Chambers: a midfielder, really Arsène?

The most interesting and exciting part of Wenger’s post Emirates Cup interview to me was that he seems to genuinely believe that Chambers can play in the midfield.

Chambers 1

I don’t know enough about him to form an opinion but contrast that with Vermaelen for example?

We have spent hours and hours of blog time trying to persuade each other that Vermaelen could and should play as a DM in certain situations.

There have been games when this seemed the glaringly obvious thing to do; and yet no, Wenger has never played TV in the midfield and what’s more he has never suggested in any interview that it could be a possibility.

If I have thought about Arsenal during the off season it has been the FA Cup win that has sprung to mind rather than any other aspect of last season or at least it was, until that is I was rudely reminded by BT Sport’s advertising campaign of those awful thrashings we had to endure.

I am firmly in 26’s camp that those BT adverts which show the club and the supporters suffering so painfully will have a very positive effect; if that is, they haven’t done so already.

I have this boyish image in my mind of Wenger being shown them and then passing them onto Kroenke. My impression of these people is one of being gentle giants but those ads have been the equivalent of someone poking a big black bear with a sharp stick; the result being, that both Wenger and Kroenke have been so angered that they have gone into the transfer market with both guns blazing – and they aint stopped shooting yet.

The bad old days of Arsenal supporters either wanting Wenger to stay or wanting him to go are gone. The only divide that I can see is those who believe that he has learnt from those thrashings and those who think not.

Unsurprisingly I suspect, I like to think that he has learnt from those painful experiences and Chambers is evidence of how he is going to prevent such nightmares reoccurring.

For the majority of our games last season, and it will be the same this season, we will have 75% of the ball and we will play the majority of the game in the opponents half. In situations like this somebody shielding the back four is a waste of a player, far better to have an attack minded player like Arteta as our deepest midfielder.

But, we will also play City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manu and in those games we will not have such a high percentage of possession. Arteta is going to need help and this is where Chambers comes in. If Wenger is right and he can play in the midfield then for the first time since Gilberto (Shard will correct this no doubt) we will have a player whose skill set is first and foremost that of a defender playing in the midfield – a DM.

Let’s be clear, Arteta is not a defender; he has been converted into that role and fine as he is against lesser teams such as Palace and QPR he is another BT ad waiting to happen against the other bigger teams I mentioned above.

We have had two glimpses of Chambers so far and on both occasions he has looked calm and assured. If indeed any of what I have just said is likely to be part of Wenger’s way of thinking then the big test for Chambers will come Saturday the 13th of September against Man City, if he plays and copes there then we will know that Wenger is right and that he can play in the midfield.

Written by LB


52 Responses to Chambers: a midfielder, really Arsène?

  1. Mehster says:

    I’m not an Arsenal fan but I can imagine the feeling when those adverts are being shown, very harsh! I’d agree with you that Vermaelen could indeed play as a DM, certainly has the passing ability and likes to move into gaps, on top of his defensive qualities. And since a DM is really a place to strengthen, I think Arsene should be looking at buying an actual midfielder if Vermaelen is indeed leaving. Chambers looks a very tidy purchase for you but I really do hope he gets played where he’s been developed so far in his career. Good post!

  2. LB says:

    A bit of fun for a quiet Thursday morning, not meant to be taken too seriously.

  3. gunnerpete says:

    Look sunshine, its about time you started to believe….AW is the master of finding talent we all know that and I think Bouldie is also having imput re; Chambers. Yes we all wanted Vermy at DMF especially during the games where we KNEW we were in for a tonking but we will never know the real reason that Vermy suddenly became mistake prone. I have my suspicions about him and Sagna who also went missing during our biggest thumpings last year. Let just wait and see what Man C make of this new AFC, and this will not be the definitive squad as AW will no doubt sign a couple more stars…….A quality left sided CB would be best when thinking of Monreal and another goalscorer. Lets see who is nearest shall we?

  4. Dick Swiveller says:

    Without wishing to spend too much time arguing over things that are pretty moot now, Vermaelen doesn’t have the discipline or the teqhinque to play in midfield, good at charging forwards from defence but no more.

    I’m not sure that Arteta isn’t good enough for the big games right now, I tend to believe *those* results are down to the entire team rather than anyone in particular, but I do agree in general. I’m happier to have someone in midfield who can defend, or two if you take it for granted that Rambo will start, and I think Arteta will get slower and weaker rather than the other way round. If we think about either Khedira or Carvalho being added too, that gives us a fair amount of power and defensive ability with Chambers there too.

    We’re better off than we were, suffice to say.

