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Arsenal's Oxlade-Chamberlain: Walcott version 2.0?
He's younger, stronger built, and almost as fast as Theo Walcott, and can pass a ball through midfield, a skill the aforementioned currently injured star has been criticized for his lack of, by both myself and others alike. He's also English, and came through the same academy, can play with either foot, on either wing.
Enter Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Back from injury and expected to be on the bench at minimum for today's game against Aston Villa it's easy to think that this could well be the start of something special. Arsenal without Walcott lack pace in their established first team. The Ox can change that.
But whereas Theo is viewed as a possible central striker, Arsene Wenger has always said he sees O-C as more of an attacking midfielder. His presence in the team would allow players like Ramsey, Ozil, Podolski and Cazorla to move slightly further forward, working as "False 9"s or as Bergkampesque number 10s, supporting Giroud and being ready to utilize the space as players trail in The Ox's path.
Even without the ball, his pace and movement can bring players towards him, dragging them out of position, thus allowing his team-mates to ping passes together in the trademark Arsenal way, creating chances and openings for Giroud, Bendtner, or whoever finds themselves furthest forward at any given time.
Good for the team, and with regular games, good for the national team too, Oxlade-Chamberlain has a chance to shine. But he's not without competition for the up-for-grabs vacant spot in the Gunners squad. Just as fast, and physically imposing, is Serge Gnabry. A young German with a screamer of a shot on him, Arsene Wenger has gone on record saying that he could force his way into the German World Cup side which sounds remarkably similar to The Ox's England chances.
Both lack Walcott's experience, and proven goalscoring ability, but that will come with opportunities, and with an approximated 6 months available while Theo recovers from his injury, said opportunities have come. Whether it's Alex, or Serge who seizes the day, remains to be seen. Perhaps tonight's game against an Aston Villa side whom Arsenal will be seeking revenge against for their opening day loss, might give us a clue as to who can come out on top.
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