Thoughts on Calum Chambers’ Fledgling Arsenal Career
Unlike the recent trend in previous seasons, this has been a very productive transfer window for Arsenal football club.
Of course, there were some departures as expected. Some youngsters that couldn’t break into the first team had to go and I’m certain that many Arsenal fans were shocked to see Chuks Aneke and Thomas Eisfeld walk through the exit door. The club’s strangest signing of all time, Park Chu-Young, was released as well as the greatest striker that ever lived, Nicklas Bendtner. The skipper also departed for the sunshine of Spain, our FA Cup penalty-saving hero left in search of regular game time at Swansea and the Bac-Man went for the greens of the Etihad.
With these departures, there were vacuums in various playing positions that had to be filled. David Ospina stepped into Lukasz Fabianski’s shoes and he harbors hopes of being No. 1 (like Fabianski did *gulp*), Matt Debuchy replaced his French compatriot and the marquee signing the fans craved arrived in the form of Alexis Sanchez. However, Arsene Wenger participated in the Southampton Garage Sale to acquire the services of a young Calum Chambers, for a reported £16m or so.
Born in 1995, Calum Chambers was promoted from the Saints’ academy in 2012 after impressing for the club’s youth side. He grew up through the ranks and had his breakthrough campaign last season, where he shuffled with Nathaniel Clyne for the right back slot at Southampton. The lad is renowned for his versatility but with Per Mertesacker given an extended break from his World Cup exertions, Chambers has featured as a center back alongside Laurent Koscielny.
The fans got a glimpse of what was to come in the Emirates Cup against Benfica. Despite the fact that Yaya Sanogo earned the plaudits for his goalscoring blitz, Chambers was among the standout performers, making neat tackles and showing off his composure. With the Emirates Cup out of the way, Chambers featured alongside Kos the Boss in the FA Community Shield and he put up another solid display against the defending Premier League champions.
In his first competitive start for the Gunners against Crystal Palace, Chambers made four tackles, two interceptions and eight clearances, earning himself a WhoScored rating of 7.33. He also attempted 93 passes and 86 of them were accurate which equates to a pass completion percentage of 92.5%, which is utterly impressive if you ask me. If the Crystal Palace game was a step in his learning curve, the game against Besiktas was a stern test of his abilities.
Yes, he committed one error that almost proved costly for his side but Chambers hardly put a foot wrong all game long and he rightfully earned some plaudits from his manager,
“He [Chambers] won all his challenges made on a pitch that was not easy to play on. It was a difficult game played with frenetic pace.
“We could have won it but they had chances as well. In the end we didn’t lose and hopefully we will make it at home.
The ideal game plan is to score goals and not concede, but we will see and prepare for that.”
Wenger isn’t the only person that has been singing sweet tunes about the talented young lad. Wojciech Szczesny is a player that has been protected by his defensive rearguard thus far and in three games the Polish goalie has featured this season, he has conceded a goals – a thumping header from Crystal Palace’s Brede Hangeland in the Premier League curtain raiser at the Emirates.
Szczesny has lavished praise on the lad (via Arsenal.com) for the way he has adapted quickly to life at the club and he firmly believes that the player has a bright future ahead of him,
“He’s been fantastic for us and adapted very quickly to being a centre back. He only came in pre-season so he hasn’t a lot of time to train with us in this position.
“You can’t tell that he’s only 19 years old, he looks like a very experienced centre back. He’s doing very well at the moment.”
With Arsenal’s German contingent returning back to first team action in this weekend’s crucial clash against Everton, it seems likely for Calum Chambers to be displaced from Koscielny’s side by the more experienced and influential vice-captain, Per Mertesacker, and with Mikel Arteta suffering an ankle injury on Tuesday, the BFG may be the man to lead the Gunners out in Goodison Park.
However, Arteta’s injury would lead to another question – Who would replace him in the holding role?
Many would believe that Mathieu Flamini would slot in easily to replace the Lego-haired Spaniard but a certain Arsene Wenger said that he sees Calum Chambers as a defensive midfielder. With many Arsenal fans clamoring for a holding midfielder, Arteta’s injury can serve as a catalyst for them to back their claims but Wenger knows what’s best for his team and he recently stated in his last press conference that he’s not close to signing anybody.
From the games I’ve seen thus far, I’ve been very delighted with what I’ve witnessed from this talented 19-year old.
Whether it’s at right back, center back or defensive midfield, all I can say is that the future is bright and that future is Calum Chambers.
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