When Fulham travel to the Emirates on New Year’s Day, the Whites will be without Arsenal loanee Calum Chambers as he faces off against his parent club.
The enforced absence of Fulham’s standout central midfielder is a hammer blow for Claudio Ranieri’s men, leaving the defensive midfield position glaringly sparse.
Chambers began the campaign at Fulham terribly, playing centre-half and failing to show anything resembling top-flight quality. When stationed at right back against Cardiff in October, Chambers produced an abysmal display and lost his place in the squad.
Yet a surprising reprieve arrived in Slavisa Jokanovic’s final match in charge, where the loanee returned to the starting lineup and was utilised as a central defensive midfielder.
The decision proved to be a masterstroke from the Serb, as Chambers has been excellent ever since in midfield. Taking cues from coach Scott Parker, the Arsenal loanee is a vital cog in front of the defence, with an ability to read the game and cut out opposition attacks at will.
The combative presence of Chambers will be sorely missed against the Gunners, as Fulham’s centre-midfield options are worryingly thin.
Kevin McDonald may be forced to start in the anticipated injury absence of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, a scary thought for Fulham supporters who believe the Scot is far too slow for the pace of the Premier League.
Arsenal may be ruing their decision to loan out Calum Chambers this campaign, but nonetheless will be delighted their player will not feature for Fulham on Tuesday afternoon.