, as many as he lost.

Against Everton on Saturday, those statistics will be key. Jamie Redknapp has suggested in his Sky Sports column that Roberto Martinez may play Lukaku down the right-hand side to test Nacho Monreal - but there is a strong possibility that he will play down the middle, meaning he will duel with Chambers.

As our above graphic shows, the £28 million summer signing did not contest any tackles on the ground but did contest seven aerial duels in his opening game against Leicester City. He won just one of those.

And, last season, the trend was similar.

  TeamPosAerial Dules Won / appAerial Duels Lost / appTackles Won / appChallenge Lost / appAppsMins
Romelu Lukaku Everton FW 2.90 4.77 0.19 0.16 31 2,562
Calum Chambers Southampton MF 1.86 1.45 1.73 0.68 22 1,641

As Opta stats show, Lukaku won 2.9 aerial duels per game on average but lost far more. Chambers, who played at full-back for Southampton, consistently won more aerial duels per game than he lost.

That suggests he is, as Wenger says, capable of holding off Lukaku, both by tackling him on the ground or facing up against him aerially.

However, the 21-year-old is extremely powerful in the air - and all it takes is just one chance to head home. Chambers will need to be on his guard and Lukaku may pose his toughest challenge yet.

But he is more than capable of producing the goods.

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