Arsenal: Calum Chambers Might Be A Defensive Midfielder

By Anish Morarji from St Albans, England via Wikimedia Commons
By Anish Morarji from St Albans, England via Wikimedia Commons /

Calum Chambers made his return to the Arsenal first team in midfield against Bournemouth. Was it a one-off, or is that his position for the future?

Calum Chambers was played in defensive midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey against Bournemouth, the first time in his career where he was not starting in defense. What appeared quite a lightweight midfield played a strong possession game against the Cherries and, with a little help from Mesut Ozil, earned Arsenal a comfortable 2-0 win.

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Arsene Wenger said in his post-match interview that Chambers thoroughly impressed him with his showing in defensive midfield, but he went on to say something that might make Arsenal fans even more curious. Wenger said, when asked about Chambers being deployed in an unusual spot, “We have worked with him on that now for two months, you know, in this position.”

Perhaps the reason Chambers has failed to make a full appearance since playing in central defense against Liverpool on August 24th is because Wenger has been preparing him for a whole other role in the Arsenal team.

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Wenger went on to add in that press conference that he thinks Calum Chambers is “a fraction young” to start for the Gunners in central defense. There are two starting center backs for Arsenal at the moment and a third rotational center back, as well as a starting right back and a backup for him as well. If Chambers is too young for the center of defense at the moment and Hector Bellerin continues to progress, midfield seems like a perfect place for him.

Chambers’ game against Bournemouth was extremely solid. He had the highest pass accuracy among the Arsenal players apart from Mesut Ozil and was not dispossessed a single time (see the match report here). Such a performance hopefully means he will be selected there again, and that is great for the Gunners for more than one reason.

Not only does it lift some of the pressure off of Francis Coquelin as the only defensive-minded central midfielder, but it also lowers Arsenal’s reliance on Mathieu Flamini. Yes, Flamini scored two goal against Tottenham and put in maybe one or two good shifts in midfield. That does not matter. He is nowhere near a true defensive midfielder and is not adequately prepared to take on that responsibility for a team with title ambitions.

If Chambers is able to hold down a spot behind Mesut Ozil in the midfield three, Arsenal’s team shape might have a lot more stability and Coquelin’s return from injury will not be expedited to the point where the Frenchman is put at risk of injuring himself again. After Coquelin does return, perhaps a partnership of Coquelin and Chambers could form. Something totally undiscovered, but it hypothetically could work.

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Arsenal have their next two games at the Emirates against the two sides from Newcastle, and both Newcastle and Sunderland have been struggling of late. Two should-be wins for the men from North London gives Chambers a chance to stake a claim for a short-term defensive midfield role. Not only will it help out Arsenal’s stability, but it will relieve the pressure on Francis Coquelin, make it not compulsory for Flamini to start, and give Calum Chambers newfound playing time for his club.