Friday, December 1, 2023

Wenger moots central role for box-to-box Ox

Arsene Wenger says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has the speed and dribbling capability to nail down a role in the centre of midfield.

The England international has played most of his football in a wide position since moving to Arsenal in 2011 but was handed a chance to impress in the middle against Sunderland in last weekend’s 3-1 FA Cup win.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s game with Liverpool, the boss noted: “He has the attributes to play in central midfield, he has that important quality – a little surge to get out of pressure.

“One of the things to get out of pressure is to have a little dribble to get away from the guy who closes you down and nobody has that more than Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“That is why he could be suited for the modern game because he has that capacity to get out of the pressure.

“That is why I played 4-3-3 [against Sunderland] because he is really suited to be right-sided, box to box in a 4-3-3 – he really fits in there.”

While most would agree that Chamberlain’s passing and decision making was a little erratic on Saturday, his ability to burst away from opponents later in the game provided the perfect springboard for a series of counter attacks.

Arseblog News recalls the 22-year-old fulfilling a similar role in 2012 against AC Milan in the Champions League as we gloriously failed to overturn a 4-0 first leg deficit. The Ox – field in the middle due to an injury crisis – was mighty fine in that 3-0 victory, with his powerful, pounding runs scaring the bejesus out of the Italians.

Since then, opportunities in the heart of midfield have been few and far between, in part because the boss has had several more orthodox options and possibly because he’s been trying to ‘shorten the technique’ of Chamberlain by playing him on the touchline; much like he’s done with Messrs Ramsey, Wilshere…and er…Diaby.

Given our central options – when everyone is fit – it’s hard to see the Ox getting regular game time, but it’s an experiment we’re happy to observe for the time being.

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Post January Blip

It’s not hard to see him playing there in the long run, but unfortunately he’s been caught in possession a couple if times and we’ve been punished for it. Although it’s been a pretty tough season for him so far, I see no reason why he can’t turn it around from now until May. I want this kid to do it big so bad because I see the tremendous potential in him. Up the box to box Ox!


Not trying to be difficult, but where/how do you see that potential? I don’t disagree that I think he will improve, but I think that label does him little service, as it does many players. It comes with an aura of inevitablity (despite the term) but that clearly isn’t the case. This idea that if we stick rather than twist he’ll almost certainly fufil whatever potential we award him. I think Ox will certainly improve and I like him as a character and a player, although his current form isn’t very desirable. Saying that he’ll be 23 in August, so… Read more »

bims lay

Well, depend on what you see or saw in him? imo. ‘Potential’ by definition describes latent talent in a player which has a high likelihood of being realised. If you watched Ox play a few years back, or when he was bought from southampton, he was this ‘wonder kid’ that the whole country was raving about. Power, pace, trickery, vision….the whole package. So, we will agree that the natural talent was there from the beginning. Therefore, the fact that unfortunately, his development has been slowed down by injuries, cannot take that natural ability away, because it is God’s gift, which… Read more »


Achilles heel for the Ox is his decision making on final third. How many times have seen him making a surging run skinning players left and right, only to fluff his lines at the final step? Frankly he doesn’t score\assist enough to be in the front three. Whereas, at the center of midfield one expects him to come good on this strengths (dribbling and physicality). Yes, he has turned over possession on few occasion and we saw it coming back straight away to hurt us. This aspect of his game needs to ironed out. Maybe, playing closer to his team… Read more »


What he really needs is a better first touch. That lets him down too often to have him playing in the center of the pitch. At least once a game he seriously miscontrols an easy pass and the ball spins out a yard or two away from him. You can’t get away with that in the center of midfield, it’s going to lead to a turnover and suddenly the striker is running at your back 4 and you’re in big trouble.


Arsene knows.

La Défense

In slightly unrelated news, Stan Kroenke is being called a ginormous asshole, a greedy pig and other such choice words, for moving his NFL team from St. Louis to LA – despite the city of St. Louis offering to build the Rams a brand new stadium. Good thing he wouldn’t dare pull that stunt with The Arse. Right?


