Friday, March 31, 2023

The Big Question: Can This Arsenal Star Carry His Good Preseason Form Into Next Season?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

A brand new season of the Barclays Premier League is set to start from 13th August 2016 and there are a lot of players who are already thinking about making the season count for themselves as well as for their respective teams. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one such player who needs to come good this season at any cost if he wants to save his career and continue at Arsenal.

The Ox joined Arsenal from Southampton as a 16-year old who had all the talents to become a world beater. Chamberlain was able to make an impact when he got on to the field but just when he had his chances to play more and develop his progress was halted by injuries which kept him on the sidelines for long periods. In his five years at the club, the player has thus been able to make only 149 appearances.

Chamberlain, after a decent 2012/13 season, was expected to make an impact the next season, but despite making good progress in the pre-season, the Englishman suffered an unfortunate injury in the very first match of 2013/14 against Aston Villa and missed 3 months. He suffered another injury in the final weeks of the season after coming back from the layoff and thus couldn’t utilise the opportunity as he had very little time to go on to the field due to his injuries. The Southampton academy youth product made 37 appearances in all competitions in 2014/15 but still had to go through phases where he had to recover from injuries again in the middle of the season.

Before the start of last season, Chamberlain seemed determined to finally utilise his opportunity to shine and after having another good pre-season and a wonderful Community Shield game against Chelsea where he scored a smashing goal to give his team a 1-0 victory over reigning champions Chelsea.  This time, however, the midfielder played 33 times last season but was very inconsistent and honestly disappointing with his performances. The player infuriated his manager and the fans alike with his selfish approach and inclination of doing too much on his own during the matches and even directly contributed to Arsenal conceding goals. His performances were so below–par that many fans called for him to be sold after the season.

Arsene Wenger though has always been a manager who has given his players unprecedented support and encouragement and has decided to stand by the Ox for one more time and give him one last opportunity to show the world what he is capable of. In the first game of the preseason against Lens, Chamberlain scored a wonderful equaliser which showed flashes of his brilliance but the fans and critics wants to see more of that far more often from the player. Arsene Wenger knows that the player can do it, Chamberlain himself is also aware that he can do it and most of the fans also know that he can do it but the question is not whether he can do it or not, the question is will he finally do it?  I like all the other Gooners would certainly hope that this time, the answer is positive.

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