Arsenal were comfortable winners on Tuesday night as they overcame Reading in a 2-0 win to reach the quarter finals of the English League Cup.
It was a kind draw, a home tie against a Championship side, but a much-changed Arsenal team made the game look easier than it could have been. This game was an opportunity for Arsenal’s fringe players to impress and earn a spot in the first eleven. One player who may have done this is Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored both of Arsenal’s goals with good finishes. He started alongside Alex Iwobi, but looked the better of the two players on the night and it could be that he takes Alex’s spot on the left wing with the Nigerian’s form dipping at the moment.
‘The Ox’ has always been a little rough around the edges but aged 23, now is the time for him to step up. Whilst he continues to frustrate at times, the early signs are good this season as he has scored 5 goals in all competitions already, that’s more than he has managed in any entire season previously. On Tuesday night, he continued to frustrate some fans, but his lethal finishing was great to see, as it was one (of many) elements to his game that was previously lacking. He’s still developing and he’s a player that Arsenal have invested a lot of time into – I think Arsene Wenger is right to at least give him this season to firstly prove his fitness and then prove his ability – as both of those things have been heavily and fairly questioned regularly during his time at Arsenal.
Here’s some reaction on Twitter to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance.
Ox has got a taste for goal, now. Keep going, Ox, you can make it.
— Jane Cavendish (@jcav90) October 25, 2016
So Chamberlain now has more goals this season than ever before for Arsenal.
— TikiTakaConnor (@TikiTakaConnor) October 25, 2016
Great return from the Ox. Looks much more ruthless in front of goal this season. Have to start him at the weekend. https://t.co/nHjmeVpuWJ
— Hugo (@AssistingOzil) October 25, 2016
The Ox starting to gain confidence. I’d love for him to succeed at Arsenal. There’s a proper player in there.
— Wrighty (@_Wrighty7) October 25, 2016
OK but MAYBE this is the “big season for the Ox” we’ve been predicting without fail every year for the last 5 years
— Chris Dixon (@chrismd10) October 25, 2016
Is it FINALLY the season for The Ox? Aged 23 it’s hardly a last chance for him, but it may well be his last chance at Arsenal. Having been at the club for more than 6 years, the Gunners fans and the manager are desperate to see progression from him. I think that his style of play will always cause a sort of irritation to the Arsenal fans, as he is not a typical Arsenal midfielder. He’ll give the ball away more frequently than most, he’ll run down blind alleys sometimes, but he’s different. His unpredictability brings something different to the team and that’s something that makes him a useful part of the squad, even if it is just from the bench. He has the tools to evolve into a top player, now is the time to see if he is capable of doing it.