Chamberlain shouldn’t be judged on his performance against Hull City by SE
Ozil was out injured, and will be out for a long time. Walcott isn’t fit enough to return to first team action just yet. Subsequently, there was no doubt that Alex Oxlade Chamberlain would find himself in Arsenal’s starting XI against Hull City, as the Englishman would have wanted to harness the game time he gets and rubberstamp a place for him in the Gunners’ first-choice XI, while the big names are out. However, very un-Chamberlain like, during a season which has already been a good one for him, he mustered a below-average performance, and failed to do himself and Arsenal any good. Looking ahead, though, inferences shouldn’t be drawn on the Englishman’s performance against Hull City.
Sometimes, as a fringe player (Chamberlain has started only 4 of the 8 games in the Premier League), it’s easy to dish out top-drawer performances when you are asked to do a cameo role for the team, and very least is expected of you. And, in many ways, Chamberlain had a very ordinary game against the Tigers, at a time when he was expected to perform and produce his very best for Arsenal whose squad is chock-a-block with long term injury absentees. With no disrespect to Chamberlain, he has been in and out of the Arsenal side and, when the big names are fit and ready to play, it’s very tough for the 21-year old to get starting berths in what is a decent Arsenal squad, embellished by names like Ozil, Walcott, Sanchez and Ramsey. So, maybe, the Englishman was trying harder than necessary to impress and prove a point, which could well have been his undoing.
On Saturday, albeit he had a spring in his step, as always, Chamberlain lacked a bit of composure and failed to raise his game when Arsenal as a team were feeling the pinch, and badly wanted someone to come up with the conjuring act. From a statistical point of view, Chamberlain managed to complete only 72% of his passes on the evening, and none of his 4 attempts on goal were hitting the target — which demonstrates the kind of game Chamberlain had against Hull City.
Chamberlain, introspectively, would have known that he had a poor game, and when you’re looking to earn a permanent spot in Arsene Wenger’s first-choice XI, you wouldn’t help yourself with such performances. However, from Arsenal and Wenger’s point-of-view, it would be harsh to judge Chamberlain on the basis of his performance on Saturday, alone. Instead, the Englishman should be given more opportunities to prove his quality as an Arsenal first teamer.