Why the Premier League is still the best in the world, the Ox is a future star and Sol has a point
For two of a league's representatives to suffer Champions League elimination on successive evenings will inevitably evoke doubts and criticisms. But the Premier League is still the best league in the world.
The fact that Bayern Munich and Barcelona are a class above Arsenal and Manchester City is indisputable. They are technically superior and the better sides, but to question the Premier League's quality would be imprudent.
When Borussia Dortmund and Bayern charted an all-German European Cup final last May, many cited the Bundesliga as the best. With Pep Guardiola's side now boasting a twenty point advantage, the lack of excitement is obtrusive, a stark contrast to the Premier League's propensity to entertain and surprise.
On the basis of two eliminations in a week, it has not been a good week for English football. But a positive Arsenal and English football as a whole can extract is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's outstanding display at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night.
The 20 year-old excelled in Bavaria, wreaking havoc in the usually assured Bayern defence. It was his dearth of fear which gave him the platform to skip past five players and then earn a deserved free-kick.
Chamberlain relishes the stellar stages, scoring a wonderful goal at the Maracana in a friendly match against Brazil and producing an excellent display full of vibrancy on Tuesday night. For a player of his tender age to resist the intimidation of the big occasions is commendable.
But neat footwork, speed and lack of fear are not the only attributes which the Arsenal winger boasts. Determination is another of his superb traits, as he has frequently proven. He twice atoned for two clumsy errors in the FA Cup quarter-final against Everton last Saturday, with ambition and a strong desire to do well shining through.
His fantastic displays when unfortunate injures have eluded him will not have gone under the radar of Roy Hodgson's observant eyes.
England need him in Brazil.
England also need to solve a complicated dilemma. When Sol Campbell claimed he would have captained his country more than on the three occasions that he did, outrage reigned at his remarks made in his autobiography - "Sol Campbell - The Authorised Biography". But the former Tottenham, Arsenal and Portsmouth defender possess an underlying veracity.
The 39 year-old claimed during the week that his chances of captaining England would have been enhanced were he white.
"If I was white, my chances of captaining England would have been enhanced. Look at it this way. Take an African country which has a kid who's white. He grows up to be a wonderful player and wants to be captain. I can understand it might not be easy with the majority black people".
And as proof, he refers to the Football Association preferring Michael Owen as captain, claiming the former Liverpool man did not possess the demanded traits to fit the bill of national skipper.
"His face fitted more than mine" he says. And he has a point.
We know that 25% of the players in the Premier League and Football League are of a black and ethnic minority origin.
Only 12 are captains. Only 13%.
He may have vitriol spewed at him for his powerful comments, but there is an indisputable sense of truth behind them.
He has also done the Beautiful Game a load of good. It needed its flaws to be highlighted, debated and hopefully solved.
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