By 90Min
October 13, 2019

Defensive solidity, consistency and versatility - ask any Gooner and they will tell you that those characteristics are synonymous with Calum Chambers.

Chambers has proven himself to be extremely useful to Emery in a number of different positions. Be it adding defensive stability as a centre back, attacking dynamism as a right-back or a sense of security as a defensive midfielder, Chambers has re-established himself as a key squad member at the Emirates Stadium. 

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However, Chambers suffered a slow start to life in London and subsequently saw two loan moves in his first five seasons with the Gunners at Middlesbrough and Fulham respectively. The three-cap England international is moving into his sixth season with the club and his gradual importance to Arsenal is only becoming more evident.

Chambers joined Arsenal from boyhood club Southampton on the 28 July 2014 for a fee rising to £16m including performance-based add-ons. In the same year, he was nominated for the prestigious Golden Boy Award, alongside other future stars like Raheem Sterling, Saul Ñiguez and Kingsley Coman.

Despite a strong year, making 23 appearances and keeping six clean sheets in his debut campaign with Arsenal, Chambers found himself omitted from the 2015 FA Cup final squad that thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 at Wembley, although this was largely down to the emergence of a young Hector Bellerín at right back and existing stalwart central defenders Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

A loan move followed, as Chambers joined fellow Premier League side Middlesbrough for the 2016/17 season. His quality could be spotted straight away, with former boss Steve Agnew describing the young defender as, "a top defender... with a high level of technical ability."

Chambers would only make 12 appearances for Arsenal on his return in the 2017/18 campaign, with another loan move following, this time to Premier League newbies Fulham, for the 2018/19 season. The starlet's time at Fulham saw him convert into a defensive midfielder with great success, being awarded Fulham's Player of the Season. 

Following his return to Arsenal, it would've been easy for the Gunners to offload the relatively forgotten Chambers in the transfer window without too much fan backlash despite his moderate personal success at Fulham. However, the 24-year-old worked tirelessly during pre-season to impress Emery and give himself the best possible chance of not only sticking around but earning a starting berth. 

Work-rate, passion, bribes, whatever Chambers offered Unai, it worked as he was gifted a starting spot in Arsenal's season opener against Newcastle. A 1-0 win, a clean sheet and a faultless performance followed, was it finally time to cement his place in this Arsenal side? No, Emery subsequently dropped Chambers for the next four games, in which Arsenal did not record a single clean sheet as Ainsley Maitland-Niles struggled like a fish out of water at right back.

In the dramatic 3-2 victory of Aston Villa last month, during which Chambers was brought on after Maitland-Niles was sent off, the defender produced a man-of-the-match performance was topped off with a goal to show Arsenal exactly what they had been missing in their back line. 

Two days later, Chambers showcased his offensive qualities again in the right back position as he played the full 90 minutes in the Carabao Cup, registering three assists as Arsenal thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0. 

Following his impressive start to the season, it is apparent that Chambers should be undroppable from the Arsenal starting XI. The return of Rob Holding and Hector Bellerín will enhance, rather than hinder the defender's form and Chambers is the perfect person to partner Holding in the heart of the backline as they share an excellent relationship on and off the pitch, with Bellerín and new signing Kieran Tierney deployed on either flank.

Emery currently favours a centre back pairing of Sokratis and David Luiz, and whilst that combination is oozing experience, both players are rash in the challenge and neither keep defensive shape particularly well. 

With the experience gained playing as a defensive midfielder at Fulham, it is evident that Chambers is also more than capable of filling in as either an alternative to Lucas Torreira or playing alongside him to provide extra defensive cover. Emery has opted to utilise the Uruguayan further forward, trying to gain possession higher up the pitch, often leaving Arsenal short at the back. However, with Chambers playing as a deep-lying midfielder, this could leave Arsenal less exposed when pressing from the front. 

After years of patience and hard work, Chamber is finally being rewarded with the starting spot that he deserves (for the time being), with an initially lukewarm Emery apparently slowly being convinced by the defender's many qualities.

The manager has not seen his Arsenal side lose when Chambers has played so far this season and the Spaniard has described his young charge as 'amazing' attitude.

Whether or not Emery sticks with Chambers for the long-term is unclear but one thing is for certain, Chambers has cemented himself as a firm fan-favourite at the Emirates Stadium, and the praise the Englishman is getting should continue to give him the focus and motivation to keep working hard with the trademark professionalism and patience that have defined his career so far.

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