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Dr. Oxlade and Mr. Chamberlain

Sunday 3rd September 2017
Arsenal has sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. What a poor decision. No, wait. It's great! He wasn't even in the first choice team. Or was he? Our only exposure to the player is inconsistent runs where he either took our breath away or left us wanting more.

Classic literature often lends itself to other purposes. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde follows the perils of a young man suffering from schizophrenia. Whilst the Ox isn't reported to have any such medical condition, his track record and career movements certainly bare some resemblance. As well does the perception of the view from the fans.

Alex is still only 24 years old. There's still room for his development in his game, but the clock is ticking. In just two years he'll be closer to 30 than 20 and the countdown will really be on to see if he's actually any good. After all, if there's a word, to sum up, his career so far; it'd be: “unproven”. He's been in and out of the starting eleven with Arsenal; which does make it a curious move why Liverpool was after his services.

Looking at the good in the player, on his day, he is one of the most efficient runners to grace a football pitch. He's also been reliable in his passing and when on the pitch made the Arsenal machine cogs go around. He's fast and fairly durable meaning he can keep going sprint after sprint. Whilst in recent years he became more important to Arsenal, he was by no means someone who the team needed; and whilst he became of more use – he became a lot less impressive. By no means the man we all applauded and wanted to see prosper after his goal against Olympiacos, in that Champions League campaign many years ago.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, seen here on that night where he announced himself to the Arsenal.

There's no denying that bringing on the Ox late on in a game terrified tired defences. Knowing they'd now have to compete with the speedy youngster would perplex them as they'd often struggle to do so, given he'd be very fresh.

Whilst there's only been three games in the season, he's been arguably one of Arsenal's best players so far. Making it quite hard to understand why they'd sell him right now – and also why he'd want to move.

It's that ulterior darker character of lust, anti-climax and non-event which we must subscribe to Mr Chamberlain. For all of his plaudits, the other side looms and will be all so apparent, in the near future to Liverpool fans.

Whilst being around Arsenal for a long time and the top-end for quite a while, he's not a prolific goal scorer. Outrageous for a player who used to be deployed on the wing, yet often found himself near the box. This of course, when he was in the squad and on the pitch. He only started 16 games last season, and in 11 of them, he was substituted off. Yet last year he made the most appearances in a season. This really cements the fact that he really was a rotation player.

During the last few seasons, it was also hard to gauge how motivated Alex was in an Arsenal shirt. Whilst yes, some of his better performances spoke for themselves – but there were other times. His blank expression, void of emotion isn't becoming of someone who we wanted wearing the shirt. Will this just resurface when he's not getting the game at Anfield due to a congestion of decent midfielders at the club?
His personality has also come to light very recently. Despite playing his best football in the wingback position, he wants to regress to the central midfield role which he struggled to even get a game in and also where he hasn't performed terribly well. A players that lacks adaptability and an unwillingness to learn isn't desirable at all. This atavistic personality does not bode well for professional footballers. Going back to his lack of motivation whilst at Arsenal, are these really the attributes of an amicable footballer?

I wrote earlier that the Ox needed time away from the Emirates, but only a loan basis. In that article, I suggested the benefits of the player spending time at a club where he could the hero. The man of the club. Such candidates would be Stoke, Leicester or even West Bromwich Albion. Where he'd the best player and little competition for places. This would benefit him as he would essentially play where he likes for the said club and allow Arsenal to monitor him over a full season. Going to Liverpool permanently closes the door on Arsenal – and also doesn't give him the promise of first team football. A contrast to what he must really want.

Only time will tell which personality of the player Liverpool will get and how much time he will get. After all, should he want to play in his desired central midfield role, he's got fierce competition in Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, and Georginio Wijnaldum. All of which, Liverpool legend and iconic figure, Jamie Carragher, thinks are better than Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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