Chambers: Injury fell at a bad time for me

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Calum Chambers has backed himself to get back in Mikel Arteta’s starting lineup but he admits his ruptured ACL came at a bad time.

The 25-year-old had played as a centre-back in 14 of the Gunners’ 20 Premier League games last season when he suffered the injury in Mikel Arteta’s second match in charge against Chelsea.

It had been his best run in the Arsenal first team since 2014/15 when he predominantly played right-back.

The defender subsequently underwent surgery in January and spent 10 months on the sidelines before making his return in last week’s Europa League win over Rapid Vienna.

That Chambers had to undertake a portion of his rehab at home due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions has added to a testing year but he’s optimistic about the future.

“It’s been an experience and a hell of a journey,” he reflected ahead of Thursday’s game with Dundalk. 

“Obviously, a lot has happened during this time, at the football club and in the world I guess. And going through this kind of rehab.

“I spent two and a half months at home, with the lockdown. That in itself was an experience, going through an important phase of my rehab at that time, my strength phase and doing all that from home and being on FaceTime with the physios every other day. So it’s been a journey, one I’ve learnt from and come out stronger from for sure.”

He added: “It’s never a good time to get this injury but unfortunately it fell at a bad time for me. I was playing week in week out in the team in a position that I’ve wanted to play for a long time now, so it fell at a bad time. But now it’s about getting my fitness back, getting my match sharpness back and being patient with the process.

“I know it takes a long time with an injury like this to get back where you were. But I need to keep my head down, keep working hard, wait for my opportunity and every opportunity I get, just give it everything I can.”

Since Chambers’ injury, the Gunners have signed three further centre-backs – William Saliba, Pablo Mari and Gabriel – and regularly fielded Kieran Tierney as part of a three-man backline. With Rob Holding, David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi offering further competition, he may have to bide his time for a chance in the Premier League.

On whether he’s discussed his future with the boss, he said: “We’ve had a few conversations. Obviously, wherever he sees my strongest position I will play and give it 100 per cent.

“I like centre back and if I get to play there then great. If the boss wants me to play at full back I will play there as well. So wherever the team needs me I will give 100 per cent in every game.

“As I said there’s never a good time for an injury like this, but the timing was bad. We all love the philosophy and the way he coaches and the way he wants to play. He wants ball-playing centre halves and that’s what I see myself as.

“So I like to think I fit into his plans. As I said before, it’s a case of me being patient and getting back to the level I was at before. And every opportunity I get given, just give it 100 per cent and do the best I can.”

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Jules

sooner or later we’re going to need to find a solid partner for Gabi in the middle, honestly couldn’t care less who it is as long as they’re excellent. would be really pleased for chambo if he can step up after all he’s been through and become an arsenal legend. I think he’s got the potential, it’s all about what he does with it. good luck to him

Daveo

Yeah I get the feeling he has a higher upside than holding. Rob is solid, but I think he seems close to his max. Chambers has A little more technical ability and that little extra mongrel too. Not writing off Rob at all and I think he’s a solid option for the squad.

Far East Stand

Holding’s main issue is his pace, or lack of it. You can’t fault him for passion or hard work though. If those were the only two attributes to count he’d be one of the best on the team.

Nzini

Is Chambers faster than him?

Far East Stand

Pass. Haven’t seen Chambers in action for a while but don’t remember him either being quite as slow or lightning fast. I don’t think long term either are likely to be our answer for a Gabriel partner though. Pinning my hopes on Saliba, somewhat blindly.

karl

Holding is fine if he is with a faster partner or in a 3, but his distribution is sometimes shaky in the style Arteta wants to play. Mind you, he is not alone there for now.

Far East Stand

I really like Holding. He’s got the right attitude and you can tell he’s always giving his best. For now I don’t think he’s a bad choice at all but long term I don’t think he’s going to work out as the optimum Gabriel partner. Quite happy to be proved wrong but can’t see past his limitations at the moment. The biggest one being his lack of pace, which is incredibly difficult to improve upon.

He basically needs to have flawless positioning to counteract the lack of pace.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Mustafi’s main issue is errors. You can’t fault him for passion or hard work though.

Far East Stand

Haha! He’s never more hard working than when looking for someone else to blame after one of his moments! 😉

karl

I always liked Chambers, but I have never seen evidence that he could be that central defender to take us forward. He is relatively short for the middle, but not quick enough as a fullback.

Andy

It’s his chronic lack of pace that worries me. If he were a Baresi ar an Adams then leadership and awareness can compensate, but he’s not in that league.

C.B.

Given the picture above is from a training session, the intensity that Tierney is showing is great.

Cranky Colin

Great observation C.B.
I’d trust Tierney with my life.

Welcome back Calum…….. it’ll take time to get fully match fit, but I’m backing you mate.

Heavenly Chapecoense

I will not even trust any Arsenal player with my enemy’s life.

Russ

I’ve always liked chambers. Be great to have him back firing on cylinders and cementing his place in the team

Hank Scorpio

By season’s end we’ll be minus Sokratis, Luiz and Mustafi. If he can stay fit he’s as good a choice as any of our existing players to partner Gabriel. After all the disruption of injuries and loans it would be great to see him stake a claim for a regular place in the team

ozymandias

I’d replace Sokratis with a PS5 boxed with FIFA and two controllers.
I’d replace Mustafi with Chambers
I replace Holding with Saliba
I’d replace Luiz with a starting partner for Gabriel.

So basically my options for next season would be

Gabriel New Guy
(Mari) (Saliba)
(Chambers)

Nate

Do you really think we can get a PS5 for Sokratis? If so, we need to be asking serious questions of the board as to why he is still at the club.

Leon

Arsenal spend £27 million on talented youngster Saliba and it looks like he will probably never play a game for Arsenal – well not under Arteta who prefers unreliable, ageing Brazilian defenders.
Gabriel is the only decent centre back we have and I have the feeling if not for him we would have lost more than the six games we have already lost – Arsenal under Arteta are really that bad.
Arsenal are right down there with Fulham and WBA.
I don’t see any hope of them improving under Arteta who seems unable to learn.

Jimbo1

Memories are very short. The guy only won the FA cup a few months ago. He is learning on the job and will come through in the end…if fans give him time. The team still lack a creative presence in midfield, and will need a few widows to get the right balance, but no manager in the world could turn this squad into title winners.

Jimbo1

‘windows’

G Bird

Can’t understand the negativity towards Holding, he looks a good, solid defender to me. Especially when you consider the standard of the midfield in front of him.

Futsboller

And we are capable of playing very well defensively as a team — that will be a standard we maintain when we’re back to our best.

I think with Chambers, Holding, Mari, Gabriel, and Saliba, we’ve got an outstanding core of central defenders to at different stages of their careers to take us forward. If Arteta can keep them all, and keep them happy and committed, we’ll be a force.