What to do with the Ox?


Let me start with saying that I like Alex a lot. He stole thousands of Gooners hearts with THAT spirited, this-is-my-moment, CL performance against AC Milan a few years ago. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has not just a posh name; he is one of the elite talents in this country, and indeed in Europe. The Ox is only 21 years old and yet he has played already 84 times for Arsenal (8 goals, 8 assists).

Here is a nice summary of what he has to offer:

Our nr.15 has played 20 games (12 starts) in all competitions this season, and he clocked up about 1100 minutes of football (for comparison, Alexis played 1475 minutes in all competitons). It is fair to say he has been given a proper chance now to proof himself. Yet, despite some spirited, encouraging performances, he only scored twice; and more worryingly for the roles in which he played, he only has a single assist to his name this season.

The Ox has good spells in every game during which he adds a lot of thrust to our attacks. But he also seems to disappear for long periods in each game. We have to remember that he is still only young and needs a good run of games. However, I feel he has partly failed to take the opportunity to really demand a place in our first team this season. And nobody can say Wenger did not give him a chance.

Now that Giroud is back and Theo is also close to full fitness, the Ox might find himself more and more on the bench. Wenger is likely to play Giroud as his holding CF and then pick two β€˜wingers’ from Alexis, Theo, Welbeck, Ox (and possibly Gnabry and Pod).

I can see the Ox missing out on many PL/CL starts during the remainder of the season and wonder what would be best for him:

  1. Keep him in the team and use him as a super-sub regularly?
  2. Start him regularly with Wenger rotating his players more proactively and frequently?
  3. Send him out on loan, say to Everton or West Ham, where he would be guaranteed regular first team starts?
  4. Cash in on him in January/Summer?

Ooh, and what do you reckon the Ox’s best position is?

Over to you, fine fellow Gooners: What would you do with the Ox? πŸ™‚

Written by: TotalArsenal.

34 thoughts on “What to do with the Ox?

  • I think the Ox is a player in the making. We should give him 30-40 matches for the next couple of years and he will be a monster of a player. Wenger sees him more of an CM and he is just learning the trade on the flanks right now. If u follow Wenger closely, he always ‘prepare players’ on the flanks before actually playing them in their preferred positions. ( that’s what he ha been doing with Ozil). The Ox is a VERY important player now and will be for many years coming.

  • After Alexis joined the club Ox has shown a new side of him, his Alexis side. I believe he is modeling his game off of Alexis’ strengths. I made a bold prediction a few season ago, that Ox would be the new Henry. A striker who can play on the wing. And with him taking lessons from Alexis he can eventually pass him and do that. Don’t forget, Alexis can play striker too, so Ox learning from him will teach him that. I believe in time Ox will pass Alexis and reach Henry level. So my choice is keep him and rotate him regularly as a winger to learn from Alexis and over time give him a few minutes as a striker here and there.

  • Late again to the party for the last post TA, sorry about that its been a shitty week but great result nevertheless and a great post to go along with it.

    On to this post which by the looks of it i am definitely not late for πŸ™‚
    OX is awesome mate, he aint going nowhere! πŸ™‚ Its not his fault that most of the balls he’s put into the box after consistently skinning the defender down the line have been aimed at our woefully shit strike force who are nowhere to be found. His driving force through midfield or down the line with pace has been added to as of late with some excellent long passes and he is quickly becoming a fan favorite. Trust me if he was given the left wing position where he could cut in and shoot his goal tally would be much higher but sorry OX you know i love you mate but you’re never shifting Sanchez away from that position lol.

    Presently if the others you mention are coming back to fill his spot i couldn’t think of a better swap than OX for Ramsey in that B2B position. Ramsey is beyond terrible atm and i think OX would do a much better job there.

    So i choose the number “2” option and his best position has yet to be found, i like him on the left wing but like i said before its unlikely he’ll grab that spot so i hope he gets the opportunity to play other positions like the Ramsey role or even a CAM role so i could judge his performances there with actual evidence.

