Calum Chambers partnered Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the Arsenal defence during Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Everton, and while the pair couldn’t help to keep a clean sheet, the initial signs of Chambers playing centrally were positive and signal a long, fruitful future in the middle of the pitch, rather than on the right, where he was originally supposed to feature.
It wasn’t the most high tempo performance from Everton, and Arsenal held on to the ball for the high majority of the game, so while Chambers’ full capabilities were not tested, he looked comfortable and when confronted with a difficult situation was able to handle it effectively enough.
Chambers is a right back by trade, meaning he enjoys having the license to run forward and attack with the ball at his feet, which he did on a number of occasions, while Koscielny, who is used to Per Mertesacker sitting back and protecting the back line of defence also enjoys stepping out of the defence, which should really mean that the similarities of the two make life difficult for Arsenal to maintain discipline, but all worries of this were quashed by the two.
As Koscielny stepped forward, Chambers would martial his defensive line, showing his maturity, despite being only 20-years-old, and the more experienced Koscielny the same; both showing their full array of talents in every defensive term. Per Mertesacker is a giant of a man and is good in the air, but his slow figure means that he is rarely able to get himself off the ground, often mistiming and losing out on headers, whereas six foot Chambers, who is quick and agile, was able to handle the aerial threat of Arouna Kone and laterly that of Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku.
While still young and unlikely to budge his way in to the first XI next season, Chambers’ performance will have encouraged Arsene Wenger not only in terms of the way he defended and played, but his leadership qualities and likely longevity in the game. Age is no factor when it comes to the boss’ decision making though, with Hector Bellerin featuring heavily last season in the side despite being the tender age of 19 (now 20). An impressive defender is an impressive performer and that is all the Frenchman will care about.
Koscielny is by far Arsenal’s best and most useful defender; quick, tactful, hard in the tackle and a fantastic reader of the game, all attributes that Chambers also exhibits, but while 29-year-old Koscielny begins to age and is a more reserved, quiet defender, Chambers is loud, commanding and has time on his side to develop all the aspects of his game which need improving, and playing alongside the French defender will only aid the 20-year-old’s development.
Lest we forget, a certain Gabriel Paulista was purchased by Arsene Wenger in January, becoming the most expensive defender in the club’s history, and the Brazilian has shown in his limited game time that he is more than capable of handling the hard-hitting, tough test that is Premier League football. The former Villarreal defender is only 24-years-old, meaning he also his plenty of time on his side to develop, and while both Mertesacker and Koscielny begin to age and enter the latter stages of their peak, signs are showing that a possible Gabriel-Chambers defensive partnership could be on the cards, but certainly not for years to come.
Calum Chambers is already showing fantastic qualities of a possible future club captain, and the youngster will take inspiration from the fact that club legend Tony Adams was made skipper at 21-years-old, while having the likes of Petr Cech, Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker to learn his trade from and ensure he keeps a level head, all signs point to a long, successful career for the England international.