I got a fever, and the only prescription is more Ox Bell!
Last week I wrote about how Mesut Özil might be in line to turn things around, and not only help the Gunners cling to their fading title hopes, but also justify fantasy owners’ restoring him to their lineups. And, after a stellar FA Cup showing against Everton, it looked like I might be right (and for the record, still could be). But then, another lackluster showing combined with an apparent hamstring injury against Bayern Munich, culminating in his being subbed off at halftime of the crucial tilt, has caused doubt concerning how he’ll perform going forward to creep back into the camp of the North London side.
But Arsenal wasn’t completely punchless against the German powerhouse; little-used Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was quite dazzling, and apart from a brief moment of brilliance from Lucas Podolski, was the best Gunner on the pitch.
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So nicknamed partially because of his surname, but also for the tenacity and strength he displays, Chamberlain lived up to “The Ox” moniker. And while he didn’t score, he made several impactful runs which provided almost all of the spark on the day for the club. His effort can be best summed up with one amazing run; one in which he side-steps three Bayern defenders before being brought down just before the box…
Runs like this were prevalent on the day. In fact, he completed an astonishing 10 out 10 take on’s (the team itself only had 14 total), which, in turn, led to him being fouled 5 times. Additionally, 6 of those 10 take on’s took place in Bayern’s half of the field.
There wasn’t much of an Arsenal attack to speak of as Bayern (as usual) controlled the game by dominating possession (61% to Arsenal’s 39%), but when Chamberlain was on the ball obviously they had trouble containing him. And a performance like that, one where his praises were constantly being sung by the game callers, certainly won’t be lost on Arsene Wegner, and this could signal “The Ox” being used more frequently going forward–especially if Özil misses any amount of time.
Due to a knee injury earlier in the year, he’s been limited to only 8 Premier League appearances–totaling 295 minutes, but in those 295 minutes he’s managed 2 goals, 1 assist, and 3 chances created. So while the sample size isn’t the largest, it’s enough to give you confidence that if given the opportunity, he can be productive. Yes, as a 20 year old (yes, I said 20) he’s still fairly rough around the edges, but he has the raw talent to be great. He may lack the vision and touch of an Özil, but what he does bring to the table is plenty of pace, and an innate ability of getting past his markers. One has to wonder, if he can do what he did against Bayern–whom most consider to be the best team in the world–what might he do to Premier League defenses if given a full-time gig?
It also must be noted that Chamberlin’s ability has been noticed by English national team manager, Roy Hodgson, and “The Ox” will be heading to Brazil this summer. Certainly a vote of confidence for the young Englishman going forward as it appears both club and country are beginning to realize they probably need more Ox bell too.
Wether Özil misses time or not, Chamberlain has likely forced Wegner’s hand and should be featured in the starting 11. And, at £6.6, the time may be at hand to add him to your’s as well.
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