    This is how i see our team developing (and it looks very strong to me), firstly the strikers who i feel were born to play as a pairing even though the formation doesn’t allow for it, i will show you what i mean:

    Giroud——Welbeck – one is left footed, tall and very strong, skillful and has great hold up play, but is maybe lacking in a bit of pace, the other is right footed, pacey, works hard, tracks back and also has a fair amount of skill

    Campbell—–Sanogo – Same type of pairing as above with each bringing a perfect blend of different elements to the table.

    Podolski——Akpom – quite simply the lethal fucking dream team imo πŸ™‚

    But we only play with one up top so that is very much a theory and back to the rest of the line up if they are ever all fit:

    -The OX—Wilshere—Gnabry-

    ——New DM——-Diaby——–

    Gibbs—–Koscielny—–New CB—–Debuchy
    Monreal—New CB——–BFG———–Jenko


    As you can see OX doesn’t need to go anywhere he helps to make our squad look insanely dangerous even if he has to wait for rotation to get his chance – which may be a good thing as we definitely don’t want to burn out Sanchez!

    I always laugh at how unbalanced our squad is when i take a look at it from a perspective like that, with first, second and third choice positions brimming with talent and potential in all areas of the pitch apart from the defense which looks patchy, in need of fresh blood and lacking in the depth of the other areas of the pitch. I always thought you build your team around a strong defense with plenty of depth and then work your way up the pitch – maybe Wenger has the opposite approach πŸ™‚

    Anyway i kind of went off on a little tangent there but its just good to be back after such a crappy week and i thought i owed you a meatier comment, so you lot can just sit back and suffer the endless mindless dribble again πŸ™‚ I’m Back πŸ™‚

  • He will still be around with us for the rest of the season as (1) Walcott is recovering his match fitness levels after a long spell on the sidelines, (2) Wilshere is out until Feb 2015 earliest, (3) Γ–zil is also coming back from a lengthy injury.

    He can share match playing time with Cazorla, RosickΓ½, Alexis, Ramsey, Campbell, Podolski, Welbeck in various roles in the meantime (e.g. CM, CAM, IF, WG, L/RM etc).

    The Ox best position eventually: @an attacking midfielder, in front of a regista & a volante pairing.

  • He should definitely stay at Arsenal. I highly doubt AW will ever sell him. I feel that we aren’t utilizing him to his full potential, another case of Gevinho. he is best suited for a counter attacking game, as shown a few times against the big teams. He should be rotated and given starts, occasionally bringing him to the bench as a super sub. Anyways, the lad has a lot of areas that he can improve and you can see that Alexis’s style of play is already starting to rub off him. This proves that competition among players is highly important and I have a feeling that he’ll be important to us for the years to come

  • The ox might not make the first x1 if all are fit, but he certainly makes the next x1. The rest of the seasin is pivotal for him, because next season he takes a place in the 25 as do a number of other players. We are likely though to see the departure of quite a few, diaby coquelin rosicky podolski miyaich and probably campbell seem to be the top candidates to make way next season. All 6 are so out of favour, you can’t see them being around next september, possibly gone in january.

    That would open up the space we need to bring in chamberlain to the 25 and I am sure afobe will be given a chance. Jenkinson is likely to return, so that basically means, only 2 more spaces. They would have to go to another centre back, preferably a left sided one and another DM.

  • Nice read as usual. But I guess I’m not quite sure how you truly feel about the Ox, TA. You mention that you really like him, but then suggest the (absurd) possibility of cashing in on him?

    This a player whose take-on completion rate is just about on par with some of the top performers in the entire premier league. And he is 21 years old. I think it is extremely premature to make any sort of judgement call… Other than that he has all the potential in the world and is steadily finding some great form for both England and the Arsenal. However, I do agree that he may see some unwanted time on the bench in the coming months due to the return of Theo and Mesut and the newly established triple threat trio of Welbz, Ollie, and Alexis.

