Chambers on playing in midfield & killing the opposition press

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Calum Chambers says he could ‘grow to enjoy’ playing in the centre of the park after Unai Emery asked him to anchor Arsenal’s midfield in the second half of their 8-0 friendly win over Boreham Wood. 

The Gunners, courtesy of a hat-trick by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and strikes from Reiss Nelson and Alex Lacazette, already had a five-goal advantage when the Spaniard opted to make eleven changes at half time.

Chambers sat behind Aaron Ramsey, the Jeff and Henrikh Mkhitaryan with the latter two finding the net, alongside Eddie Nketiah, to complete the rout.

After the game, the England international was asked about his new position.

“The manager spoke to me about the position,” he told Arsenal.com.

“It’s a new one for me. I played there a little bit growing up. It’s a position I feel like I can grow to enjoy and out there today I felt good, I just need to train and practice in games in that position to get comfortable.

“It’s an important position,” he added. “If you can get on the ball, turn and break their lines then it kills their press, so I think it’s an important position and anyone who’s playing in there needs to learn how to do that.

“Obviously you can’t do it all the time, you can’t take risks and when it’s not on you can bounce it backwards at an angle for someone else to play through the lines.

“But if you can get on it and you have time and it’s not a risk, turn and play forward and that’s the best way to get through a press.”

We’re not going to read too much into Chambers playing in midfield. It looks as though the decision was taken to give game time to as many players as possible and with so many centre-backs fit and available, he was deemed the most versatile to play elsewhere.

Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, who came on for his debut, are far more likely to challenge Granit Xhaka for the position when the season starts.

On the game itself, Chambers added: “It’s our first game of the season and first friendly so it’s always going to be tough and conditions didn’t help either, but it was a good test for us and a good run out.

“It’s important we put into practice what we’ve been learning on the training field and I think we did that today.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the eleven players that started the game boarded the team bus soon after being substituted so they could get back to London Colney in time for an evening training session. It certainly appears as though the boys are being put through their paces.

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Gabe
Gabe

From match venue back to training ground immediately!!! Love it, “no dulling” at all. Arsenal to win the Premier league 🙂

yen
yen

Read it was a cool down session, not like they had to run like mad for another two hours.

Evang. Simon
Evang. Simon

Bring back our players rating

GFSammy
GFSammy

The Poo-o-meter suffered it’s worst performance this transfer window…

Is it going to suffer under this new arsenal regime where we basically know who we’re signing? Ah well!

aberinkula

I remember when we signed him, Wenger saying how CDM was a position he could potentially grow into. Interesting, and if this is in Emery’s thinking, then a/ I wonder if that speaks to notes compiled on him over time, ie inherited thinking, and b/ there’s a lot of competition with Xhaka, Torreira, Maitland Niles and Chambers, for (what has been) just one position.

santori
santori

He’s better off trying to seal improvement in defense.

The new Greek chap is fat and slow. We will be torn apart by the likes of Sane, Sterling, Mahrez.

Bob Dobbery
Bob Dobbery

Don’t think Xhaka and maitland-niles will be deployed as the holding player tbh, outside of torreira who is really a “DM” of the rest? Xhaka is a playmaker and Ainsley seems more box to box

DBMÖ10
DBMÖ10

Won’t lie , got turned on reading all the technical stuff about the press and how to beat it. Looks like Emery is a very efficient conveyer of ideas if that’s what he did with his broken ( understandably so ) English.

John C
John C

That’s also the part i enjoyed.

It’s nice for once to hear an acknowledgement of the tactical challenges the opposition possess and our tangible response to them instead of the meaningless soundbites we’ve been fed over the years, like “believing in our technical quality”, “sticking to our values”, or the customary post match “we played with the hand break on”.

The truth is we played as we were coached, which gave scant regard to the opposition, and our results, especially against teams who could match our technical quality, reflected that.

Will our results be any better this season? who knows, but it’s refreshing to see our players talk about how we plan to over come opposition tactics

CorporateMan
CorporateMan

Where is Kristian Bielik? I nursed great hopes for that youngster when we signed him. Another one who could develop into a beast in the defensive midfield.

The Goo-nerd
The Goo-nerd

And Gedion Zelalem for that matter…

Public Elneny
Public Elneny

Keeps getting injured I’m afraid

santori
santori

Which is why its too early to be applauding Guendouzi.

The Jeff gave a better performance but fans only want shiny new things.

Greg in Seattle
Greg in Seattle

Yes, Boreham Wood. But…

Identifying key elements, missing more elements input setup to address the biggest trend in the modern game, the high press. Identifying the missing piece (Torreira) and getting him. Identifying internal options. Obviously spending time educating individual players on the necessary tactics re the press. I don’t know that Wenger didn’t do the tactical part, but we consistently complained that the team didn’t adjust and the players behaved like they didn’t have clear roles or tactical direction. I think those days are gone.

