Player of the Week: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain


Short post. Too much anger and disappointment. It’s an Aston Villa Apocalypse. That’s what I’m calling it – these games that strip away all optimism and leave it in tatters across our immaculate pitch where we spend too much of the precious 90 minutes passing against walls.

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Dreadful start. I could go on but there’s no point. We’re used to this now. Like the opposition, I have built my own impenetrable barrier against the same old nonsense. This is Arsenal. We’ll probably play Palace off the park next week. Then embarrass ourselves ten weeks down the line.

The match was terrible, save for 20 minutes of Chamberlain showcasing flashes of what’s to come – however brief. He’s Player of the Week, barely. I could give it to Cech, because in all honesty it was an immaculate Arsenal goal keeping performance. He’ll bounce back, too. They all will. That’s the frustrating thing. The players will retaliate and come good again, but why do they still let these dismal performances creep into every season? What a day… to forget.

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Big season for Chamberlain. He knows it, Wenger knows it, we know it. He started the game with the same electricity shown at Wembley a week ago. He’s stronger than ever, and all he needs to do is to stay fit. He needs the hours on the pitch to erase any shred of immaturity from the lack of game time over the years. There’s still signs creeping into his play that he isn’t completely dependable yet. He still loses possession in killer areas. Still makes sloppy passes. There was one deep into the second half of the game where Ozil was less than a foot away and Chamberlain passed it to the feet of the defender through lack of concentration. Another that led to the second goal, a miss control, trying to run it out of the box instead of clearing. It’s these areas he needs to iron out because they can hit hard. And they did, yet again. Especially when we are chasing games. The rest speaks for itself. He’s a monster on the pitch, a raging bull when he’s running at players. Impossible to catch, it’s eat dust or take his legs away. There are stats floating around somewhere that he’s one of the best wingers for dribble completion and it’s no surprise when you see him running the pitch like a freight train. He did that whenever he could against West Ham, and out of all the players, he showed the most drive. He shoots at will as well. And when he connects he really let’s fly. His best moment of the match was a blistering run from the half-way line, blitzing past four then five and then having the extra burst to pick someone out in the box with a deep cross. Another little nod to his talent was his snap-shot volley skimming just wide of the top corner; and in the second half, a power drive that I prematurely cheered as a wonder goal. Shame it wasn’t. He’s going to be massive for Arsenal this season, whether it’s as a shining light in darkness, or a piece in wonderful puzzle. Who knows? As of now it’s the former, with Arsenal showcasing their very worst once again. Arsenal are so predictably unpredictable. Infuriating on all levels. But some times incredible. We need Benzema now more than we did pre West Ham. There needs to be a fresh spark before the season kicks into gear come September and the dreaded transfer window of hell closes. All the buzz has died. We are on the floor before the fight has even begun. An utter display of arrogance and lack of respect for our opponents. We deserved to get beat.

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