Slightly unrelated?!


At 22, I feel he is very close to step up another gear. He’s put some decent performances this season and he reminds me of Ramsey before his 13/14 season. He’s been a bit unlucky with goals (hit the posts a few times now) but he could turn it around anytime soon.


Indeed. He should be allowed in the middle. I think he would form a good partnership with a defense-minded midfielder as well. No doubt about his skill – of which he is aware of. In my opinion, he needs to get used to playing where he he can flourish really well. Why not skip the ‘shorten-the-technique-experience’ and give him responsibility. On a personal, and as a first born, more responsibility being handed down to me made me work hard and I did things I did not know I coud achieve. My point? It might not be about skill with Ox.… Read more »

Keep the faith

I know theres there some fans that are slightly frustrated at the Ox and I understand the frustration. But personally I hope he keeps getting games and keeps working hard and I really really can’t wait for him to furfill the rich potential he has

bims lay

i agree with you because i also share the same sentiments. Ox, in my books is one of the most talented ‘youngsters’ on Arsenal’s books (yes!, at 22, he is still only a youngster, and a lot of fans, myself included, some times forget that). i think he gets so much pressure from fans (and himself btw) because of the tremendous potential that he is. He was one of those that broke into the 1st team at a very early age and from what we saw then, we all expected big things from him, (much like the hype around the… Read more »

Mustrum Ridcully

I think he would be more careful with possession if he had a few more games in the Centre. He needs to work on his interceptions and defence but he has all the attributes for a CM.


In my opinion, i think Jack’s got the better dribble to get away from the opposition in the middle. Ox’s got the pace though to run well clear.


I agree. Wenger is extremely clever as he is generally looking long term when we look at it as a game by game basis. Why did he play Ramsey or Ozil out of their positions and lump them on the wings? Surely a waste? Or was it because Arsene was developing their stamina, defensive discipline and touch? If you look at Ozil now, and the Ozil at Madrid, the one now is a more complete player and has the stamina to last the full 90 in the PL – which is way harder than La Liga. I personally think Ox… Read more »


They’re both very good at it, but I don’t think anyone in the league beats Cazorla for ball control in tight spaces. Big fan of all of them

Mertesacker's Droopy Sack

The interesting and intriguing thing to think about is what this team will look like in three years or so. It seems we have a lot of players, perhaps a surplus, who are high-potential prospects being groomed for a central role by Wenger. If Jack is the natural replacement for Santi, then where does that leave the Ox? A 4-2-3-1 would presumably consist of a midfield of a Jack and Coq DM partnership, Ozil in the middle as CAM, Sanchez and Walcott (or Campbell) on the wings. Where do the Ox, Chambers, Zelalem, Crowley, probably Elneny, the Jeff, and all… Read more »

Mertesacker's Droopy Sack

And of course, where the hell would Ramsey play? Would he still be on the right or would he move more central?


I think a little more rotation of players without waiting for forced injury rotation. If in fact these players are of a quality that they might be frustrated to just sit on the bench in reserve, and we might have to sell them, then efficient rotation can be the answer. I am a somewhat new fan to what we call soccer in the USA, but I can’t believe the number of injuries so many players get, and I’m not just talking about Arsenal players. I thought American football had a lot of injuries, but I think International football is worse.… Read more »


I thought he had a fine game against Sunderland. I don’t recall his passing being erratic.


The Ox needs to get a bit more angry on the field! Show some aggression, demand the ball and believe! He’s too passive and lacking in presence. All the ability in the world but needs to get a bit nastier.

Crash Fistfight

I had visions of Dodgeball there – I’m picturing you as Patches O’Houlihan, Mick.


I’ve always admired Patches! Curious as to why he hasn’t been named as a possible successor to Arsene?

