Is Arsenal boss holding back the Ox? And why?

For years now Arsene Wenger has spoken about the Arsenal and England international star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best position being in central midfield, and more specifically the sort of box-to-box role that has usually been taken by Aaron Ramsey or Santi Cazorla.

In the summer transfer window the Arsenal boss added Granit Xhaka to his midfield options and on one hand these names give us a reason why the Ox has not had much of a chance to prove his manager right about the position being his best. But given a chance just recently, due to the injuries, suspension and absence, the 23-year old has shone and has been arguably the Gunner’s best player in a bad spell of matches.

After his performance against Hull City yesterday the pundits on Match of the Day were full of praise for him but they also questioned Wenger as to why he gets so little game time, especially in that central area. Even yesterday the Frenchman subbed Chamberlain off despite his effectiveness, so why is he holding the lad back?

I think that Wenger wants the Ox to be more like his usual type of midfielder, like Rosicky, Cazorla and all, but he is more of a direct and powerful player. For me that is a good thing because Arsenal and any other team needs balance and not just 11 players of the same type.

Chambo has had more than his fair share of injury problems but even when fit he seems to be a fringe player at the club. In the last four seasons the Ox has made just 118 Premier League appearances and a lot of them he has either not started or completed.

Do you think he should play more? Should he get more chances in the middle? Is Wenger right or wrong in the way he uses this young Gunner?



  1. Twig says:

    Ox is only playing central midfield because of the injuries and suspensions we have in midfield. Prior to that he was always considered as a winger where he doesn’t score as many goals as the likes of Walcott. I thought he was substituted with one eye on the Bayern game. But I may be wrong.

    1. Budd says:

      It does not matter. If Ox is in form and clearly better than expected and also works out in the end I don’t see why he should be benched or being changed. This is how you actually ruin a young player’s confidence. When you are experienced, this is at most annoying , see Giroud or Opsina but for a young player this can be devastating.
      OK, I agree Ox did not had a lot of best games but al of them were with him on the wings. Everyone here noticed how good he is in the middle of the park and asked why? To make room for Ramsey? Ozil? I think we are on the brink of finding a great formation with 3 in the middle Coq in front of the back four and Ox plus Xhaka in front of him. Yes, that means dropping Ozil but these days Ozil is not playing for the club anymore.

  2. Arsenal_Girl says:

    Wenger held back Lucas as well
    Hardly started pl matches this season
    Maybe he could have earned a few more points.
    Now I look at the transfer as pointless when at the beginning of the season I thought he isn’t the tip forward we are were looking for but may be he could have helped us win the PL if he plays consistently. This year’s Mahrez
    Such a waste and he isn’t getting younger
    Also another excuse not to get a Top forward because we loads of forwards

    1. Budd says:

      Ospina/Cech – Bellerin,Mustafi,Kos,Gibbs-Coquelin,Xhaka,Ox-Perez,Sanchez,Welbeck.
      Subs: Cech/Ospina, Holding/Gabriel,Giroud,Walcott,Ramsey,Monreal,Ozil
      There! It has to be said. This is a title winning team. Yet we will not win it.
      Imagine if we had Wilshere and Szceszny

  3. RSH says:

    Ox has always held himself back. Whenever he’s gotten consistent runs in the past, he disappointed. He’s playing well now, but he’s still an inconsistent player and won’t push Arsenal to the level we need to be at. Cazorla remains our only midfielder that is consistently quality. Too bad he’s always injured now.

    1. RSH says:

      Ox doing the same thing Theo does. It’s almost contract renewal time for him, so time to show up. Sorry, not falling for that trick. AOC has not produced for 90% of his Arsenal career. I still need MUCH more convincing. A whole solid season.

      1. Budd says:

        Not really, Walcott had outstanding games after he signed his contract. In fact he was pretty much injured prior signing his contract so this is just a generalization from your part. Ox is younger than Walcott and he is hungry for game time. Game time which is not given to him on a regular base, probably because of the fact that he’s still young. He may be young but he’s having a lot of experience. Selling Ox would be a huge loss compared with Walcott.

        1. RSH says:

          When people compare ox to walcott the only positive they can say is that Ox is younger. That’s not good enough. His Arsenal career has been poor, and like most of our English players he hasn’t lived up to his potential. It’s easy to get behind him when our season is over, and most of the team is playing like garbage. He has had three good games in a row, which I don’t think he has ever done for us until now. I honestly think us fans get impressed too easily. Watch us be calling for Elneny to start in a month after Ox has a bad game or two. Our opinions are always short lived when it comes to Ox because he never maintains any form.

          1. Budd says:

            Add the fact that he’s paid half what Walcott is and then you will see the value in keeping him above Theo. Being younger means you can only gain experience. I don’t have anything against Walcott, is just the fact that I believe Ox is better buy for the money as he can play both in the middle and on the wings. Ffs, he even played RB this season. I let you discover who’s the most versatile one.

        2. RSH says:

          And before Walcott got injured he was in form and everyone was calling for him to sign a contract. Now he is one of our highest paid players, who still remains inconsistent, just like he always has.

          1. Budd says:

            Yet it contradicts your argument that prior to the famous 140k/week contract Walcott was a beast in the field. I never liked his attitude but then again, it was agent hand at works. If they got away with it then well, what can the fans say? I do believe it is the last contract Arsenal will offer him.

    2. Luko Bratzi says:

      And Ozil is consistent come on, the only way to get consistent is game time. Ox now is a better player than Ozil who, if you were in the army and he was in your squad he would be the first to run, got no balls. It’s about time fans have a banner saying drop Ozil. CB

      1. RSH says:

        Ox is not a better player than Ozil. That’s the craziest thing I have ever heard. One is in better form than the other but that is it.

        1. Luko Bratzi says:

          If Ox is in better form then him then he should be picked. If your picked then you are better. Ozil can be better skill wise but if he does it in 10% of 90 that’s bench play. Sanches is not as good skill wise but his game is 100% so Sanches is first on the team sheet Oxy in his last 2 games has shown his game is far better than Ozil. Tell me then if you were Manager would you pay 42 mill for Ozil or play Oxy and buy 2 stronger players, we need a left back and definitely a back 4 player or are you content to have a left footed player to take free kicks and corners and fill in as you can on the pitch.

        2. Budd says:

          Of course he isn’t but it just happen that these days Ox is playing better football than Ozil. No one is crazy and compare a World Cup winner with Ox. Seriously?

          1. Luko Bratzi says:

            My point is if he is not good enough now drop him. Yes he won a World Cup but if I employed him at 100.000 a year and his sales were poor he’s off. Not interested in what he has done or how skillfull he can be it’s NOW that we need players with balls and 100% attitude. End of Story. CB

  4. Nebsy says:

    As long as the adopted son is at the club, Ox will be held back. I don’t thing there’s space for him on the flanks, now that Welbz is back and considering the form of Perez, and that’s fair. But in the midfield, I can’t see why in the world would you ever start anyone else other than Cazorla before him.

  5. Gworm says:

    Two comments from Wenger come to mind here. Firstly he has said that he gives players a spell on the ‘wings’ because he believes it teaches them to play in tight areas. He has played Cazorla, Ozil and many others on the wings before transferring them to the centre. Secondly he has said that he has to be careful with the Ox because of his injury problems. I think he may have learnt his lesson when overplaying the young Jack Wilshere who then suffered from prolonged injury.
    The Ox is probably only just match fit so subbing him is probably just saving his legs, hopefully for Bayern. I’d like to see him get his chance in the centre now and I think on current form he should get the nod ahead of Ozil.

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