Thursday, 6 June 2013

What is The Ox's Best Position?

The hype around Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has slowly decreased over the past season. Arsenal first bought him from Southampton 2 years ago and after a couple of exciting performances, fans were insisting that he got more game time. The arrival of Podolski and inconsistent performances from The Ox has meant that he has been on the bench more than he would like. He started 12 times in the league last season (13 as a substitute), only completing the 90 minutes once.

He is still young and I’m glad Chamberlain doesn’t have the same pressure that Wilshere had a couple of seasons ago, but if we want him to develop he needs to play more. He’s been playing well for England and according to his dad he is more relaxed, “I can see that he is more relaxed playing for his country than he is playing for Arsenal.” Hopefully he can start relaxing when playing for Arsenal. He’s only 19, and still has a lot of time to fill his potential.

Chamberlain is a versatile player, which is a great characteristic, but what is his best position for Arsenal…
He has played quite a lot on the left-wing over the past two seasons. On the wings is where his pace and dribbling can be at their most devastating, and he works hard enough to help his full-back in defence. He can shoot with both feet and his crossing is decent. One drawback is that if balls come in from the other side, he doesn’t have great aerial ability. Podolski currently plays there, but Podolski is rested quite a lot and could also move to the lone striker instead of Giroud.
Central midfield is his preferred position, “I really like playing in central midfield, it’s where I grew up playing. More game time in that position will help me to become more confident there.” His dribbling and speed aren’t used as much in this position, but if he gets passed opposition midfielders regularly it could mean lots of goal-scoring chances. If Chamberlain plays in central midfield he won’t have as much freedom with the ball; losing the ball on the halfway line is less forgivable than near the corner flag. The midfield area is also quite congested when Cazorla doesn’t play on the wing; with Ramsey, Wilshere and Rosicky fighting for the last midfield spot (Arteta always plays).
I don’t think playing as a lone striker would get the most out of The Ox, he’s too dynamic and energetic not to be involved more often, although his finishing seems good so far. He also doesn’t really possess an aerial threat.
I think he is at his best as an attacking midfielder. Santi Cazorla plays at his best in the central attacking midfielder role, so for Chamberlain to play there would probably require a formation change. We could play with the formation that Chelsea used this season (4-2-3-1), with a long list of possibilities of who could play where in the 4 attacking positions: Giroud, Podolski, Walcott, "apparent attacking transfer target", Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Wilshere and Cazorla. Playing in any three of the attacking midfield positions would allow him freedom to dribble without worrying too much about giving the ball away, taking shots, but also using his defensive abilities and tracking back.
I believe that Wenger will give the number 15 more game time throughout next season and hopefully The Ox can show us his true ability.
Thanks for reading

No comments:

Post a Comment