Analysis

Calum Chambers is NOT Mikel Arteta’s solution for Arsenal’s right-back dilemma

Hector Bellerín, Cedric Soares, Calum Chambers – all 3 have been used by Mikel Arteta at right-back this season, and while Bellerín does not plan on staying for long at Arsenal, Cedric Soares is aging and has been less than useful for the Gunners. However, the problem with Calum Chambers is quite different.

Brought from the Southampton academy at just 19 years of age, Arsene Wenger was convinced of the defender’s talents and in the beginning, the defender did show some promise. However, in 2016, Arsenal sent the defender out on loan to Middlesbrough until the 2017/18 season, when Wenger decided to use the defender at certain points in the season. In 2018, Chambers went out on loan again, to Fulham this time, for the entire season. Things changed in 2019 when Unai Emery used Chambers for about 13 matches out of a possible 20 before he was fired in November 2019.

Mikel Arteta was appointed and Chambers knowing the manager from his playing days, was expecting consistent game-time or a fresh lease of life under a new manager. Unfortunately, Chambers suffered a horrible ACL injury in Arteta’s second game in charge as Arsenal manager. The injury kept the defender out for almost a year, after which, he returned in December 2020 as he featured in a Europa League group stage game for Arsenal.

Since then, the defender has gone to feature for only 300 minutes in the past 3 months, as he has been used by Arteta in the center-back and the right-back slots. However, whether Chambers has a career as a center-back is yet to be determined, but he certainly does not fit the role of a right-back.

NOT SUITED TO THE ROLE:

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Calum Chambers as a full-back, is at best, an average one. There are plenty of defenders in the Premier League itself on a lesser payroll than the Englishman, who possess a lot more qualities than the 25-year-old.

Being fast, tactically astute and having control over the ball are the basic requirements in a defender these days, and the Englishman does have the latter two though his pace plays straight to the advantage of opponents, especially as a full-back.

While the 25-year-old is great in the air, the list of advantages of having him in the side end there. Hector Bellerín is a modern-day full-back who can cover the length of the pitch-up & down for a continuous 90 minutes. There may be no end product while he marauds down the flanks, but he possesses the basic qualities a full-back would require.

Mikel Arteta believes in a free-flowing style of play and Calum Chambers certainly does not follow that style. He is a much more old-school defender who believes in playing the ball out of danger and tonking out in-coming crosses with his head.

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It must also be said that Chambers might be a quality option for other teams in the league, but none of them would be in the top half of the table. While the ACL injury was a serious one and caused a lot of trauma and damage to the defender, Mikel Arteta cannot possibly offer the Englishman anything other than sympathy.

There is no saying how important a role Chambers would have played had he not been injured but that is a game of ifs and buts. Arsenal, currently 9th in the Premier League table and they cannot afford to provide fringe players with any kind of chances.

Mikel Arteta might target the likes of Emerson of Barcelona this summer because with Hector Bellerín’s future at Arsenal in doubt, Calum Chambers is certainly not the answer and with only a year left on his contract, it is highly likely that Arsenal will move the defender out this summer itself as Mikel Arteta continues “the re-build” job at Arsenal.

MUST READ: Emerson Royal: The solution to Arsenal’s right back issue?

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