Arsene Wenger says that playing as wing-back will help Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fulfil his potential as a central midfielder, a role the manager has often said is the one best suited to the 23 year old.
In his Arsenal career, the England international has played centrally, as well as on the flanks as part of a front three, but in the last two games has been deployed as a right wing-back after the switch to three at the back.
He was impressive in both games, providing a fantastic assist for Nacho Monreal at Wembley on Sunday, but Wenger believes this is a short-term positional change for him, and his future still lies in the middle.
“In the future, on long term, he will play in central midfield,” he said. “What he is doing at the moment will help him to be a successful central midfielder as well. But at the moment I feel that this wing-back role has suited him well.
“First of all he can use well his power. And it suits him well as well because he is facing the game when he gets the ball.
“It’s a different kind of game to be marked by somebody, get rid, turn and go forward, or to face the game. I think he looks to be comfortable when he is running at people and when he has the ball at his feet.
“When we speak about systems, some systems give a little advantage to some players because it just suits them a little bit better, comforts their qualities. He has maybe benefited from it.”
Having spoken a number of times previously about the self-doubt that has seemed to inhibit Oxlade-Chamberlain, the manager has seen promising signs in that regard too.
“I think Alex is one of the players who has developed very well mentally,” he said.
“He is more positive, more confident, more mature. He was sometimes a bit negative with his own performances.
“I think on that front he is much better now.”