With the weight of the world on the team’s shoulders, Arsenal managed to grab an emphatic 2-1 win over Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup. As expected, the Gunners boss Arsene Wenger stuck with new back-three system and the move once again paid dividends as the Arsenal players dug deep and produced a victory, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain once again producing a man of the match performance in his new wing-back role.
While there were some splendid performances in an Arsenal shirt all over the pitch, the Englishman once again stood out. In fact, it was his dynamic running early in the second half that kickstarted Arsenal’s revival and sure enough, his inch-perfect cross picked out Nacho Monreal at the far post which led to the Gunners’ equaliser. Despite not being the most natural defender, his tireless work-rate supplements the wing-back role and he has the pace to recover as well.
When I look at how well the 24-year-old has adapted to the role of a wing-back, it is easy to draw a comparison with Victor Moses of Chelsea. Prior to Antonio Conte’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, the Nigerian was always on the fringes of the team since his move to West London and even had to go out on loan as previous managers deemed him surplus to requirements. But once Conte shifted to the back-three system, Moses became first-choice at right wing-back and has made the position his own with some flawless performances.
Likewise, I believe Arsene Wenger shifting to the same system has rejuvenated the Ox and should he maintain fitness and consistency, there is no reason why the the former Southampton youngster cannot have the same impact at the Emirates. While it is still early days considering that he has played just two games in the new system, there is no doubt that the player has everything it takes to succeed in that role and finally become a mainstay in this Arsenal team.