There is no denying that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been given alot of playing time this season and yet he has continued to flatter to deceive. Everyone expected him to take his chance and shine once Theo Walcott got injured but he has stagnated somewhat. The player who has grabbed his chance with both hands and left foot is Lukas Podolski, and what a blistering left foot it is too.
It is amazing how fortunes can change in football in the blink of an eye. Just a few weeks ago, it was Chamberlain on the manager’s mind. He was a player almost sure of a starting berth in the Arsenal team while Podolski was moaning about rarely starting a game…or finishing it for that matter.
Chamberlain had something most of midfielders don’t have and that is pace. Instead of playing to his strengths, he tried to ape other midfielders. A case in point is the game against Tottenham. Only a player of Rosicky’s quality could have attempted a one time shot as he did and expect it to enter. Chamberlain tried to do a replica of Rosicky’s goal when presented with a similar chance when a first touch would have been a better option and then later tried to chip the keeper when placing the ball would have most definitely resulted in a goal. Chamberlain is a good player and a decent finisher but he has to accept he does not have the technique of players like Rosicky and Carzola. He has the pace and first touch to trouble his defenders and use those attributes to his advantage like Theo Walcott.
Podolski has come to the fore. He has been accused, wrongfully if I may add, of not tracking back enough and going missing in games. It seems like Podolski has realized what his strengths are and he is using them to the fullest. His crossing from the wing has been razor sharp and his finishing is as good as it has ever been with almost every chance resulting in a goal. He leaves the dribbling to the others and the hold up play to Giroud. Of course now there is no way the manager is going to bench him.
There is no doubt Chamberlain will get another chance although when Arsenal strengthen their team during the transfer window, it might be harder to get a look in. I guess experience really matters.
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