  5. Shard says:

    I wonder why I was named there, but now I feel obligated to counter the Gilberto thing 🙂

    Alex Song! Young CB converted to a DM (or as Micky now likes to call it, HM). Primarily a defender but he wouldn’t stay as such. Songinho we called him for a while. At the time I thought it wasn’t a lack of positional discipline, but rather him performing his role. It still might have been, especially in the season after Cesc’s departure. But it was one of the criticisms that hung around him.

    Which is why Vermaelen as DM is a nonstarter. He doesn’t have the positional discipline or awareness even playing at his preferred position. He’s not going to do well protecting the back 4 by playing further forward.

    Wenger and Arsenal have faced tons of abuse from the media over the years. It’s never made them go out and buy players before. BT only pissed off some fans, like Iwona (and me). Not Wenger. I doubt he cares what the media spew. Though I know you meant that a bit tongue in cheek 🙂

    I think Chambers can play in midfield, but I would be much happier if someone else came in there. We have Flamini and Arteta and Diaby in our squad. None of whom have a long term future with us it would seem. Even if Chambers plays there, and we still have Coquelin (probably out the door soon but you never know) and some players like Hayden and Olsson coming through, we’ll be needing an experienced pro there. Now this is why I’m a a bit undecided about the whole Carvalho vs Khedira debate.

    Carvalho, cheaper, more long term, potentially higher ceiling, more of a DM. But a project, as he’s relatively inexperienced.

    Khedira. Wonderful midfielder. Very adaptable. Brings a wealth of experience and all the intangibles that go with winning virtually everything he could have, great friends with Ozil, instant upgrade on Arteta, and gives options filling in for Ramsey. I think he’s faster than Carvalho too. But, expensive, and potentially injury prone.

    It depends on how good Carvalho is (and can be) and how expensive (and injury prone) Khedira is, and also on how much we expect from our upcoming youngsters in midfield and how soon. So I don’t know the answer. I’ll be happy with whatever Wenger chooses. I’m convinced we are at least seriously trying for a midfielder. Whether we get one, I don’t know. Chambers will be used more as a CB and RB this season than a ‘DM/HM’ in my opinion.

  6. Shard says:

    I know Kelsey was listed as author for yesterday’s post, but I would like to petition AA headquarters to add Arsene Wenger to our list of authors 😀

  7. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning all, an interesting post LB, thank you.

    I can’t understand the fascination with Chambers as a mid-fielder. We have a plethora of options in that area and, possibly, more to come.

    Where we are short is in central defence. Chambers looked calm and comfortable in the two games so far, surely it makes sense for him to concentrate on that position. In the absence of Mertesacker it is more than likely that he will be starting in the Community Shield, thoughts of becoming a mid-fielder are an unwonted distraction at this time in his fledgling Arsenal career.

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    Great post LB, thank you.

    I haven’t seen enough of Chambers, but he looked very good over the weekend.

    Arsene said he can play in midfield. Who knows what that means. I think it means he can play in midfield, but maybe it’s a smokescreen. Or not 🙂

    May ’89, and Arsenal shocked the world by playing O’Leary in front of the back four. Strange things happen 🙂

    Off camping. Byeeeeee

  9. LB says:

    Superb comment Shard.

    I had thought of Song but he opens such a different can of worms I purposely avoided him and anyway I knew you would bring him into the debate later on but in the lesser context that I hoped for 😉

    If you think that “Chambers will be used more as a CB and RB this season than a ‘DM/HM’” and as you previously said that you expect Mertasacker to need a rest from time to time, why don’t you think that the more experienced Vermaelen would be first choice to fill in for the BFG?

    Rhetorical question, of course, Vermaelen is looking likely to be sold.
    In that eventuality Wenger has made clear that he will buy a replacement; common sense surely dictates that the replacement will be experienced.

    So we will inevitably find ourselves in a situation of having Vermaelen or a new experienced CB; in either case, common sense again dictates that one of those would be used if and when the BFG needs a rest.

    So if you think that Chambers wont play in the midfield this season and either Vermaelen or the hypothetical new CB will be first choice to relieve either Mertasacker or Koscielny.

    How on earth is Chambers likely to play more games this season that Jenkinson did last?

  10. LB says:


    “A quality left sided CB would be best when thinking of Monreal and another goalscorer. Lets see who is nearest shall we?”

    So you anticipate another goal scorer — can we bet on this?

    If Arsenal sign another goalscorer I will write the headline post the day after the transfer window closes.

    If we don’t, you write it.

    Do we have a bet?

  11. LB says:

    Can anyone else think of a example of a player who when he plays CB we generally all agree that he is quality and also when the same player plays in the midfield we also all generally agree that he is quality.

    I am sure they exist but I can’t think of one.

  12. chas says:

    Cheers, LB.

