After a bright start at Arsenal, Calum Chambers found game time hard to come by. A couple of years of treading water were followed by a successful loan spell at Middlesbrough and a new Arsenal contract; but he appears completely out of favour with Arsene Wenger.
This season, the young English defender has been restricted to appearances in the Carabao Cup and Europa League, following his return from injury. He also likely to play in the FA Cup once it starts again in January. Having won the FA Cup three times in the last four years, we expect Arsenal to do well in it again this year and hopefully Chambers will be a key member of the team Wenger will use for the FA Cup.
In both cups, Chambers has performed well. He’s been good on the ball, strong in the tackle and his reading of the game has improved.
Following Shkodran Mustafi’s injury, Chambers was the logical replacement. Like Mustafi, he has a great touch and the ability to play it out from the back. A like for like replacement, some would say. But, Wenger opted to go with the soon to retire Per Mertesacker, and we all know how that ended.
This led to rumours that Chambers would get his chance against West Ham. But no, Wenger went back to a 4-4-2, playing Monreal (a left back) at centre half. So, how far down the pecking order is Chambers? Does he have a future at Arsenal, and why did he sign a new contract.
Following his loan spell at Middlesbrough, where he played 24 Premier League games, Chambers was full of confidence, so when Arsenal offered a new deal, he was likely promised the game time to match his salary increase. The contract itself came out of the blue, as a move to Crystal Palace seemed to be on the cards, but Wenger seemed determined to keep him following the sale of Gabriel to Valencia.
Like Chambers’ contract offer, Gabriel’s move went through very quickly. He wasn’t one of those expected to be heading for the exit doors, and its possible Wenger hadn’t planned for it. If this was the case, it’s likely Chambers was simply kept as a backup option and the new contract was offered to ensure he held his sell on value in 12 months.
This would appear the most likely scenario, as Wenger has shown no faith in him this season. He hasn’t come close to a league start, and the fact Per Mertesacker was trusted ahead of him must be worrying. Even more worrying is the fact that Wenger changed his system rather than giving him an opportunity. If this Arsenal team was playing well, and the defence was performing, this would be understandable; but that’s far from the case.
Over the last 20 years, Wenger has been criticised for showing blind loyalty to under-performing players. What the mainstream media fail to acknowledge is the harsh treatment towards those he doesn’t fancy. Carlos Vela, Lucas Perez, Gabriel, Lukas Podolski, Andrey Arshavin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all been ignored by Wenger, and all have left. Sadly, it looks like Chambers could join a list of talented players that Arsene Wenger has failed to get the best out of.
A move for Chambers would be the best option for his career, and if Arsenal has any sense whatsoever, they’ll install a buy back clause in his contract. With the right manager, he can be top class. Sadly, Arsene Wenger is not the man to take him there.