Should Wenger use Chambers as his defensive midfielder? by SE
Calum Chambers’ Footballing career has progressed at such a rate that – in a matter of 12 months from making his Premier League debut for Southampton – the 19-year old Englishman deservedly made his international debut for England last week. Chambers’s versatility, to play as a defender and as a defensive midfielder, was one of the reasons why Wenger had to splash out 16 million pounds to bring him to the Emirates and, already in his short Arsenal career, the Hampshire born teenager has shown that he is worth the hefty fee.
Chambers’ defensive attributes
A couple of things are clear, while watching Chambers play at the heart of Arsenal’s defence: he reads the game reasonably well, which is palpable from his performances against good forwards like Jovetic and Ba; secondly, despite his hastiness to jump into tackles, he has the pace to recover from a poor decision in the first place.
The lack of a prominent defensive midfielder who can shield the back four, as well as be a very good ball distributor, has raged on at the Emirates for quite some time now. But, can Chambers be groomed into a genuine No.4, having proved his mettle as a defender?
To play as a midfielder, be it as No.6, No.8 or, even in the hole, you would need a wide range of passing to complement your attack minded midfielders and forwards. When it comes to Chambers, though, there was a moment in the second half against Leicester when he brushed off a couple of challenges and brought the ball out of defence, efficiently. It was good to see him lead from the front in that fashion. It was also an indicator of how comfortable he is, with the ball at his feet, which can only be a positive to anybody’s game. Chambers is not devoid of pace, either, like Arteta and Flamini – who get exposed when a pacey forward or winger runs at them with vigor.
Using Chambers as Arsenal’s No.4 depends on what Wenger wishes, as well, from his player. Does he want him to be a good passer; or, is he content with a good ball player who can shield the back four efficiently? Chambers, in my opinion, can do a good job, from a defensive point of view, albeit it remains to be seen whether he can be a good passer to complement the likes of Ramsey, Ozil and Sanchez.
If Wenger is audacious enough to groom Chambers into a defensive midfielder, he can very well look into it. Chambers has the defensive attributes to sit in front of the back four and be a destroyer of attacks and counterattacks. However, we are yet to see him as a good passer, and it might not be enough to just do a defensive job, albeit playing as a defensive midfielder, and not have decent passing skills to go with it.