    I think Wenger knows Vermaelen at DM/HM/S&M would be a liability.
    Playing three centre backs, however, thus providing cover for marauding full backs. Hmmmm.

  13. chas says:


  14. Manthan says:


    Geoffrey Kondogbia and Nicolas N’Koulou

  15. LB says:


    It is good to have you on this site.

    I must admit I do not know the two players that you mentioned. I was hoping for a few more “every day names”.

    Maschrano is a good example, I wonder if there are better?

  16. Manthan says:

    A very good post.. I had seen both ems cup matches and i feel Chambers will make a good DMF, He is very composed and one more thing i noticed is his passing skills and even he has skills to beat defenders I saw glimpse of it vs Monaco.. I am not sure where Arsene sees chambers in future I don’t think its CB because As LB said wenger is looking for an experienced CB so only time will tell where Chambers will play but i would love to see a good DM especially against team who press high.. I would love to see carvalho but again Arsene knows the best so over to you Arsene 😉

  17. Manthan says:

    My Pleasure LB I know you wont agree but what about Luiz and Phil JOnes I know they are not taht good..

  18. Sav from Australia says:

    Nice post. Don’t know if anyone is coming into the team, but surely Chambers – at 19 – signed knowing what his career map will look like over the next few years. Ramsey mentioned in an interview that Wenger had a development plan for him. Surely its the same with all these young players. Wherever he plays, I am sure that with the quality of Arsenal coaching he will become a fine player.

  19. Shard says:

    Hi LB. Thanks for putting me on the spot. 🙂

    You are correct that the more experienced CB will be the more likely candidate to start instead of Per. Although I like to think/hope that it might be more rotation based on attributes. Vermaelen and Kos had a little spell playing well together 2 seasons ago, but for the most part they were suited to playing instead of each other rather than with. So maybe Calum will get a chance in some cases based on the CB combinations.

    I expect Chambers to start in cup games. I also expect him to get more game time due to his versatility. A place on the bench covers RB and CB, and in some cases even as an extra body in midfield. I expect he’ll get a look in because of that.

    Basically, I think Jenkinson was underplayed, with Sagna getting the nod even in games where Carl might have started. I don’t think that’ll happen with Chambers. I think he’ll get more starts than Carl did, and more minutes as a sub too.

  20. chas says:

    Chambers is a weird one. It almost sounds as though Arsene saw him play right back against us (almost for the first time) and decided there and then to buy him.
    Scouted at first sight!


    Cheers LB

    Chambers will turn out to be the buy of the centrury and eventully move into midfiled. I noticed him last year and thought this kid has something about him. A steely determination and not fussed approach you normally see in wankers like Gerrard or Terry.

    I gaurantee that in a couple of years time he will be captaining Arsenal and England, and be know by rival supporters as a horrendous wanker.

    Thats what we want.

  22. LB says:

    That certainly is what we want Terry.

    I am the worst for taking notice of players from other clubs and I certainly didn’t notice Chambers but from the two games he has played in an Arsenal shirt he certainly does look a very smart buy.

  23. fatgingergooner says:


    Javi Martinez at Bayern Munich is the one who springs to mind.

  24. Talking of sticks and animals, I’m reminded of Brick Top:
    “Put him in a ring with another dog and he shits himself. poke him with a stick… you watch his bollocks grow” just saying 🙂


    True LB

    ime not good at noticing other teams players either. I didnt even know Suarez name till he bit someone. Always knew him as that geezer from a spaghetti western.

    Chambers stood out though. For such a young guy he had a maturity and presence about him that I liked.

    And ime not even gay.

  26. LB says:

    Javi Martinez

    Good call Slim.

  27. TERRY
    “And ime not even gay.”

    You may say that but we couldn’t possibly believe you 🙂

  28. Terry Mancini Hair Transplant says:

    69, you can believe what you like duckie hahaha

  29. Terrence
    Does that mean our arrangement to meet at a secluded pub somewhere in Bounds Green next year has been cancelled?

  30. Terry Mancini Hair Transplant says:

    Of course not 69, it will be my pleasure to buy you a drink
    I also reiterate my wish to commission your artistic skills for a nude portrait of myself surrounded by Angels. hahaha

  31. LB says:

    So Wenger drops a big hint in his press conference that Manu are in for Vermaelen without the slightest suggestion that we would like to keep him. So, 2 plus 2 says that he is on his way, add that to the fact that Djourou has finally completed his move to Hamburg.

    And what do we have?

    We have a manager who knows exactly who he is going to sign as a replacement.

