The Monday after the weekend that was the NLD and I’ve still got the slightly bitter taste in my mouth from the fact we didn’t win. Of course, that could also be the taste of remaining toothpaste that I didn’t manage to extract from my mouth through proper rinsing, but I’m going to stick with my original though process and say it was the 1-1 draw on Saturday evening.
As usual after a big game, there have been a few players who have had their comments released on the site yesterday, such as Per and Gibbs. And as usual they don’t really say anything you wouldn’t expect to hear from slightly disappointed players. They know that Spuds team was bang average, we know it, the whole freakin’ world knows it. But there’s little we can do other than start to worry about the next encounter which is Galatasaray away on Wednesday night.
There was one player that appears to have been singled out yesterday from Arsène for some praise, in the shape of Calum Chambers, who picked up another booking for his exuberance. That was a minor blot on his copybook for the day (and the season as a whole actually) on Saturday, but by and large he had another impressive display and is showing both versatility and ability to be able to be a long success at The Arsenal, should he continue his current trajectory.
Arsène spoke of his engine and ability to keep going. At 19 and eager to impress you’d expect nothing less, but playing both centre half and full back is no mean feat, I have to say (having played both before in my time). As a full back you may not have as much defensive pressure on you to be the last line of…erm…defence…against opponents, but you are expected to operate as an auxiliary winger in today’s game. At the weekend Chambers certainly offered that option to The Ox on the overlap and it was also good to see him able to actually whip one or two balls into the box there too.
The danger with somebody who is as versatile as Chambers is that he becomes a Jack of all trades and a Master of none. Speaking ahead of the Galatasaray game Arsène has said that he was contemplating using Chambers as a defensive midfielder, but the fact we only have four first team defenders has forced his hand to player Chambers at right back. It’s great that there is somebody so capable of delivering top performances across many positions, but longer term it may do Chambers more harm than good. We need to find a home for him in the first team within the next two to three years I think. The good news is that at 19 he still has time on his side and we can continue to use him where there is a need. Well, we pretty much have to at this stage!
He seems quite grounded too I think. Very well spoken, doesn’t seem overwhelmed by the inevitable increase of attention he now gets, something that Le Boss had mentioned beforehand about Chambers when talking about his ability to handle pressure. This all adds up to the right measure of a successful footballer in the making and £16million is already looking like it might be a snip. He will (hopefully) drop the over eagerness in the tackle which will lead to a suspension any game now (he picked up his fourth booking of the season at the weekend), but thankfully – injury aside (and we all pray that doesn’t happen) – he’ll be available for Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge. Heck, we need all the best possible players available for that one.
It all still feels very ‘let’s let the dust settle’ today, so there’s not really much else going on. The Champions League tie isn’t for another couple of days and so the build up to that probably won’t start in earnest until tomorrow. So with that in mind, I’ll leave you to go about your Monday business, and check in with you tomorrow to see what’s up.