Time For Arsenal’s Oxlade-Chamberlain To Make This Season Count!


It’s easy to forget that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still just twenty-one, he’s been around for the past five seasons after all.

In those previous seasons the attacking midfielder has shown strong glimpses, for both Arsenal and England, that he can be a phenomenal talent. But he’s yet to have a stand-out year that has shown the world that he’s truly a fantastic, consistent performer.

Injuries haven’t helped him and his Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been cautious with him at times as he tries to manage growing expectations.

But yesterday in Arsenal’s 1-0 win in the Community Shield against Premier League champions Chelsea, Oxlade-Chamberlain once again showed that he has that bit of class that can separate teams, even in the bigger games.

I still think that Alex is, after Wayne Rooney, England’s best maverick talent who can make things out of nothing and win games. Theo Walcott offers pace and Daniel Sturridge can score bit they need the rest of the team to get there. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley may have that unique quality but are still behind the Arsenal man in terms of development.

Against Chelsea, Oxlade-Chamberlain found himself attacking on the right. His energy and direct runs caused the opposition plenty of problems. His close control and ability to find room also caused Chelsea plenty of issues to worry about.

Then on the twenty-fourth minute the player nicknamed ‘The Ox’ picked up a pass from Walcott on the right-hand side. His marker (Cesar Azpilicueta) allowed the England man too much space and time as he cut inside onto his weaker left foot. His pin-point shot, from inside the box, went straight into the top left-hand corner and gave Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois no chance.

After the game the attacker was deservedly awarded with the man of the match honour. During his post-match interview he showed another side that I really like in a player and that is a good attitude away from the pitch. Unlike many other footballers his age that earn tens of thousands of pounds every week, Oxlade-Chamberlain has a level head on his shoulders, he’s respectful of those around him, he proved he’s humble and that the team’s goals were paramount not his own individual plaudits.

But as we all know good intentions and soundbites are all very well but the proof is in the pudding. Or better still; actions speak louder than words.

Last term Alex only managed three goals in all competitions. In his previous four seasons at the Emirates the England international’s best tally has been a meagerly four strikes! That is simply not good enough. He also only managed to produce just three assists last year.

Those types of statistics need to improve substantially if he’s going to become a star player in the Premier League and not just a once and a while top performer.

Yesterday’s performance was a fine start but only if it’s built upon and the soon to be twenty-two year old can play like that consistently.

Just getting regualr starts with the Gunners will be an achievement within itself as Wenger has the likes of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez all capable of playing off the main striker in the attacking midfield roles.

So Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will know that he’ll have to train hard and play well to keep his place in the starting line-up.

He just needs to look at Welshman Ramsey and holding midfielder Francis Coquelin. Both came to Arsenal, like The Ox, full of potential but the duo struggled to play consistently well and stay in the Gunners first team. But both worked at their games and shone when they got their chance and have never looked back.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs to do the same and build on yesterday’s success. If he can remain fit and show off his skills consistently this season, then I get the feeling that it could be a great year for him for both club and country!

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