Attacking mentality helping Ox in the box

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says his upturn in form in front of goal is down to him learning to play more like a forward and less like an orthodox midfielder.

The England international has hit the back of the net six times in 27 appearances this season; his best tally in a single campaign since joining the Gunners in 2011.

Reflecting on why he’s proving more of a handful for defenders, the 23-year-old admitted that he’s been working hard on resisting the temptation to drop deep when Arsenal are in possession.

“When you’re playing in a team like Arsenal and there are talented players all over the pitch, you just have to rely on them to find you when you make runs,” the Ox told the Arsenal Magazine.

“In the past maybe where I’ve been more of a midfielder than a forward, I was more used to coming to the ball and wanting to get the ball, so I was picking up the ball maybe in deeper positions and not in behind the defence, which is obviously where you’re the biggest threat.

“This year I’ve just worked mostly on making runs in behind and just trusting the boys to find you with balls over the top. That’s when you unlock them and when you’re most dangerous so I think for me personally, what I’ve worked on the most this season is not coming towards the ball as much.

“That wasn’t always a natural part of my game. As I said, being more of a midfielder I was always more lingering on the edge of the box for the ball to come back out or being the person that’s crossing the ball, so I’ve tried to work on getting into more dangerous positions and scoring more goals this year.”

In addition to his goal tally, the Ox also has five assists to his name in all competitions, third in the squad behind Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

At a time when he’s looking to earn himself a new deal at the Emirates – his current contract ends in the summer of 2018 – the improved efficiency in the final third is certainly welcome.

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