    We are incredibly lucky to have him as on option off the bench and I am certain he will cement his place on the wing in the next year or two. Down the road, I see a fierce competition between himself and our other hugely talented youngster… Gnabry.

  • Wow Dylanski πŸ™‚

    Ox to become as good as Henry and even better than Alexis! Bold statement. I would have agreed a year ago but I am not sure anymore. Something is missing. Maybe it is using his head more when he plays. Early days though.

    Agreed that Alexis is a great master to learn from.

  • Super comment Steve and good to have you back. Sorry you had a bad week.. Tell us what’s up if you want. I think you are right re the left wing and playing him in Ramsey’s role now and again. I struggle to see a midfielder in him though. He is an attacker with tons of thrust that needs developing further…. Alexis nr.2 would be something to aim for.

  • Shrill, excellent point re our style of football. Counter football suits him best, but many teams prefer to park the bus. And yes he will learn a lot from Alexis the master on how to crack those tight defences.

  • Frozen πŸ™‚

    I am starting to have doubts whether he will reach the high expectations we have for him. I think he needs to play a lot of games now to force through his potential and I don’t think he will get that chance going fwd this season. I would not sell him, but it is an option. I reckon he would benefit from a half season loan spell with regular starts, more so than being benched a lot, which I reckon will happen from Jan onwards.

  • I see you have gone for the controversial touch with this one?

    Obvious to me, if you play players on merit, then option 2 is the only one to apply?

    The plus points on Ox’ game:
    1, He has a better first touch than Alexis. Probably better than most in our squad?
    2, He has more than just pace when running the line, certainly more tricks than Walcott.
    3, His ‘instant’ pace is only matched by Bellerin, which puts him ahead of Cazorla, Wilshere and Ramsey?
    4, His willingness to take on a shot, and hit it with power, matched by Gnabry perhaps?
    5, His energy and drive is not far behind Alexis.

    But he is still learning, and this is where AW will take a different line to simply play the best players in form. Take for example our failure to see out games, prior to this run of three. Was AW getting the team to learn that he is not going to bale them out with a triple substitution every time they get into difficulties – e.g. Chambers getting skinned in the Swansea game? They have had to learn that defence is the team’s responsibility, and if one player is having trouble, they get someone to help – e.g Mert and the high line?
    Also, if a player goes into the team with a known confidence issue, AW might keep playing him to work through it – e.g Ramsey, Wilshere, Szczesny, and may be even Per Mert himself. Or in future, Walcott too? So with Ox it might be a case of the ‘1’ option, just to ‘freshen him up’, as he has done with Giroud.
    The big thing to remember is Ox is still young, and his best is yet to come. So for all the positives in his game, there are some minuses.
    1, He needs to learn to be more aware of his options. Going to the bye line and crossing is only useful if there are player in and around the box to cross to, and that decision has to be made the moment he crosses the halfway line. Not much point in turning inside if there are several bodies there, unless you are going to pass and move.
    He has got better, and will get better still.
    2, When he sets off, he needs a good idea of who is where. Again, is it touch and move, or run with it and see who has gone with you.. More important if he is in central midfield.
    3, Shot selection? Much harder to have absolute control over. A great shot is one that results in a goal, but taking the shot says more about confidence, and how that affects your technique. Take his half volley that struck the cross bar recently. It showed great confidence and technique, but between it going in the net and high, wide and and handsome will get different responses if he used the same decision making process? Age and experience will benefit here.
    4, I actually think he is learning fast on how to manage his resources of energy. You comment on him drifting out of games, whereas I have applauded him for not trying to do everything at full pelt, but only barely lasting an hour. I like it when play is on the far side his is just walking along keeping an eye on how the play is going. He needs to take a breather. He is not Alexis, but even he could take a breather every now and then? That sort of stamina builds up over the years, and Ox has many more in front of him to get to the top level.