  32. Done deal… I assume that would be Hells Angels.. beards and choppers as well?

  33. Terry Mancini Hair Transplant says:

    No 69. Just me in an aroused nude state surrounded by bemused looking angels.
    Remember, I will be sending it to the mother in law for her birthday, so don’t want her getting the wrong idea

  34. Eddie says:

    LB – now that you put it like that, ie we get a DM and receive no more thrashings, it’s a no brainer. Let’s have a DM or even two! Frankly, I never associated much of our success with Gilberto, but you may have a point there, let’s wait and see.

    As for the effect of BT’s advertising – you touched upon the moral philosophy of motivation – reward or punishment. Personally I believe people are intrinsically bad and should be punished (I’d bring capital punishment back tomorrow), but there are exceptions and all Arsenal related matter is intrinsically good and should only be rewarded.

    thanks for the post!!

  35. LB says:

    Thanks for the comment Eddie.

    You made me chuckle with you suggestion of:

    If a DM would stop the thrashings then why not have 2?

    Sometimes your logic if simply unbeatable. lol

  36. Eddie says:

    yes LB, it has to be said – I am very logical 🙂

    what?? Juve want Jack?? No, no, no

  37. fatgingergooner says:

    I’d prefer we didn’t deal with United when it comes to Verm, but no point leaving him in the reserves for a year and losing £10m-£15m, only to see him go there anyway next season.

    I’ve no doubt that Wenger already has someone lined up to replace him.

    I’m starting to worry a little about the DM/HM options. He won’t just buy anyone for the sake of it, so if the players he wants aren’t available, then I imagine he will just stick with Arteta and Flamini.

    Fingers crossed that the market starts to pick up again in the last week and he gets his man, but there is a definite possibility that it might not happen this window.

  38. Gööner In Exile says:

    Does Vermaelen strengthen ManUre? Is he better than Vidic who was there last term.

    And it’s very different to BSR….he was our best player, and whilst TV5 is club captain I don’t think he will be a huge loss.

    Question is who replaces him? Song wouldn’t actually be a bad one to get in, covered at CB on occasion and also can add the steel to centre midfield in necessary games, he would never have been first choice for me, but I can see how he would improve our squad in two positions. Although two serious questions hang over that one:

    1) is he looking to play week in week out?
    2) what if something comes of the corruption investigation into Cameroons last group game and especially Songs ridiculous sending off.

  39. Gööner In Exile says:

    As for Chanbers I couldn’t see Midfielder in him, slightly ungainly for that role in my opinion.

  40. Gööner In Exile says:

    By the way Chas I read Arsene’s comments on Chambers slightly differently I think it’s bad editing on the part of the reporter:

    Yes [I was surprised[ because he was educated as a centre defensive midfielder. Then he played in the under-19 with England, he played central defender, he played for Southampton right back. I saw him first time against us as a right back and I liked him. At the end of the season he didn’t play too much at Southampton. But I made my mind up to buy him after I saw him against us.

    I think from that he knew of him and his development before seeing against us, but when he watched him in the flesh he made his mind up to buy him.

  41. fatgingergooner says:

    Anyone think Daley Blind would be a good signing?

    Can play LB/CB/DM so would be ideal for us at the moment and Wenger loves versatility.

    Was excellent in the WC too.

  42. LB says:

    Daley Blind sounds good. Probably dreaming of Barcelona or Real.

    Djourou has just been sold and Vermaelen is on the brink of leaving and Agger is begging to leave Liverpool.


  43. fatgingergooner says:

    It would be better if he went to Barca, but he won’t get in there team, so I can understand why he would try and force a move to United.

    It was interesting that Wenger said ‘you will know very soon’ who the teams bidding for him are. That would suggest it’s nearly a done deal.

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    From a club point of view, I imagine Copenhagen, Standard Liege or Lille are ideal CL opponents. Bilbao would be ok travel-wise but they are by far the best team we could face. Besiktas aren’t bad either.

    Anyone got any preferences?

  45. fatgingergooner says:


    I think if Verm goes to United then it could be Agger to Barca, although I would take him for a couple of years. I would be a little worried as he’s 29 and had a few injuries recently. Not sure why Liverpool would replace him with Sakho unless they thought he was in decline. Loads of experience though and a decent defender.

    Nastasic and Curtis Davies are other PL options. Have any of these young Aston Villa defenders looked good?

    Inigo Martinez would still be my choice, but wouldn’t come cheap!

  46. chas says:


    To be fair chas, if they draw Asteras they will find it really hard to go through.

    My cousin Fat Stav plays for them up front. He once scored a brilliant goal despite an angry goat invading the pitch.

    Dangerous player

  48. Eddie says:

    is the playoffs draw today at 12?

  49. chas says:

    11 BST

  50. Morning all

    I’ve done a small post about the Champions League draw ………

    New Post ………………

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