Ox on playing central, starting Saturday and emulating Alves

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says he still harbours hopes of playing more regularly in the centre of midfield despite making a splash as a wing-back for Arsenal in the last two months.

The 23-year-old has started games in the middle of the park for both club and country this season, however, with pace, power and dribbling ability aplenty he’s also proved himself a useful weapon on the flanks; a position he’s been happy to occupy for the good of the team.

 

“I’ve spoken to the manager a few times and that [in the centre] is where he says he sees me ending up,” Chamberlain told press ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup Final.

“On a personal level I really enjoy playing in midfield. And the time I played there this year I enjoyed it and thought, this is where I want to be able to play moving forward.

“So yeah, maybe that is my main ambition to end up playing there. But I think it’s a tricky one to nail me down to one position still. Because my attributes, they do go hand in hand with playing out wide as well. And I think it just depends what the best fit for the team is. But I think long-term, I’d hope that I end up playing more central.”

Having picked up a minor hamstring strain three weeks ago, there was a doubt over whether the Ox would be available for the final game of the season. Thankfully, having missed previous FA Cup finals with injury, he’s been passed fit this time. That said, the player admits he faces stiff competition for a starting berth with Hector Bellerin returning to form in his absence.

“I’d love to start the game and play the whole game,” continued the Ox. “But team selection is tough. Hector has been doing really well. Who knows, I could play elsewhere, I’m not sure. That’s up to the boss.

“But as long as the team that goes out there puts in everything and gets the right end result, I’ll be just as happy as every single other Arsenal player and fan in the stadium.”

Just to prove he’s taking his wing-back responsibilities seriously, the Ox also revealed he’s been keeping tabs on the positioning of players who’ve made a name for themselves in wide defensive roles.

“When I’ve watched teams that play with five at the back and wing-backs, I’ve looked at their starting positions and positions out of possession because that comes a little bit more unnaturally to me,” he continued.

“I take note of anyone when they play. Tottenham play with that formation, Chelsea play with that formation. There’s a lot of teams who have played with that formation, so I watch all the full backs, the left back, the right back.

“There’s nobody in particular that springs to mind. When I’ve watched Dani Alves recently, he might not play the five at the back, but the way he plays, he marches on and he adds a lot in an attacking sense as well as defensively. Players like that, you watch and you learn from them.”

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27 Comments on "Ox on playing central, starting Saturday and emulating Alves"

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Trez

Yeah Ox, I’m just as confused as you are. I really thought you’d do well as an inverted winger on the left, but that didn’t work out. You are great as a CM, but I really think Ramsey is a better B2b CM and you’re not as great as Santi and Xhaka are as DLPs. So this is a dilemma. I’d play you as a CM ONLY if it’s in a 4-3-3 with Xhaka and Coq/Ramsey as the other 3.
I think you’d thrive under a better coach like Allegri. Sign the thing Ox.

clins

not just ox. under a better manager , lot of our players would thrive.

JJ\'s Bender

Saying flavour of the month Allegri is a better manager than Arsene is mind bogglingly wide of the mark.

Very average few years around small Italian teams, ran AC Milan into the ground, and then walked into a team that had been created by Conte (a good manager) with very little competition anyone other than Roma.

Nivlac

2 Champions League finals though.

Trez

This is 2017, not 2004. Allegri is by far a better manager than Wenger. He didn’t run AC Milan to the ground…he won the league, came second and then milan sold all their star players for mediocre ones and he left. Came to juve, took the same Juve team that Conte struggled to get past the quarter finals with to the finals of the ucl IN HIS FIRST SEASON. Gotten to the finals again with an inferior midfield to that of Conte’s Juve.
So please – take your Wenger love somewhere else. Only a fool would think Wenger has anything on Allegri.

Mein Bergkampf

When young players are approached by Arsenal they must look at Ox, Rambo, Jack, Theo, Gibbs and think, am I actually going to reach my potential here? You would have thought at least one of these extremely talented youngsters would have gone on to become a word class, indispensable member of the team. Arsenal have always been good at spotting talent but I’m not so sure we know how to nurture it anymore. By Wenger playing them all over the field it confuses players and leaves them unsure of their role at the club. Did Stevie G, Lampard or Rooney play anywhere but their natural positions when coming through the ranks?

PFo

Gibbs and Theo aren’t “extremely talented” by elite football standards. Jack’s career thus far has been absolutely decimated by injuries. Ramsey and the Ox are the two that I think really should have pushed on farther by now, but of those two, I think Wenger has done everything he could to give Ramsey a chance to shine, so if he hasn’t, it’s down to the player.

So that just leaves the Ox. I think his development has been slowed by a) the fact that he’s struggled for confidence at times, more than most players (not AW’s fault, just to do with his personality I reckon); b) the fact that others have been preferred to him so much (Theo out wide, Ramsey, Jack, Ozil, Santi, etc. in the centre); and c) the fact that he’s been shifted around so much. Those last two factors are very much Arsene’s fault. If Ox doesn’t sign a new contract and leaves this summer, I’ll be furious, as AW and the club will have completely blown the chance to develop a genuinely world class midfield talent, and one of our rivals will be stronger for it.