    To conclude. If options one and two are properly applied, option 3 becomes laughable, and option 4 unthinkable!

    Best position? For now, on the right. If Theo gets back to his best, may be the two could work both flanks, in this interchangeable front line. There will have to be rotation to keep Welbeck and Gnabry still in the mix, especially if Giro remains the pillar for most games. That thought brings in Sanogo,and the looming presence of Akpom next season?

    Eventually, if the team evolves to a 4-1-2-3 attacking line up, then as JM suggests, one of the ‘2’ would be his natural home, but not for a good while yet, imo.

  • It’s called a discussion post, Gerry. πŸ™‚

    Good points and mostly agreed. I want to see a breakthrough now he is nearing 100 senior starts, and I say it again, something is (still) missing. Agreed on using his energy wisely, but that does not mean he is allowed to disappear in a game. But again master Alexis will show him the way, hopefully.

  • Hey there…bit of tough week for me too… Anyhow, up very early this morning (sleep pattern is all scrambled…) and thought I might add in my 2 (or 3) cents (pence?)…It’s a great topic (stolen by Arseblog this morning, in fact…), so well done (again), Total…

    Our set up provides plenty of opportunity for versatile attacking players who can start out wide. The Ox fits that description to a T and would appear to have it all: pace, power, a great first touch and fine technique on both shots and crosses. TA says something’s missing and I think he’s trolling me to (take the heat and) declare that he is correct… πŸ˜€ … I’ll call it decision-making but, in truth, I think it’s experience or confidence or simply the ability to pick the right tool at the right time…

    With so many recognizing his potential at such a young age, the Ox (like our other So’ton pluck, Theo Walcott) was thrust out into big-time football just a little early. (How young was he when he was labeled the “next Rooney,” for example?…) Clearly he’s got a LOT more tools than most (see again, Theo…) which makes honing the instinct about what to do all the tougher. So far he’s been at his best when he can be very direct and use his power and pace to run with the ball–his best moment this season was the way he started that fine counterattack goal at Swansea. His earliest impact (that CL match vs Milan) came by doing this and winning pens. Unfortunately, in English football, that attribute is not an unmitigated positive, as it can carry the label “diver.” I don’t think Ox is a diver at all (and in fact I’d like to see him work that angle a bit more at times, but then, I’m a cynic…) but I almost get the sense that it’s one of several inhibitions he’s carrying in his game at the moment. Hell will take audacious shots or send in beautiful crosses but these are inherently low percentage plays so there’s (almost) no harm (or risk) in trying. He could use one going in (or onto the head of a finisher) but he could also use some simpler well-executed passes which resulted in assists or key passes leading to a goal. Being strong with both feet AND good with high angled pull-backs across his body are more weapons, but alas, double edged swords, if they’re used in the wrong spot and lead to turnovers.,,,

    The problem he faces is that Arsenal need production NOW and that others in this same (very broad) role seem more able to deliver it. Clearly, as a starter, he’s favored over Lucas Poldolski and Tomas Rosciky, but newer buys, Alexis and Welbeck, are in ahead of the Ox (and Lulu seems more the super-sup if we need a goal). Injuries to Walcott and Ozil (and now Wilshere) would seem to mitigate and keep the opportunities there for him, as would the abysmal scoring form of Santi Cazorla and the iffy fitness and form of Aaron Ramsey. When it comes to raw potential, the Ox seems to have almost all of these guys beaten… Still, that potential must be realized (goals, assists, key plays…) and the question is how. I think AW gives Ox ideas but still, at the core, the player must see the game and build the ability to “know.” I think it’s too late for a loan spell, but an earlier one might’ve done him a world of good.

