Jamie Carragher believes that Arsenal centre-back Ben White is in for a tough test against Chelsea, following Friday’s defeat to Brentford.
The Gunners got their new Premier League season off to a sour note with a 2-0 loss away from home. Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard struck as the newly-promoted Bees claimed a deserved victory. Several Arsenal stars struggled, not least new signing Ben White. Indeed, he was making his debut on Friday.
The England international failed to get up to speed against Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo throughout.
However, former centre-back Carragher has warned that the 23-year-old’s start to life at Arsenal will not get any easier.
Chelsea travel to the Emirates Stadium next and will likely start Romelu Lukaku. The former Blue has moved back to Stamford Bridge from Inter for £97.5million.
“Next week he is going to be up against Lukaku and that just shows you what you come up against in the Premier League,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“It is normally associated with teams near the bottom or coming up, to go a little bit more direct and to mix it up.
“But coming up against Chelsea, if you’re Thomas Tuchel, just keep playing that ball into Lukaku.”
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Lukaku scored 64 goals in 95 games for Inter, but has already proven himself in the English top flight.
His best time in England may not have come at Chelsea. But he delivered for Everton, West Brom and Manchester United.
White, meanwhile, made his name firstly at Leeds United on loan in 2019/20. However, he impressed in his first Premier League season with Brighton last term.
Seagulls boss Graham Potter used him in a back three, but Carragher pointed out the stark differences at Arsenal.
White must adapt to Arsenal
“When he played in at a back three at Brighton the two next to him were giants, [Adam] Webster and [Lewis] Dunk. So you can step in with the ball, not so much of a problem with set-pieces or long throws,” Carragher said.
“But your two centre-backs in a back four need to be good in the air. That’s coming from me, I couldn’t dominate anyone in the air. Sami Hyypia’s job was to really dominate and I’d hopefully win 60-70% of my headers.
“But when I said in commentary about being clever, it’s about using your body, being clever as the ball’s coming, ease someone out but he is a young player.
“He’s not gonna get any taller so he’s going to have this problem. People are going to watch tonight and think ‘just play long balls on Ben White’s head’ and you’re going to get joy as proven tonight.
“So he either has to get somebody in front of him, or be a lot stronger and cleverer in his body movement.”