After an encouraging but unspectacular debut performance against Tottenham last time out for Chambers, it was more of the same against West Ham – although he showcased his defensive capabilities on a number of occasions to keep the hosts at bay.
He made a number of clearances (5) and successful tackles (3) during the match itself, where he came away unscathed and managed to outperform his centre-back partner, Ben Gibson.
Gibson made plenty of passes, both over short and longer distances, but wasn’t as heavily involved defensively in comparison to his teammate on the right.
As shown by the player dashboard below, Chambers was kept busy by the West Ham attackers. In particular, Dimitri Payet continued to frustrate the Boro backline throughout but Chambers himself will be disappointed, upon reflection, that he was unable to apply an effective press along with teammates or by himself.
It was an excellent individual goal from Payet, having turned past the Boro defenders too easily. Similar to the way Son Heung-Min netted a brace against them last weekend, Payet was able to create enough space whilst weaving his way past challenges as no defender was prepared to delay or dispossess him when he drove forward quickly.
Chambers will be hoping that in future, things like the aforementioned attacking breakaway, doesn’t occur again. It’s easy to have specific strategies but harder to implement: the players with flair are more likely to try dribbling runs in-and-around the area.
This year is ultimately a learning curve for Chambers, one where he’d been effectively pushed down the pecking order and needed regular minutes to showcase his ability. There’s no question about that, but a case of whether he’ll be played in more than a handful of matches. Performances such as these are encouraging but also set a good barometer of quality within the squad.
Aitor Karanka hasn’t yet found his strongest side with Premier League suitability, so it’s crucial that Chambers takes his opportunity with both hands and retains his place in the starting line-up on a weekly basis.