Kennington Gunner

Theo was happy to self-proclaim consistent support in Patches

Mertesacker's Droopy Sack

If I recall correctly, Patches was electrified to death, which may explain him not being named as a successor. Seems to me having a coach who is dead would be a risky move by management.


You’re very old school.


He played well there against palace last year


Do you mean the 2-0 vs palace from the 13/14 season? 2 really nice goals from the Ox, and for me that’s been his best performance so far!

Fool of a Took

One of our more frustrating players to watch. You can clearly see that he has all it takes to become a top player, he has the technique, the pace, the shooting boots and the sweet passing foot. But he lacks proper decision making. When he thinks “right” he always does something great, but most of the times he gets his decision worong and it amounts to nothing.

Needs to become smarter on the pitch. Proper talent!

Man Manny

Coquelin broke through like a fox
Campbell took his chance in both hands
The next in line is the Ox
I see much celebration in the stands


Sounds like a grime bar.


Man Manny

Thanks for the compliment.


what he really needs is a season on loan preferably to a premier league team where he can play 90 minutes week in week out. Look at the maturity in Campbell’s game as a result of being a regular for years. Worked wonders for Wilshere and I always think of Tony Kroos at leverkusen when Bayern was parked with talent ahead of him. Pretty soon the likes of Iwobi and The Jeff will need to occupy his role a squad player. If he went out and did well, it would be easier to replace the likes of Santi when the… Read more »


He was incredible that night vs Milan, there’s no doubt he can do it. Shouldn’t he have had more opportunities there by now based on the strength of that game alone? Will he ever get the chance to prove he can do it on a regular basis? We’ll see


He certainly has the physical ability and potential to play in the middle as well as on the wings, but needs to become more consistent and more careful with the ball (esp when playing centrally). The challenge for Ox has and will be finding a way to get into the squad consistently enough to be able to continue to play through his growing pains similar to Coquelin’s opportunity last year as well as with players such as Bellerin. It’s more difficult for Ox because he plays in our deepest positions and even the injury crisis we’ve faced it’s been tough… Read more »


Maybe take over the reigns from rosicky when he calls it a day. But for now, definitely would prefer rosicky.


gives the ball away far to much and decision making is poor mostly makes the wrong pass or decision to dribble to much instead of pass great potential but overratted by most campbell is better


Bet he knows how to use punctuation though.



Coq au Vin

And he knows the difference between to, too and two.


Our Ox runs from box-to-box.

My name is Jeff

I do not like Green Eggs and Ham
I do not like them Sam-I-Am.

(What, we’re not doing Dr. Seuss?)


He had a storming 30 mins against bayern 2 years back as well. needs to channel his ability better and add some more end product, injuries really haven’t helped. needs confidence – let’s hope he does an arsharvin tonight and puts 4 past those merseyside wankers, then does that sturridge dance in front of the kop.


For me, the Ox is a versatile player who can operate anywhere in midfield. But his recent form hasn’t been good; he needs to sort himself out.

If we are serious about winning the title then tonight’s game is one that we must win. Injury-ravaged Liverpool are there for the taking and must be comfortably beaten to show that we mean business. If we fail to turn up again, a la Southampton, and lose or even draw then we can forget about winning the Premier League.

I think we’ll see off the Mugsmashers 3-1.

bims lay

who is this masquerading as fatso?….a positive comment,several thumbs up, (mine included, i am ashamed to say!) …no doom and gloom?

Will the ‘real fatso’ please come back…we miss your wind ups!


I like this fatso! This fatso has less stress. This fatso has a happy life. I like it when people are happy. If fatso is happy, Arsene/ Arsenal must be doing something right.


I think “Fats” is a nicer name…

Naija Gunner

I guess fatty is changing for the better!


Box-to-bOxlade Chamberlain

Tarquin Farquar

The kids confidence is shot. He was very unlucky that almost every time he lost the ball we conceded. Please god his confidence comes back and we have a player.

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