All Guns Blazing: How Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can reboot his Arsenal career

10:52 07 January 2016

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain applauds the fans. Picture: John Walton/PA

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain applauds the fans. Picture: John Walton/PA


In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti takes a look at the perennially prodigious but underachieving England winger.

In the age of social media, there are always going be lightning rods in underachieving teams. For nearly three years, Mesut Ozil has shouldered the majority of the blame at Arsenal; Olivier Giroud is another, while Per Mertesacker and even Mathieu Flamini are in the same boat.

Yet a startling statistic in Saturday’s fortunate win against Newcastle revealed a candidate who has strangely been shielded from such criticism: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Across the Premier League in 2015, the perennially prodigious winger produced a grand total of no goals and no assists – whichever way you look at it, that’s not much of a case for the defence.

There are a few good reasons why there has only been muted acknowledgement of the England international’s stagnation. Firstly, his injury record has long been atrocious; in 2015 alone, he missed a total of 142 days with four separate problems.

Secondly, in theory he has everything: at various points in his north London career, he’s shown an eye for a pass, for a goal and consistently been one of the quickest, most exciting dribblers at the club. At the start of every season, he’s a player many predict will finally have a breakthrough – partly because, and thirdly, he’s young, humble and English, which buys him some slack even from rival supporters.

The issue is, however, that for a while now he has simply looked bereft of any confidence. Earmarked for an eventual role in midfield, his lack of a final ball and defensive lapses have seen even the nearly-sold Joel Campbell edging ahead of him in the pecking order out wide. So what’s the problem?

More than anything, it looks like a player just placing too much pressure on himself. Oxlade-Chamberlain has often spoken of his ex-professional father’s constructive criticism, but I wonder if such constant self-reflection is beginning to inhibit the natural flair that won crowds over in his debut 2012/13 season.

The good news is that at just 22, he is still nowhere near crisis point. To get back on track, he could do worse than looking to the form of Aaron Ramsey a few seasons ago. Another prone to try too hard, the Welshman simplified his game, doing the basics right before the superstar of 2013/14 emerged.

Following a similar path would surely do ‘The Ox’ no harm. We all know how fast he can run, but perhaps he’s got to remember how to walk first.

Follow me @alexbellotti


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 07:30

Unbeaten Archway light-middleweight Tony Milch intends to demonstrate his championship credentials when he returns to the ring at York Hall next month.

Yesterday, 07:15

On paper at least, the Gunners face a fairly straightforward contest against a misfiring Middlesbrough side at the Emirates on Saturday. Indeed, William Hill’s 12/1 odds, posted in favour of an away win, provide a clear indication of the strength of Arsenal’s favouritism.

Thu, 08:00

Islington BC’s Jerome Campbell praised his coaching team after reaching the last four of the National Development Championship with a confident display on Sunday.

Thu, 07:15

Oleg Yurkevyah and Constantin Tronciu both netted hat-tricks for Niva FC as they thrashed Wounded Knee 8-0 in the Hackney & Leyton League Premier Division.

Wed, 21:51

Arsenal’s first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.

Wed, 15:13

Andy Maud finished second on his Metropolitan League debut to lead Highgate Harriers to victory in their opening race of the season at Claybury.

Tue, 13:33

Six successive Premier League wins on the bounce mean Arsenal take on Middlesbrough on Saturday at the Emirates as joint leaders.

Tue, 01:06

Theo Walcott has warned his Arsenal teammates not to be complacent ahead of their Champions League match against Bulgarian opponents Ludogrets at The Emirates on tomorrow evening.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now