Ahead of this Sunday’s Premier League clash between Arsenal and Southampton, the fixture means a lot to one Gunners man in particular.
Having come through the venerable Saints youth academy, Calum Chambers’ former and current employers are set to clash at the St Mary’s Stadium.
The 22-year-old has spoken in an interview with the Arsenal official website over the favourable memories has has from his time at Southampton – however, the versatile defender is extremely unlikely to even make the match-day squad this weekend.
After a big-money move to the Emirates Stadium, Chambers was expected to be a player to take the team into a new era and instil a youthfulness in a Gunners rearguard starting to show the ill-effects of age.
However, despite the fact that Arsene Wenger has opted to switch to a back three this season and the occurrence of injuries to senior defensive players, the England international is yet to feature in the Premier League for the North London side in 2017-18.
The fact that Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin and Nacho Monreal have all been used out of position at centre-half at times this term flies in the face of Chambers’ potential – with Wenger clearly not ready to full trust the former Southampton defender or fellow youthful Englishman Rob Holding.
Chambers has been restricted to appearances in the Europa League and EFL Cup so far in 2017-18 and the likelihood of him breaking into the first-choice Arsenal side look decidedly slim.
The Stevenage-born enforcer spent last season out on loan at Middlesbrough but a similar deal at another Premier League club has not been forthcoming this time round.
Although having players of ability to add strength in depth to the Arsenal squad is a good thing, it is fair to say that Chambers is considerably adrift of where the club thought he would be at this point when they signed him in 2014.
Capable of playing in a number of different positions, the 22-year-old is best used as a centre-half.
With Monreal’s legs starting to fail him and question marks over the future of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny after this season, it is clear that Arsenal will need new central defenders to bolster the side.
The fact that Chambers is not getting more regular first-team football suggests that Wenger does not see him as a player capable of filling the void once more-established players depart.
As such, although the defender will feel nostalgia upon Arsenal’s clash with Southampton this weekend, neither the player or the Gunners can surely be content with his current state of affairs.