Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found himself in and out of the Arsenal first team during the course of the last season for one reason or another, because if he isn’t on the treatment table, the youngster’s inconsistency to perform is holding him back from really progressing at Arsenal.
After an impressive game for the Ox in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Lens, in which Oxlade Chamberlain scored the equaliser with a very tidy chip, fans will be wondering if the Englishman will be able to keep it up going into the new campaign.
Speaking after the match, Wenger was full of praise for the young talent but was keen to stress that he is still a little cautious about the Ox. Wenger told Arsenal.com: “I’m still a bit cautious. He’s fully recovered but I want him to go through four or five games first to be completely reassured. You could see that straight away, when he came on, he brought something to the team. Let’s hope he gets through the rest of pre-season.”
You can tell by Wenger’s comments that one of the biggest concerns when it comes to the Ox is injuries. Chamberlain has been unlucky with injuries at Arsenal (isn’t everyone), but it has really affected his progression at the club. Chamberlain can be inconsistent and really does need to step up his game with grabbing goals and assists if he is to stay at Arsenal, but injuries have certainly played their part in not allowing Chamberlain to get a good run of games in the team.
There are still high hopes for Chamberlain, despite rumours earlier in the summer that he could be considered for a loan move away. However if he can stay injury free and get a good run of form behind him, I think Chamberlain can still develop into a star after a consistent season. Chamberlain has a big point to prove this year and it starts here in pre-season. Competition has never been harder for places in midfield and if the Englishman doesn’t impress sooner rather than later, than he could soon find himself being considered for the exit door at the Emirates.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here because even though the Ox looked impressive yesterday, he needs to show what he’s capable of on a consistent basis. This showcase was just 45 minutes and we need that kind of performance from the Ox week in week out if he wants to be a first team regular. Let’s not forget that he scored the only goal of the game against Chelsea in the Community Shield last year and look how his season went after that!