Time Running Out For Luke Chambers As Error Forces Paul Lambert To Reconsider His…
Ipswich Town were made to settle for a point against Sunderland after an error from Luke Chambers. The Blues had led through Luke Garbutt‘s first-half strike; however, the Blues’ skipper’s mistake midway through the second half cost the Tractor Boys.
Luke Chambers: Is Time Running Out For The Skipper?
Selection Dilemma For Blues
Blues boss Paul Lambert will have left Portman Road on Saturday regretting his decision to swap James Wilson with Luke Chambers.
The Scotsman made just one change from the side that beat Burton Albion last weekend. Having kept a clean-sheet seven days prior, Wilson found his spot in the starting eleven taken away as Luke Chambers made returned to the squad immediately after serving a suspension.
However, Chambers was ultimately at fault for Sunderland’s equalising goal.
The 33-year-old defender decided to try and marshall the ball out of play when under pressure from Marc McNulty. Held up briefly in the wind, Chambers should have chosen to blast the ball into row Z; however, instead, he was fought off the ball by McNulty who held his composure to slide the ball across to Lyden Gooch to blast beyond Tomáš Holý.
Whether Chambers should return to the squad immediately was a debate Lambert said he was going through before Sunderland’s visit.
The Town boss insisted that certain players have no given right to feature; equally, Lambert said that competition in numbers was vital to getting the best from his squad.
However, after producing an error labelled as “terrible” by his boss, could Chambers’ time at Portman Road be coming to a gradual end?
An Ever-Present Figure
Chambers first took the captain’s armband during the 2014-15 season and ever since he has been an ever-present in the Town squad.
Last season, a campaign of disappointment and, ultimately, relegation, the 33-year-old played more minutes than any other player. Featuring across 3,859 minutes in the Championship, Chambers was the one who man seemed to feature in almost every game despite the turmoil and poor form surrounding Town.
Aside from any injuries or suspensions, Chambers rarely missed a game – last term he was not selected in only three of Town’s Championship fixtures.
His passion for the club is clear. He’s the first to run over and applaud the supporters, the first to admit the team have not been good enough and the first to support his team-mates and manager (as proven by the fracas midway through the 3-0 defeat to Norwich City, where Lambert was sent-off and Chambers was quickly on the scene).
However, over the past season or so, Chambers has been criticised for complacency, fitness and reliability. So, who could Lambert call upon if he opted to change from the normal and drop Chambers?
Making his debut for Town at Burton last weekend, Wilson looked comfortable and composed in central defence.
Partnered by Luke Woolfenden, Wilson displayed a wide passing ability. On one occasion he lost out to Liam Boyce; however, his central defence partner lapped up the loose ball.
In his last full appearance for Town, Nsiala provided an encouraging showing. After a slow start to life at Portman Road, Nsiala ended the season against Leeds United by winning aerial balls and defending well on the ground.
In addition, he stood firm with a number of towering headers and maintained his composure – something Chambers is all too often a victim of losing.
Donacien could soon be gifted a chance in his natural central defensive position. Town have recently been linked in a move to sign right-sided defender Kane Vincent-Young from Colchester United. As a result, Donacien would no longer be required to plug the gap at right-back. Instead, he could be used more efficiently by Paul Lambert.
The defender was praised for his quick thinking to dispossess Marc McNulty early on; it was the full-back’s long throw-in that also led to Garbutt’s goal. Although, the 25-year-old did not seem too comfortable when breaking into the final third and could feel more at home in central defence.