I’ve definitely felt that we have been performing below the talent level of our squad. Now I hold legitimate hope that we could outperform our talent level, which could be spectacular.

Also. An athletic, ball-playing CB seems like a perfect candidate for a CDM option if you need to find an internal secondary options. I don’t see G’douzi as a significant option this year given the transition from League 2.

Greg in Seattle
Greg in Seattle

Apologies for the mangled first sentence. Posted mid-edit. Sigh.

santori
santori

Chambers. Poor passing at DM. NO thanks.

Rhaatid
Rhaatid

Awareness of his surroundings, ball movement and passes were poor. Speed of thought is rather slow.

Richie
Richie

I’ve been saying for 2 years that Chambers should be playing and learning the defensive midfield role. He’s a good player, but lacks pace as a full back, and at centre back he also lacks aerial ability. But he reads the game well, and has good technique, so defensive mid is where he should be.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

The first thing this Arsenal team needs in a DM is pace. If he lacks pace at full back then he will lack it at DM too. I think as blogs said this was more to do with getting everyone a game rather than a long term plan to play him there. He’s potentially a really good centre half so let him play there & develop him.

Stevstar
Stevstar

Completely different positions, you cant suddenly become a DM, mertesacker didn’t have much pace but was a formidable CB

santori
santori

His passing was also mediocre.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Wenger mentioned that he could play there before and I think he might have done it once for us. Makes for good competition alongside the others.

santori
santori

Wenger’s too old to play there.;)

santori
santori

He wasn’t that great in midfield Chambers. BUT worth experimenting bc we still don’t know our fortunes there with the new Torreira coming in and maybe lack of depth beyond him and AMN.

Chambers though IMO : Better he stays in back 4.

Others auditioning :

Jenko – unconvincing. Plenty of drive byt lacks quality.

L Perez – rolled his shorts up ala new Alexis, got involved. Maybe a chance for him if we should not add any more from market and if Emery feels he can get something out of his fellow countryman yet.

Nketiah and Nelson – hard to choose between them. One should go on strong loan the other stay around the team. Ideally they should both rotate through half a season on loan and half with the team. Nelson in particular you feel may give us some added width and creativity on the ball if we should not add a more experienced player from market (which we should)

The Jeff and Goundeouzi- At times a bit slack on the ball but clearly has interesting qualities for midfield. Again another you feel may be 50-50 with Guendouzi as to who stays and who goes on loan (same solution to Nketiah/Nelson may apply).

Guendouzi got applause for coming on. I never get this with fans. why is the new thing always the shiny object people tend to put false hopes on. Not to say Guendouzi is not a good signing but he has still much to prove. Good frame on him if nothing too spectacular this game.

Holding and Mavropanos – Hard to discern since its Boreham Wood. Again you feel one will benefit from a strong loan particularly second half of season when we get our Koscielny preferably back in.

AMN – some nice movement by him. Really think we should have just entrusted him to cover Bellerin at Rback. BUT if we end up with him in midfield, what is the point of the more limited Elneny. Again he is there by de facto that he is content with warming the bench nothing more.

Rest of the youngsters – Out on string loans please

As for Sokratis – Mixed. I am not elated over his signing to say the least. I think we are doing things on the cheap as per usual and this time with predictable Dortmund bias. What concerns me is he looks hefty and heavy. Had this been Metersecker or GIroud there would be no end to the complains about him being as slow as mud. Which he looks to be against an average striker from Boreham Wood at best, leaving him in his wake twice.

Now with teams like City to face and players like Sane, Sterling, Mahrez, I expect this is a poor signing for us without the abiltiy and pace to react.

Hopefully as mentioned before, we have some organic development with one of Chambers, Holding or Mavropanos.

Otherwise Mustafi looked far more composed and able to cover with pace than the Greek.

Aubameyang – looks razor sharp. NO world cup may be a blessing in disguise for him and us.

Lacazette also looks more settled, if we can get the best out of their partnership with two up front (Auba dropping left or Laca to the right), we have a good mix to do some damage up top.

Kolasinac – needs to get better. Still early for him but he has to grab the opportunity now to seal the position ahead of Monreal.

Ramsey – OK. Should be pushed forward into central AM. Its his instincts there.

Mhkitaryan OK. Good finish, always composed but we could do with a player to transition quicker on the break out wide (unless we will entrust say young Nelson to be the ONLY option in this department with speed or have to again over commit Bellerin)

Bellerin – Big season for him. Hope he can kick on but he needs help out right or we will again be exposed behind him with the fat Greek unable to cover for pace.

Hard to judge keepers with Boreham Wood.

Da Boss
Da Boss

I gave this a thumbs down because it was too long to bother with and automatically assume you’d have said something I disagreed with.