Arsenal’s British core, that was meant to revolutionise, inspire and succeed at the Emirates Stadium, has done exactly what was predicted of them by all outside of the red half of north London. Failed.
— Bespoke Mag (@bespokemag) April 3, 2016
It’s more and more believable that Carl Jenkinson is in fact a fan who won a competition; Aaron Ramsey tricked everyone into believing he was actually a goalscoring midfielder; Jack Wilshere can now be found outside your local boozer on matchdays; Kieran Gibbs has lost his place to a Jay from the Inbetweeners lookalike and Theo Walcott continues to play like the raw 16-year-old that Wenger signed a decade ago.
That just leaves the most frustrating of the lot, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Powerful, athletic, fast, explosive, able to take on a player and possesses the ability to score. However, despite all those attributes, the majority of the England international’s Arsenal career has been spent either in the treatment room or resembling Bambi on ice on the pitch.
Speculation has suggested that this summer Arsene Wenger is willing to listen to offers for the former Southampton player, with Le Professeur losing patience with the forward’s failure to ‘kick on’ and develop like so many had predicted him to.
Ox sympathisers will point to the fact that Arsene Wenger hasn’t started the 22-year-old that often/kept him on the pitch for a full 90 minutes regularly – his highest amount of starts in the Premier League came last season (17).
It’s certainly an argument that carries merit but given the wealth of options that Wenger has in the final third, there really is no need to pander to the attacking-midfielder’s slow development – especially as it now looks like Ox isn’t developing at any sort of speed, slow or otherwise.
The (potential) final nail in Oxlade-Chamberlain’s has come in the last couple of months with the emergence of Alex Iwobi.
— Chris Towers (@ChrisTowers_88) April 13, 2016
The Nigerian international has proved that old adage correct that ‘if you’re good enough, then you’re old enough’ with a string of impressive performances – two goals and two assists in eight Premier League games plus a dazzling performance at the Nou Camp has prompted the second new contract in six-months for the playmaker.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s last 51 league games – 4 goals and assists combined. Iwobi’s last 3 league games – 4 goals and assists combined #AFC
— Martin Laurence (@martinlaurence7) April 14, 2016
If having Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil wasn’t enough competition for Ox, having Alex Iwobi – probably the most similar player to himself – performing to such a high standard should certainly worry the 22-year-old.
The one saving grace that Oxlade-Chamberlain has is one that a lot of underperforming and frustrating Arsenal players have. It’s that, if Wenger was to put him up for sale, the clubs interested would be the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. Therefore, maybe he’s worth a little bit more persistence with given the standard of potential suitors?