Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised young forward Joel Campbell after the Costa Rican scored his first goal for the Gunners during the 3-0 victory over Swansea (via Arsenal.com). With Arsenal leading by two goals, Campbell reacted well to gather Mesut Ozil’s low cross and scored a classy finish past Lukasz Fabianski. This goal, which came after the manager had called for him to ‘do or die’ at the club, seems to have convinced Wenger that Campbell has a future at the Emirates after all.
Campbell has spent several seasons out on loan since joining Arsenal, and that European experience seems to have helped him develop. Although he still needs improvement if he wants to become a first team regular, his workrate was impressive and he certainly seems to be a decent alternative when Aaron Ramsey is not available. In fact, he seems to be more defensively aware than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Arsene Wenger said, “I think he wanted to go [in the summer] because he didn’t play, which you can understand and as well because he didn’t play at all. Sometimes people want you to buy more and more players but after a while you have to look at your own players.
“He comes from Costa Rica, to get out of there and to come to [England] and to go different leagues and survive, you need some character and he has shown that again today. In our job, all you can do is be ready and when you get your chance, take it and I think he did.
“When he came back he was on the waiting list and finally he got the chance and I’m very happy for him. I think he worked very hard, defended very well, created chances in the first half – he had that shot that was not that far off. He had another shot and in the second half he scored a goal and on top of that he worked very hard.”
Meanwhile, Campbell himself was ecstatic after netting his first goal for the north London outfit. Speaking to Arsenal Player, the forward expressed his happiness and his hopes for the season ahead (via Arsenal.com).
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“I’m very happy. I had to wait for this moment and now we have to keep working to strengthen our team” he said.
“I’m very happy but the important thing is the team wins. We had a good game so we have to keep going and prepare for the next game against Bayern Munich. The fans were incredible. They supported us the whole game and it was very important for us.”
Campbell is basically guaranteed to start against the German side as well, and it will be a much, much bigger test of his capabilities than the game against Swansea. Hopefully, he is able to cope with that and Arsenal secure the much-needed win that we need to keep our Champions League hopes alive.