Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain has always had great potential, but injuries have often held his progress back, just as he had started to hold his position down in the side and show good form on a regular basis. Chamberlain’s mix of agility, power and speed mean he is a nightmare for most defenders, and when called upon with a run of games behind him he has often shown how devastating he can be, most notably against AC Milan in the Champions League a couple of seasons ago.
Chamberlain picked up an injury on the first day of last season and was subsequently out until late January. This was a big miss for the Gunners, and for a couple of months we lacked a genuine outlet as Walcott was also out injured. This coincided with Ozil’s dip in form as well as there was a lack of pace either side of him to thread balls through. However, Chamberlain’s return gave Arsenal more attacking potency and provided more options in midfield. His directness and trickery caused defenders constant problems and his versatility also meant he was effective, whether it were on the wings or in the centre.
This could be key to Arsenal next season and even England at this World Cup as he can take up different positions but still offer the team the same quality. In the warm-up game against Ecuador Chamberlain was injured and wasn’t fit enough to make his return against Italy. The upcoming game against Uruguay is of course a very important one and Chamberlain is in a race to prove his fitness in time for the fixture. Should he make it, it’d still be a shock if he started and an impact from the bench would be more likely. In this scenario he’d make an ideal impact sub, particularly against a slow defence, in which Uruguay possess. Although well-known across England he’s probably still an unknown quantity around the rest of the world and his introduction could prove to be key. His pace, power and directness would cause most defences a problem and in the heat of Brazil against weary opponents The Ox could be the ideal man to bring on to cause problems and stretch the game. As well as his trickery Chamberlain also has the ability to pick a pass and score a goal. Last season he had 81% pass accuracy creating a total of 6 clear-cut goalscoring chances for his teammates in the process, whilst also scoring 2 league goals in 14 appearances.
Providing Chamberlain stays injury free then he should gradually grow into his role at Arsenal and become a key player. He has age on his side and his combination of pace and power means that he strikes fear into opponents. He is still developing as a player, and whilst at this stage in his career the wings seem to suit him more it seems obvious he’ll eventually grow into a central role, hopefully having a similar effect to that of Yaya Toure who possesses the similar physical characteristics to that of the Southampton born youngster. In the mean time Chamberlain will be focused on getting fully fit for England and trying to make an impact at the World Cup, but in the long-term he is definitely a hot prospect and one that has a big future on his hands. He has the physicality and skill required to be a top player and if he can add more goals and assists to his game then he can definitely make the difference for Arsenal and England in the future.