Thoughts on Joel Campbell’s Performance Against Swansea
Injuries, they say, are part and parcel of the the beautiful game.
The question is – how do teams respond to injury crisis? It’s not every squad that has the same depth with the Arsenals of this world. Take a team like AFC Bournemouth for instance – their hit man, Callum Wilson, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and his replacement from Crystal Palace, Glenn Murray, hasn’t come up with the goods yet. If anything happens to Murray, I’m pretty sure that the team will be down to their bare minimums, so when I think of the fact that Arsene Wenger could still find a player to play on the right flank, when six potential players for that position were out injured, it’s a testament on the depth of the Arsenal squad.
Joel Campbell has been so far down the pecking order at Arsenal, that people even wondered why he was still at the club. With loan moves to Lorient, Real Betis, Olympiakos and Villarreal, he didn’t just seem to convince people that he could make the grade at the club. Many Gunners kept a keen eye on him in the last World Cup in Brazil and were probably elated for his goal against Uruguay but watching him play consistently for his nation in the tournament made people have different opinions of the lad.
This season, he was obviously out of favor and was used sparingly by the boss but when the time came for him to stand up and be counted, Arsene Wenger did what great managers would always do – talking him up in the Press as well as raising the player’s hopes and confidence. His performance against Sheffield Wednesday didn’t light up any fireworks because the team as a whole struggled badly on the night but he made some tackles and showed off his incredible work rate. Late on, he had an attempt that missed the far post by a lick of paint but he was going to get another shot against Swansea. The difference was that this time, he was going to play with better players.
The team made Campbell very comfortable and they didn’t have any hassles feeding him with the ball. From his performance, you could see that he was trying really hard to impress his manager and he had a couple of half chances that he blasted wide when a pass to a teammate would have been a better option. According to stats kings, Squawka, Campbell made four tackles, three clearances and two interceptions which showed his good defensive side depsite the fact that he was deployed as an attacker.
However, Mesut Ozil in his assisting awesomeness, created a lovely chance for Campbell, and the Costa Rican forward finished aplomb to put the icing on a well-baked cake for the Gunners. After capping his Premier League debut with a goal, the forward spoke about his delight in scoring his first goal for his team,
“I’m very happy. I had to wait for this moment and now we have to keep working to strengthen our team.
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.”
The fact that the manager trusted him enough was a great show off faith but I’m more delighted with the fact that Campbell took this chance well and gave a good account of himself. I don’t really expect him to do a Francis Coquelin because he can never be ahead of Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and to some extent, Theo Walcott, for a regular place on the right flank, but I’m proud of the fact that there are some fringe players in the team that can still make a meaningful contribution when the time comes.
Campbell is odds on to start Wednesday’s all-important clash with Bayern Munich as well as the North London Derby before we face another international break but if he continues to play well, there will be no apparent need to rush Ramsey and Ox into action, because they are believed to return to full fitness after the break.
Here’s to Joel Campbell – hard work really pays, you just need some luck to show what you’re made of.
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