    The fans love his style so starts in home matches seem a good venue. I have to say, however, that I didn’t like seeing his name in the team-sheet on Weds and I thought (and the manager concurred…) that he was the logical first sub. That we instantly looked superior upon his removal (and looked better with the exact same 11 who started at WBA…) suggests trouble. More trouble will likely come his way if Theo ever gets match fit. With that guy already working on his next contract (exit strategy…) the Ox may get extra minutes for (the dreaded–and cynical…) “non-footballing reasons.” As such, we need to keep him, but he also needs to produce.

    If it were me, I’d try to push the Ox to score more goals by aggressively taking up positions in central attacking spots (off the shoulders of the opposing CBs). To do this he might have to get his older, more seasoned mates to fill his wide spots by way of aggressive communication. He’s got the power and first touch (with tricky turns…) to be an English Falcao (of sorts) despite his small stature. I’d love to see more interchange of roles up front rather than a campaign in the press…and that approach seems a bit dried up the way Theo and (more recently) Welbeck have worked it…

    Enough said. Sorry also to have missed the previous thread (another good one)… The team fought hard, stayed organized and committed, and finally overcame their own sloppiness and a well coached opponent. In the end, the three points were deserved. I’m quite concerned, however, about the trip to Stoke given their extra rest day and how much we had to give vs So’ton. I hope we get some good fortune there as I would think taking all 3 points will require it. But maybe a preview is coming?… πŸ˜€

  • Hey Seventeenhohohoho πŸ™‚

    Great comment and better than the post! πŸ™‚

    Sorry to hear you had a crap week as well. Hope it is looking a lot brighter now?

    You hit the nail on the head – Ox’s head indeed – to say he needs to use the proverbial more when playing his footie. I am not sure whether it would be too late for a loan deal. Five months at Swansea or Villa would do him a world of good I reckon. But Theo and Ozil need to return to full fitness first.

  • Versatility and too much potential are a curse…Just look at me, could’ve done anything I wanted with my life/career, but ended up as just a lowly house-husband… πŸ˜€

    Don’t sell yourself short…Your recent writing has been very strong, keep it up…Is there a match preview coming? I could do a quick one, but it would be pretty down-beat… 😦 Additionally, I think I’ve been a bit of a jinx with recent ones… lol…

    On the current topic…Overall, the potential is SO glaring with the Ox, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Still, he needs to find his spot. If a loan were to be considered, I’d say a contender in the next division (with an injury to one of their main men or potential #10s) would be the spot… Admittedly I don’t watch (hardly) any Championship footy, but he compares favorably with plenty of the #10s from the recently promoted teams (i.e., Vardy at Leicester or Taraabt at QPR, Puncheon at CP, etc.)… Given our injury problems (and Ox has had his share, too…) I just don’t see it… Maybe let him play at CAM if we get an easier draw for the FA cup… Or this next midweek in Instanbul…

    On that note, the manager has some tricky work to keep people fit and focused and to keep the play at a sufficiently high level for the week ahead…

  • great post from TA followed by two great long (post like) comments from the usual suspects 17HT and Gerry – damn its good to be back πŸ™‚

    Does anyone know the situation with Gnabry and Hayden injury wise? (i’m looking at you Gerry lol)
    I can see on the website Monreal and Walcott are out and even more worryingly Koscielny is being monitored, probably from being rushed back and playing three games in quick succession – I can see another injury developing there pretty quickly πŸ‘Ώ

  • πŸŒ„ 17, nothing is more important than looking after your family. Being a CEO and never come home before nine, travelling 48 weeks a year, leaving the care of the family to others is what I call a loser. You are my blog and stay at home soul mate. Keep it up buddy 😝

  • Evening Steve, The last I heard, from Hayden himself, was he was hoping to be ‘out on the field’ as from last Monday.

    Gnabry was listed as having a knee injury prior to the Southampton game. Which must be something new, as it was a thigh muscle problem that kept him out all season?

    As hey are not front line regulars they tend not to mention them as much.

    If you want to run your eye over the Β£31m youth, Diabolique, BT Sport are cover his next match tomorrow night 7.45pm.