But even if that happens, it won’t prove Arsene has completely lost the ability to nurture talent.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

The real problem with Ox isn’t management–he’s injury prone and has spent a lot of his professional career on the sidelines. Being shifted here and there was an effort by Wenger to include him whenever possible. No manager raises star after star, that’s just beyond any sort of reasonable expectation of even the best managers.

Some have a more stellar record than others because more talent is thrown their way.

midunner

sign da ting…

oops meant offer da ting

PFo

Seriously, how can it be true that we haven’t even offered him a new contract yet?? Boggles the mind. When we do, it better be a serious pay bump (I’d put him on 120k a week, at least) or else his agent will convince him to jump ship to one of our rivals and we’ll be kicking ourselves for the mismanagement.

Pedant

Hope he plays, though I’d put Hector first at right WB. So either take a risk on him on the left, or he’s a sub that comes on and score the winner in extra time.

PFo

Unless the Ox isn’t really full fit, I’d say he’s still a better bet at rwb than Hector. Ox was one of our 2-3 best players during the period right before his injury. Hector is great running up and down the wing with pace, but the Ox is better at beating a man, and a much better crosser. But with all our injuries, if we still want to play the 3-4-3 we may not have a choice but to play them both: I’d put Ox on the right and Hector on the left.

Tim

Ox really nailed that interview.

Versatility might not work for everyone but players like Lahm who have attributes that satisfy a number of roles, then you play wherever the team needs you.

I love how he plays at RWB, but then again he was one of the only bright sparks in the squad when our season collapsed. He has shown how good he is at CM.

Just stay fit.

Q3 Technique

Losing the Ox this summer or next summer would be criminal. He’s on the cusp on becoming a world class player. He’s the only one of the original ‘British core’ which signed their contracts together to significantly improve.

Alex

Maybe he enjoys it but the team loses when he plays central…

Brendan from NY

If ox wasnt central in those ggames, i fear the losses would have be worse. He looked to be the only player trying at times

JDizzle

Don’t blame you mate.. with Hector competing for that right hand side position you’d be wise to look for a central spot!

Making Arsenal Great Again
Making Arsenal Great Again

Hector, is that you?

Wright on the money

I hope Arsenal offer him a contract and he signs it, we need players like Ox that can play different positions.

The Ox is a bit like Milner but better strong, pace and can play nearly everywhere.

One of the better players this season by far come on the Ox let’s win the cup.

FeckinBollix

Hopefully he doesn’t learn to be a cunt like Alves.

not so fed up

Think the line-up should be: Chec, bellarin, mert, holding, monreal, ox, Rambo, xhaka, ozil, Sanchez and welbeck

Goonie

Can we not throw in Ox and Bellerin and Ramsey? Sacrifice Welbz and just have Sanchez up front? I guess this isn’t the time for experimentation

TPz07

He has a fantastic attitude. I wish more players had an attitude like that.

Determined Culture

Has improved enough to deserve a new contract. Will get enough game time as wing back n cm next season.

Ozenal

This kid is going to be good

santori

In many ways this is an excellent match up.

Unlike recent FA cup finals, the big teams have taken this prestigious competition seriously again (which they should)’

Whilst we flatter to deceive for consistency, on our day, we are potentially an exciting out fit…on our day.

There are also some good match ups.

The current (or old versus the future)

Azpiculeta versus say Bellerin.

Terry or Cahill versus young Holding.

Ozil versus our ex playmaker Fabregas.

Quiet unassuming Matic versus Granit

Hazard versus Alexis

Costa verus Giroud (or Welbeck maybe but more Giroud IMO)

Ramsey will be critical you’d think in that midfield.

BUT also our width. If we elect to play BOTH Ox and Bellerin (with Chambo as an inverted left side), we can bypass their core strength (Matic and Kante) and double team with Alexis and Ozil.

Cech versus Courtois (Albeit Ospina may have his day in the sun)

Moses verus Iwobi.

I would say IF we won, theoretically we could say we are erratic but in England a strong side but for the fact we did not make the CL which puts a bit of a blotch on such a claim.

BUT its all to play for. Granit-Ramsey will have to be super solid for us in midfield.

santori

…………………….Giroud………………………..
………….Ozil………………….Alexis……………
Ox…………..Granit……Ramsey……….Bellerin
………..Monreal…..Per……….Holding…………
……………………..Ospina……………………….

We have to put pressure on the flanks and the channels.

Its 50-50 for me whether Giroud or Welbeck start. Both have strength and weakness. Really depends how adventurous or cautious Chelsea approach the start IMO.

Coquelin or Iwobi may be useful late on either in closing the game (the former of course) or chasing.

Also you never know with Theo. he’s the sort of character who may just come up with the main goods on the day.

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