Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is quite an experienced member of this current squad, having joined the club back in the summer of 2011. At just 23 years old, there is still a lot of time for Chamberlain to shine at Arsenal and hopefully he can bring some inspiration into the team, for the final few months of the season’s run in.
Chamberlain has been able to feature regularly for the Gunners in recent matches, and has in fact missed around half an hour over the course of the last 450 minutes of football. It’s a change to his normal position in the squad, which usually sees Wenger stick him on the bench, only to bring the player on for the final 5 minutes.
However despite the fact that we’ve seen some rather impressive play from Chamberlain this season, even if the Gunners as a whole haven’t performed well, Arsene Wenger is still convinced that there’s a lot of work for the player to do.
Wenger said: “Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was in action for England last week, and lately he has done well. He’s been more stable, more focused in his performances, I still believe it’s a very encouraging period for Alex, but there is more to come from him.”
“The work we do with him now is to get more and more from him, because there is still potential in him that hasn’t been completely exploited yet. That’s normal because he is still an under-25 player.”
“Whether he plays centrally or wide, what he gives to the team is being strong in the challenge, he has good acceleration and in central midfield this kind of potential to go forward gets you away from pressure.”
I think in Arsene Wenger’s statement he’s introduced a key point which a lot of us are able to see. Many will state that Chamberlain hasn’t progressed as well as we would have hoped and the expectations put on him as a teenager haven’t become fact in reality. However a large part of his undervalued talent is down to the fact that he has been the ‘runt of pack’ at Arsenal for a number of years now. The Ox had a promising 2013/14 season, in which he played most of the campaign, but besides that he has been used sparingly by Arsene Wenger throughout his Arsenal career. The Englishman has also seemingly played almost every position on the pitch, having been utilised on the wing, as an attacking midfielder, central midfielder and even a right back at times. Wenger just hasn’t settled on Chamberlain’s position in this squad, although I think the majority of fans will agree that The Ox’s best football comes from when he plays as a central midfielder. It’s highly valued when a player can play In a number of positions, but Wenger needs to decide on a position for the Ox in this squad and stop using him so sparingly. Without playing time and experience, the Englishman won’t improve and thus we won’t see the potential that many feel the Ox still possesses.
There have also been rumours that the player may be one of many members of the squad whom are currently considering their respective futures. Chamberlain has been linked with a number of English clubs, including the likes of City, United and Liverpool. Chamberlain may find the situation at Arsenal to be very frustrating, but right now do Liverpool or United really pose any more of a threat to the league’s title chances, than Arsenal do right now. I think Chamberlain will look to stay beyond the summer, but a vital part of his decision could be down to whether he’s going to see his playing time increase at Arsenal and what the club’s ambition is.