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A Short Fuse Mystery: the case of the mistaken identity

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In which TSF issues a correction.

Epsom Races
Are you ready for a true Arsenal mystery?
Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

It was a normal day at The Short Fuse. People were writing articles, arguing about Francis Coquelin, and debating whether Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a horcrux that Arsene Wenger gave to Jürgen Klopp. Like I said, a normal day.

It came across the wire that Calum Chambers had signed an extension so we posted an article with a lead picture just like any other article. The image was identified by our image search service as being of Calum Chambers after the Community Shield. The original picture is below:

Chelsea v Arsenal - The FA Community Shield
Is this really Calum Chambers?
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

But something felt wrong. Unfortunately, the Arsenal news machine never stops: injury updates were rolling in, Jack Wilshere called Arsene Wenger, and a Saturday match away to Watford loomed on the horizon. So we went about our day. And then somebody in the TSF bullpen piped up, “I’m not sure that’s Calum Chambers.”

It was as if the whole world came crashing down around us. Did we make a mistake? How could we know who was who? How could we know what was even real?

We had to get to the bottom of things. We loaded into the TSF Mystery Machine and set out to solve the case. And in case you were curious, yes we do have a mystery-solving dog. His name is Gunnersaurus. And he’s not really a dog, in fact, nobody knows exactly what he is.

We took a closer look at the two players in the pictures, hopeful that we might be able to tell them apart. But Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are the same age. They both have boyish good looks. Their hair is about the same color. They favor similar “my hair looks perfectly styled but I woke up with it like this” hairstyles. They have the same pale skin tone often associated with a lack of sun exposure - remember, every day in England is a rainy Wednesday night away to Stoke.

The only difference: Chambers has sparkling blue eyes that melt away your fear and despair and reassure you that all is good in the world. You can’t help but smile when you look into Cal’s eyes.

Holding’s eyes, on the other hand, are a deep, dark brown in which you can completely lose yourself. Rob has the eyes of the brooding, thoughtful type, mysterious and aloof that makes you want to peel back the layers and find out who he truly is.

Unfortunately neither picture was detailed enough for us to get a conclusive look, so we had to explore further.

Our next clue was player height. Rob Holding is listed at 6’2. Calum Chambers is listed at 6’0. Fortunately for us, the player in the original picture is next to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, giving us a reference point. We found another picture purportedly of Calum Chambers with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left below). The original picture is on the right.

Notice the height difference between the Ox and the player in each photo. Clearly the distance between the two red lines is greater in the photo on the right. That suggests the player on the right, the player in the original photo, is actually Rob Holding. But it wasn’t enough for us. We had to go deeper.

Sidenote: the irony of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being used in a potential case of mistaken identity was not lost on us. Had we made an Andre Marriner-esque mistake?

But after hours and hours of investigating, we couldn’t come up with an answer. We thought we’d hit a wall. Nothing seemed to be making sense. The TSF posterboard had pictures all over it, strings connecting in every which direction, we felt as if the answer was tantalizingly close but just out of reach.

And then a voice cut through the dejected silence like an Arlo White call of an Olivier Giroud goal in a 0-0 Arsenal match, “Hey guys, wasn’t Chambers hurt for the Community Shield?”

It was as if the fog had been lifted. Calum Chambers WAS hurt for that match. We frantically searched for pictures from the Community Shield, hoping, praying to find that smoking gun. And we did.

As you can see, the guy circled on the left is in a jacket and tie. He also looks more like the guy in the picture on the left than the one on the right from our side-by-side comparison above.

Of course we could be dealing with some sort of Superman-to-Clark Kent kit-to-suit situation, but as far as we here at TSF know, there are no phone booths at Wembley. Yes, despite Tottenham’s best efforts to match the volume coming from and people occupying a phone booth with their home matches this season, we can safely rule out the Superman scenario.

And so after an investigation rivaled in its depth and breadth only by that of Loretta Lynch’s investigation into corruption at FIFA, our internal affairs team here at The Short Fuse can safely say:

The original picture WAS NOT of Calum Chambers. It was actually of Rob Holding.

We apologize for the mistake.

And hey, we didn’t make the worst Arsenal-connected mistaken identity gaffe this year (hello there Lukas Podolski as migrant gang member on a jetski).

P.S. We briefly entertained the possibility that Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are engaged in some sort of Parent Trap long-con in which they switch identities to reunite Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov and make them one big happy Arsenal family again, but we decided that nobody would be dumb enough to try to bring those two together.