With a new season on the horizon, Arsenal are finding themselves constantly linked with a host of big names.
After securing the services of stoic ‘keeper Petr Cech, the Gunners look set to add an exciting attacking name to their ranks to lead their assault on the Premier League. It is, however, a player currently lining up for the side in pre-season who may shine this season.
England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appears to be almost the forgotten man at the Emirates. The former Southampton winger is quietly getting on with his business, as the focus centres around either an incoming big name or team-mate Theo Walcott’s contract situation.
[ffc-gal cat=”arsenal” no=”5″]
‘The Ox’ has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career already, but the 21-year-old appears to be ready to come into his own, something we’ve already seen a glimpse of today as the England international scored the Gunners’ winner against Chelsea to win the Community Shield at Wembley.
Arsenal’s 6-0 thumping of French side Lyon last week showcased the talents of the wicked wing man. Chamberlain ran the Ligue 1 side ragged that afternoon, his incisive wing play brought an energy and drive to the Gunner’s attack. The nickname ‘The Ox’ comes from the England man’s physical style of play, though he possess the pace to be an effective winger. In a midfield often accused of lacking a physical presence, ‘The Ox’ could be about to rampage.
Since a dazzling debut season in North London, culminating in a place in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012, injuries and intense competition for places have put the wheels on the flying winger. Stellar performances against Bayern Munich and Manchester United stand out, along with a goal in Macarena for the Three Lions.
Competition is rife in the Arsenal attack these days, with a litter of top class players vying for a limited number of spots. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil seem to be nailed on in the first choice XI, but a place on the right has a number of applicants. Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott can both operate in the position, but ‘The Ox’ might have the edge.
Welsh star Ramsey has come on leaps and bounds over the past few seasons, but is not a natural right winger. Chamberlain’s varied skill set allows him to both stretch the opposition, and cut inside to wreak havoc. His assist for Nacho Monreal in the FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford summed up what the ex-Saint is all about.
His thrillingly direct run at United defenders on the edge of the box cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Keeping the ball under pressure with his quick feet, an inch perfect pass was laid off to the Spaniard who applied the finish.
The game appears to go into overdrive when he grabs the ball, accelerating play with an elegance you may not expect from a player with such physical prowess. With Theo Walcott a soon-to-be-striker, Chamberlain can take the opportunity to make the wide right berth his own.
Action man like Alexis Sanchez is the sort of player Chamberlain should be emulating. Both players are happy to operate on the wing, but their varied skills allow for much more. Santi Carzola and Mesut Ozil can pass the ball all day long, but the incisive nature of the England international provides an effective outlet to their possession.
Should ‘The Ox’ stay off the treatment table this year, Arsenal and England are about to discover his true potential.