    I am just going to glimpse the training pics to see if Gibbs and Kos are to be seen?

  • Thats good news on Hayden mate i hope he gets a start soon, how unlucky is Gnabry lol i hope its just a knock and nothing serious. I rely on your injury news mate, the website is rubbish at updating injury news when it doesn’t concern a star player.

    I might give that game a watch tomorrow if im in a good mood from our earlier win πŸ™‚

    Gibbs and Kos will be starting i think unless something goes drastically wrong by tomorrow.

  • Hi

    Brief one, with huge jet lag and insomnia here for some reason… An extra belgian beer may well help?! πŸ™‚ … Bon Secours Blonde de Noel Christmas beer for the curious…

    Anyway, I think lots,of folks get caught expecting, no matter how much they say otherwise, steady improvement. Me, big steps, long flats, some steps back to go forward. Thus, I’m with Dylan from Roch-cha-cha… Next Henry. Meanwhile, play him modestly to gain that refined sense of balance and choice.

    Off to begin trying to get some sleep, or at least dosing myself for it, as I’m effectively at least some of that CEO you noted earlier all too often. Very small 30-40 person company tho…

    Cheers — jgc

  • Yes, Gibbs doing a bit of stretching his legs. Ox looking happy. Debuchy too. Even Diaby I do believe?
    Matland-Niles is still in the mix, and what might have been Hayden, but only a back view, which might have been Sanogo, although he was reported injured midweek. Tall guy anyway.

    No sign of happy, smiley Podolski though, which is unusual?

    Woijech was with Martinez, and it might be a close call who get the nod tomorrow?

    But no sign of Kos ….

  • Another little update, it does look like Koscielny will miss tomorrow. May be to be saved for the Gala game. I still think the young Anderlecht team can do a number on Dortmund, who I believe are playing tonight – BT Sport channel 527 on Freeview(subs).

    If LK does sit it out, I think Bellerin will be given the RB berth, and Chambers to CB. Gibbs should be OK. Stoke have got a fair list of injuries too, especially with players that can cause us problems.
    The Gnabry thing is back to ‘lack of match fitness’. The very funny Arseblog podcast extra did suggest the possibility that the Gala game could be one for Alexis to sit out, especially if Dortmund look like getting a result. So that might be an opportunity for the Gnabbers to get a few minutes, or even a start if he is a used sub at Stoke?

    That podcast also pointed out just how congested the Christmas/New Year games are, with two lots only separated by 48 hours. So AW is going to have to get used to some rotation, especially the suspect Kos and over-worked Per? Up front too, as Alexis is used to a winter break, and Welbeck, who have both done their share already?

    Choppy waters ahead?

  • Only 4 missing off the UMF list – PRINCE, TOTAL, 17HT, and ALEX

    Just a reminder, but the list will close 7.0AM tomorrow … I have a busy day ahead of me.

    Retsub can you clarify which entry you want to use, as you have submitted two? See site for details, and reply. Thanks

  • I still have a slight hope Anderlecht may come through for us also Gerry, otherwise i would have said rest ALL our regular players and put out a side that has played the least amount of footy so far.
    In the same formation as against Dortmund it work look something like this:


    We simply don’t have the options to rest Gibbs, CC21 and BFG but you get my point – the rest have probably had the least amount of football of all the first teamers.

    I say go for it though and put out the strongest team possible – you never know what could happen in the Dortmund game πŸ™‚

  • Hey TA… I’m running around today but have one almost written… I might be able to send it your way here in a few minutes…if I can work the technology…(My ‘puter in a remote setting won’t work, but I might be able to transfer to the unit I’m on…) Otherwise, I couldn’t get anything to you before about midnight your time…

    I’ll keep you posted…

  • 17HT

    I have written a quick one as well. I could publish my quick and dirty one now and I can do yours tomorrow morning: what do you think?

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