Oxlade-Chamberlain relished new centre-midfield role

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is happy he was able to play a part in Arsenal’s vital 1-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday, and enjoyed playing an important role in the middle of midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey, playing a deeper role than usual.

The England international has spent most of his relatively young Arsenal career on the wing but he replaced Mikel Arteta in the heart of the park after just 28 minutes when the stand-in captain struggled with a reoccurring injury.

The Ox has also been utilized centrally recently when making cameo’s off the bench, and always injects fear in the opponents defence with his pace and trickery. His distribution is fast improving along with his composure on the ball as well as the defensive side of his game. Arsene Wenger has always earmarked the 19-year-old for a transition to a more central role within the squad and he is relishing the opportunity to show what he can do there.

Oxlade-Chamberlain told Arsenal Player:

I’ve been waiting for any sort of chance to play and I’ve been getting a few minutes off the bench so to be able to come on in the first half was a bit of a surprise.

I was aware that Mikel might have struggled a bit so mentally I prepared as if I was going to start the game. That helped me.

To be able to come on midfield is something I really look forward to doing and it was an opportunity for me to show the boss I was capable of playing there.

I had to change my game and play a bit more defensive and screen [the defence] and show a different aspect to my game. I’m glad that I got an opportunity to do that today.

The most important thing was that we didn’t concede any goals and we kept it quite tidy throughout the game.

Chambo has started to come into his own in the tail end of this season. He experienced second-season-syndrome earlier in the campaign after he struggled to really take up where he left off last year after such an exhilarating first season, but has started to show plenty of maturity in his development.

Next season looks like it will be an exciting one for the youngster with his versatility a key component to gaining game time among a talented, young squad of Arsenal players.

 

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