Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is in a race against time to be fully fit for the FA Cup final this weekend, where the Gunners will come up against Chelsea. Chamberlain has had a fantastic season for the club and although injuries have limited him at times this season, he’s beginning to look like a key member of this squad.
Chamberlain has seen his position in the squad change dramatically since Arsene Wenger introduced the 343 formation to Arsenal this season. That decision revitalised Chamberlain’s position on the pitch and allowed the Englishman to finally get that spell of games he needed to show us the talent he really has.
Ahead of the FA Cup final, one of the issues that the players will have is confidence. Chamberlain has no doubt struggled with his confidence to get into the starting eleven over the years, whilst all the players will probably be feeling on a low after failing to finish in the top four this season.
On the issue of confidence and team moral, Chamberlain said: “There will obviously be that feeling of wanting to finish higher up the league. There’s no doubting that and we can’t hide from it. We need to own up to that. But it’s a big trophy, one that we want to win and it will definitely boost morale going into next season.”
This is Arsenal’s penultimate game this season, the last thing to play for. If the Gunners do not win the match, they go home empty handed for the season. The players will therefore been key to beat the league champions and take home some silverware from the campaign. In addition to this, although a win will do nothing for their disastrous league form this season, it may make a difference for the next campaign.
Winning the FA Cup would leave the club still feeling major disappointment not to have made the top four, but silverware does always bringing that boosting effect. The top four of course isn’t a trophy in itself, but it’s an achievement that gives the players that little edge going into next season. It gives the impression, as a Champions League participant, that this is a club that is at the top of the game, and Arsenal are missing that feeling right now. Winning this weekend, would bring that feeling and strong team moral back to say that we are winners and that we are capable of challenging amongst the best.
Team moral is something that cost us dearly this season, especially going into the latter end of the campaign. We may have had a good final run of games, but the team’s mentality and attitude made us drop a lot of points over the February and March period. Let’s hope the Gunners are ready for tomorrow and up for what is going to be a very tough final test of the season.