Calum Chambers started his 13th Premier League match as a Middlesbrough player and it’s evident that the 21-year-old has benefited from regular minutes in England’s top flight.
Despite conceding twice late on to relinquish their lead and ultimately lose at Old Trafford, Chambers was Boro’s best defender on an afternoon where they missed crucial opportunities to win the game and were made to rue their squandered chances.
With two tackles, five interceptions and six clearances, in addition to a blocked shot during the match, Manchester United were made to work hard for their goals and once they arrived, it was clear that the visitors ran out of steam, consequently inviting pressure on Victor Valdés in goal.
There were a few moments where previously Chambers would’ve dived in recklessly or advanced forward too much in an attempt to try and intercept a pass or tackle. Here though, he showed experience to remain on his feet for the most part and anticipate danger before it came, instead of making a rash decision after the threat arose.
He went forward on occasion too, and it was his lofted ball into the box which proved decisive just seconds before Grant Leadbitter broke the deadlock. Signalling for the ball on the right-hand side, his pass was perfect for Álvaro Negredo to knock down goalwards, into the path of Leadbitter who slammed his strike past David de Gea.
Their joy wouldn’t last long however, as quick-fire goals from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba rescued all three points for the hosts in an action-packed affair. He was unlucky not to get some sort of a touch to deflect Martial’s effort away from goal, having initially started marking the run of Zlatan Ibrahimovic but could do nothing to stop Pogba’s 86th minute winner.
It’s a case of returning to the drawing board for Chambers and his team-mates, having performed well against one of the Premier League’s best teams.
Unfortunate to lose, they’ll look to recover quickly when they entertain Leicester City at home on Monday afternoon.