Monday, August 15, 2022

Arsenal Man’s Shot At Resurrection: Why Middlesbrough Are The Right Club For Him

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Arsenal loaned out Calum Chambers to Middlesbrough at the end of the transfer window as they secured the signing of Shkodran Mustafi. Chambers, who was bought for a fee of £16m on 2014 from Southampton, impressed with his performances in the Emirates Cup playing as a centre back. Chambers played at Southampton in the right fullback position but Wenger identified him as more of a central defender than a fullback. Chambers fared well as a central defender where he showed some very good qualities but actually suffered when he had to play as a right back for Arsenal against Swansea in 2014/15 season.

Jefferson Montero bamboozled him continually turning him inside out on numerous occasions when the Gunners faced Swansea away and that proved to be significant as the winger provided the cross for Bafetimbi Gomis to head home for a winner from the right hand flank, exposing Chambers and shattering his confidence. That game proved to be the turning point for the defender as from then on he seemed to lack confidence whenever he stepped on to the field for Arsenal.

Last season, with his primary defensive duo being injured Chambers was asked to fill in as a centre back against Liverpool and the outing turned out to be an absolute nightmare for the 21-year-old as he made a host of individual errors giving the ball away cheaply at the back, failing to provide any sort of cover against the attacking threat of Liverpool.

Petr Cech had to produce some world class saves on that day to save the blushes of the young defender. With yet another display full of errors the fans began to question the quality of the player and it seemed that Chambers is a costly mistake of the manager for £16m. Arsène Wenger, as he always does, stood by the player when it was needed maintaining his stance and belief that the Englishman would become a top centre back in the future but we need to give him some time so that he can regain his confidence.

Chambers played against Liverpool in what was Arsenal’s opening fixture of this season and although the Gunners conceded 4 goals that day, the defender had a far better outing compared to last time. Wenger understood that with the arrival of Mustafi and young Rob Holding who impressed with his displays more than Chambers, it was time for the 21-year-old to go out on loan to a club where he would not only be able to play regularly but also can learn the art of defending more thoroughly. In what was a match made in heaven, Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough came calling and Wenger didn’t even have to think twice.

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur (R) is put under pressure from Calum Chambers of Middlesbrough (L) during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur at the Riverside Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Karanka is a manager who has been hailed for the quality of his defensive work and the attention to detail he imparts during his training sessions. Having been a centre back himself, the manager knows a thing or two about developing defenders and he has recently declared that he was very happy to not only been allowed to sign Chambers on loan as per his team’s requirements but also to learn that Arsenal identified training with the Middlesbrough boss was the best way for the young defender to improve his game.

The Spanish manager has promised to improve Chambers as he said, “I brought him here to help him because at the end of the season, the main thing is that we can stay in the Premier League and Calum can go back to Arsenal as a better player. I think when you are his age you need to play to keep learning. I spoke with him and he understood the best thing for his career was to come here, and to keep growing. For that reason I was really pleased. I knew he had a lot of offers. For sure, he will be a really good player for us. He is in the England U-21 Squad. He has a lot of good things already. He has to keep going and keep improving, but I believe he will go on to play for the senior team. Calum came here because Arsenal understood it is a good step for him. For us and for me it is a pleasure. I am really proud Arsenal as a club and Arsene, as a manager, sent him to us. I have to say thanks.”

From the manager’s comments it is clear that Chambers will be getting all the help he needs at Boro and if things go according to plan the move to the Riverside Stadium will turn out to be one of the best decisions ever taken in the career of the defender which will not only benefit him but also Arsenal in the future.

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