Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Gives his Manager Something to Think About
Last night’s clash with Reading was a testament of the depth of the current Arsenal squad. As predicted, Emiliano Martinez played in goal with Kieran Gibbs, Rob Holding, Gabriel Paulista and Carl Jenkinson in front of him. Jenks was clearly elated in returning to first team football after such a long time out of the game. In midfield, Mohamed Elneny played alongside AInsely Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi with Lucas Perez flanked by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jeff Reine-Adelaide.
It was a very interesting game as the fringe players played very well and it would have been a dream return for Jenkinson when he was clean through on goal but his shot got parried to his path by Ali Al-Habsi. Jenks had a second bite of the cherry but his header looped over the bar. The Gunners opened the scoring when the Ox bore down on goal and blasted a shot to Al Habsi’s far post, giving the keeper no chance to make a save. he had attempted the same kinda effort early on but it sailed off the mark by a lick of paint. After a fairly balanced second half, Oxlade-Chamberlain scored what proved to be the winner with a lashed effort that deflected past the Reading goalie and that put the game beyond doubt.
There was a cameo appearance for Chris Willock and it was good seeing Olivier Giroud back in action after quite a long time out. He had one powerful header that was saved by the goalie and he can pat himself on the back for a good performance as he assisted the goal that sealed off the game for his club. Arsenal’s reward for the win over Reading is a quarterfinal clash against Southampton. The Gunners had faced them a few weeks ago and had Santi Cazorla to thank as his late penalty changed one point to three in an instant. Elsewhere, Manchester United would host West Ham, Liverpool would host Leeds and Hull City plays Newcastle.
For those that don’t know, this is turning out to be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain best scoring return for the club as he has already netted five goals for the club this season. He got his first goal in the curtain raiser of the season against Liverpool, got into the party in the trouncing of Ludogorets but the EFL Cup seems to be the competition he savors the most with three goals so far.
One wonders if his virtuoso performances in recent weeks would swing things in his favor with the games coming thick and fast. Following Arsenal’s draw with Middlesbrough, Arsene Wenger would want the lads to bounce back against the struggling Sunderland and he would want his team to be fired up for that game. With many first team regulars rested, there would be a couple that would be raring for more action and I’m sure the Ox falls into this category.
Following a slump of form, he lost his place in the side as Wenger changed his outlook but he has done his bit to turn up with good performances and now, it’s down to the manager to decide whether he deserves a first team berth in the Premier League game this weekend.
At least, he has given his manager something to think about.
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