Arsenal cruised to a 5-0 victory in the FA Cup on Saturday, helping Wenger’s men again reach the final 16 of the competition. There were several brilliant performers on the night but one midfielder really stood out.
With Mohammed Elneny at the African Cup of Nations and injury concerns with Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin, Arsene Wenger was stuck for options at the base of his midfield for Saturday’s FA Cup tie. He opted with the inexperienced Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who impressed, but alongside him Wenger selected the man of the match, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox has seriously struggled to impress for the Gunners on the wing since he arrived, and his progression has been terrible to say the least.
But his performance in the middle of the park on Saturday was enough to give encouragement for his future. Perhaps he should be developed in this position and with the Gunners lacking options currently, now could be a good time to let him progress in that position.
The Ox was dynamic in midfield, showing quality both offensively and defensively with his energy and passing range particular highlights from his performance. Although he didn’t score, the Ox was the best player on the pitch without a shadow of a doubt and Arsene must’ve been incredibly pleased watching on from the stands.
Here’s how some of the fans reacted to The Ox’s performance on Twitter.
I wonder is it coincidence that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best performances for us have come in central midfield (tonight, Milan).
— arseblog (@arseblog) January 28, 2017
Oxlade-Chamberlain looked phenomenal in the middle today, great passing & drive, really put down a marker, hopefully he keeps it up #AFC
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) January 28, 2017
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appreciation tweet. He's been superb today.
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) January 28, 2017
Maitland-Niles and Oxlade Chamberlain are the new Vieira and Petit.
— AFCAMDEN (@AFCAMDEN) January 28, 2017
Oxlade Chamberlain was unreal yesterday, never knew he had that passing range
— Anthony Iaconi (@antman2311) January 29, 2017
Top class performance from us today. Particularly Alex Oxlade-chamberlain. He was excellent and has all the tools to succeed in CM role.
— Lock, STOCKS and 2 smoking bulls ??? (@mesmericmesut) January 28, 2017
Personally I had pretty much given up all hope of Chamberlain succeeding at Arsenal. With just over a year left on his contract, I couldn’t see him realising his potential at the club. I still have serious doubts but this performance is enough to bide him more time. He now deserves a run in the team in central midfield, his performance was certainly more impressive than someone like Aaron Ramsey’s has been of late. With Santi Cazorla out, Chamberlain could make that box-to-box role his own and finally show his ability.