Where do we stand on the Ox?

Author @P_SRibeiro

 ox stand up

There is always a special buzz around the St. Mary’s Stadium whenever it’s made apparent that Southampton have a new young prodigy in their hands. Formative home of, arguably, England’s finest number 9 in recent history, Alan Shearer, as well as Arsenal’s old foe Gareth Bale, this past decade has seen Arsène Wenger become a regular shopper at the South East club in search of players with similar calibre.

From a personal point of view, of the three players Wenger has managed to snatch from Southampton (Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers), it was ‘the Ox’ that offered the greatest promise and excitement from the outset. His enthusiasm and intensity was immediately felt, taking just eight minutes in 2011 to leave his mark with a debut goal versus Olympiakos. It was clear this boy was pretty special, but this 18-year-old ‘boy’ has soon turned into a 22-year-old man, yet to begin fulfilling his true potential.

The Ox joins Arsenal as a 17 year-old kid in 2011

The Ox joins Arsenal as a fresh faced 17 year-old in 2011

Despite being eight appearances shy of his 100th Premier League game, his ongoing relationship with injuries has thwarted his progress and cost him crucial minutes on the pitch needed to cement a role in Wenger’s side. As a consequence, there appears to be a real lack of clarity over what Chamberlain represents to Wenger.

In assessment of our current options, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott are clear favourites to occupy Arsenal’s wide slots, whereas Wenger has demonstrated on more than one occasion a preference to see Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere fill in ahead of Chamberlain. And meanwhile he and others were out through injury, Joel Campbell has put forward a serious case in a bid to prove he too should be considered as an option.

 

In a time where we all envisioned the Englishman to play a more prominent role in the squad, his avenue to the first team couldn’t appear to have more obstacles laid out in front of him, with further additions, if rumours are to be believed, in the pipeline to compensate for Danny Welbeck’s injury.

Some have committed themselves to the idea that Chamberlain will no longer live up to the hype once imposed upon him, whereas others point towards a potential loan move in hope of him reigniting his form via a concrete run of games. But if there’s something I’ve learnt as an Arsenal fan it’s that time has a way of proving me wrong each time, and the year of 2015 has thrown plenty of examples at us.

We’ll start with the man in question, Chamberlain, who many were tipping to have a break out year just this summer. “The Year of the Ox”, as it was dubbed, is now a deep contrast to the current scenario. His compatriot, Walcott, was another who many doubted would ever be compatible again with the team following his injury. Weeks later, he was spearheading Arsenal’s attack in an FA Cup final and remains a unique tool in our current setup.

Community Shield heroics was meant to herald The Year of The Ox

Community Shield heroics was meant to herald The Year of The Ox

Campbell has looked destined to leave for the past three transfer windows, yet now he appears to be very much part of the scene following just a handful of decent performances. Similar stories arise throughout the squad, with the uncertainty surrounding Chamberlain resembling the one placed above the heads of Francis Coquelin, Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and even Mesut Özil once upon a time. I’m sure nobody needs to be told just how priceless those players are turning out to be, courtesy of the faith shown in them by the manager.

Patience is at the core of this football club and I wouldn’t be surprised, given Wenger’s experience and Chamberlain’s clear quality, if time went on to prove us wrong once more.

 

 

“Journalism student and big fan of both Arsenal and Sporting.”

Guest Writer

One Response to “Where do we stand on the Ox?

  • Alexander Thompson
    2 years ago

    The Ox has undoubted quality, he is most definitely a player that Wenger rates and he is one that, when on song, brings pace, power, and trickery. In him we have something that this team severely lacks, and that is the ability to trick or dribble past several players in a direct fashion. In my opinion there is one attribute that is undesirable about him that will need to be adjusted if he is to be the top player that we can all see is there somewhere and that is self belief. He must take a leaf out of Joel Campbell’s book. I think Wenger wants to trust him, he really does, but at this moment in time he can often be a liability when starting game’s and so he is restricted to substitute appearances until there is change, until he is more economical with the ball.

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