Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is currently one of the young prospects for Arsenal and England, who already has 20 caps for his country. Here, we take a look at his role in the Gunners push for the title next season.
The winger was signed from Southampton in 2011 for a rumoured fee of around 12 million pounds, as he was tipped for a bright future by Arsene Wenger. The Ox, as he is fondly called, developed his game season by season with many football pundits betting the next season as his breakthrough and why not? The Englishman has been long enough at Arsenal to familiarize himself with the style of football the North London club is used to.
Wenger prefers to deploy the 21 year old at right wing, as he believes that young players will grow when given tight space at the wings and to offer width in the attack. The youngster was occasionally called on to fill in the central midfield and even scored with one brilliant curler vs AS Monaco in the Champions League when he came on as a second half substitute. At the wings, the ex-Southampton player loves to run past defenders with his dribbling and direct running.
This very aspect was at times used as a Plan B in the first half of the last season. Wenger often brought the Englishman as a second half substitute when Arsenal were trailing or a draw was on the cards and with his direct running and fresh legs, Chamberlain broke in to defenses and lifted the crowd up in a jiffy. Apart from this, Chamberlain and Alexis would occasionally change flanks to have a go at the opponents. The very fact that Jose Mourinho wanted to involve the 21 year old in a deal for Petr Cech itself reflects his credentials and potential.
But like most of the young players’ career, Oxlade Chamberlain suffered with quite a lot of injuries since his arrival. Injuries took a toll since the New Year last season and the Englishman started just 9 games since. It is pretty evident that a fit Oxlade Chamberlain is what every one of us would love to watch. Well, no. There are a couple other aspects that he has to improve to emerge as one of the best wingers in the Premier league right now.
Finishing. As much as the Emirates-frenzy would love to watch him dribble past players with his personality like an Ox, he has to learn to finish, in order to become a complete player. He is somebody who is not afraid to take a shot from a distance, his first goal for Arsenal was a 25 yard shot, but what eventually matters is getting your name on the score sheet. Having just 1 goal in the entire 2014/15 League campaign doesn’t help you prove the point.
Decision Making. Yes, Alex is a creative player who has very good vision and we have all seen stints of that. But he is often criticized for trying to dribble past one too many players and eventually losing the ball. Players of high caliber like Alexis Sanchez do that too. But they end up with their names on the scorecard. What he needs to learn is to keep cool and make better decisions with the ball at his feet and notch up the assist numbers. Having just 1 assist in the entire 2014/15 League campaign wouldn’t help you prove the point either.
The Arsenal squad right now is filled with skilled players and is carrying a lot of depth. Hence, the winger will have to work hard to fight for his spot on the right wing with Theo Walcott, who would be a potential striker for next season, Danny Welbeck and even Aaron Ramsey, since Wenger has preferred him to the right to balance the team during the end of the previous season.
So, given a fit next season and a good run of games for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, we could see him play a crucial part in the 2015/16 title push followed by his evolution into one of the best wingers of the Premier League in the coming seasons. All the best, Lad!