Calm down. This isn’t me having a whinge about our own fans booing Xhaka and Mustafi, or about the atmosphere at the Emirates and how it could be improved, or about how our own fans choose to be negative when there is so much good about this young, Arsenal side…..it’s actually about a player who is quickly becoming our 12th man…Calum Chambers.
It’s fair to say Calum has had a slow start to his Arsenal career. Before the season he had only 30 Premier League starts for the club despite being with us for nearly 5 years, but more recently things have started to speed up a little bit, and after some solid performances this season fans are actually calling for him to be given a chance to show his worth. I actually agree and was calling for his inclusion pre-season as I felt that he earned his chance whilst on loan at Fulham last year. He was their player of the year in that HM position and given our current weaknesses, he at least deserves an opportunity to put his stamp on that position.
I like Calum. He always seems to give 100% effort, and as an Englishman supporting an English side, it’s always good to see an England international in the team. He has a likeable personality too, and best of all, he can actually play a bit! However, there is a question that is niggling away at me like a Jack Wilshere ankle injury….is Calum a victim of his own versatility?
So far in his career with us and on loan at Boro and Fulham he has been utilised at CB, RB, LB, RWB, RM, CM, HM. That’s 7 positions so far and at nearly 25 years of age I find it troubling that he’s yet to find his role in our squad. It seems typical of Calum that he’s been fantastic at full back in recent games just as Bellerin is returning. Is he as good as the Spaniard? No. He also did equally well at CB at Newcastle first game of the season, but again, Holding is due back to full fitness and seems to have the nod in front of him. Many fans also believe he should be given an opportunity at HM as Xhaka continues to struggle and because he was so effective in that role last season for Fulham, but again, my worry is that Calum will be ousted as Willock and Geundouzi seem to have the favour of the manager despite not being natural HM players. It seems that Chambers is quickly becoming a versatility player for Emery, which is all well and good, but for Calum’s career to really take off he’s going to need to shine in one position so that Emery feels he’s undroppable, and I’m not sure he’s at that level just yet.
He’s starting to remind me of Phil Neville, who Ferguson used in various positions to plug gaps, but it wasn’t until he moved to a smaller club in Everton (aged 28) that he finally found his place. When Phil left for Merseyside, SAF had this to say about him “This was not a decision we wanted to make, but every time I picked the team and Phil’s name was not on the teamsheet, it was very difficult for me.”
If Calum continues to put in these impressive performances whilst filling in for injured parties, i worry that we could be hearing the same sort of thing about him in the next few years and I’d hate to see him jump ship because he can’t hold down a position in the side.
Calum is a gifted footballer, and he’s an excellent player to have in and around the side, but I just worry that he’s going to become Emery’s 12th man and fail to fulfil his potential at Arsenal.
I hope I’m wrong, of course, but what do you think is Calum’s best position, and do you think he deserves to be a starter for Arsenal?