The Arsenal and England international star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been speaking about two of his recently returned team mates and has been nothing but fulsome in his praise. But I am not sure that I would be singing the praises of Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil quite so much if I was him, because these two Gunners could well cost the Ox his starting place.
The 21-year old Chamberlain is clearly a team player and is delighted to see our German playmaker and England forward fit again and able to help the Arsenal cause. With the Gunners still going strong in three competitions (I am not quite ready to give up on the Premier League title yet), it is obviously important for Arsene Wenger to have as many of his best players available as possible.
Walcott and Ozil are two of the very best, as Chamberlain told Arsenal Player, and they are likely to have a big impact on how the rest of the season pans out for us. But if they are to have that effect, it is likely to be from the start rather than the bench once they are match fit, and that might not be such good news for the Ox and his own chances of playing.
He said, “For a large majority of the season we have been without Mesut, and Aaron for a spell and Theo as well. To have those kinds of players back is only good for us, and I’m sure they’ll come back and play a massive role in the rest of our season.
“It has been a bit of a strange up-and-down season. There have definitely been better starts but as you look at it at the moment, we are still there or thereabouts and there is still a lot of football to be played.
“We are still in a really good place in the Champions League, still in the FA Cup and in the League it is tight at the top around the teams in third, fourth and fifth.
“Chelsea have a little lead on everyone, but in terms of football to be played I think it’s quite exciting to think how the back end of the season could go.”
To be fair to the Ox, Walcott and Ozil will have to be on top form to displace him in the Arsenal team because he has been excellent for us this season so far, and has really stepped up when we needed him most. But as much as his direct approach and abilities help us, he does not score goals like Walcott – and he does not create things like Ozil.
So when and in what role will we see Chamberlain for the rest of the season?