Wenger: Theo renaissance has inspired Ox

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Arsene Wenger says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s improved form has been inspired by Theo Walcott’s renaissance this campaign.

The England international, 23, scored both goals for Arsenal as they beat Reading 2-0 on Tuesday night to reach the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup. The brace takes the Ox’s tally for the season to five, already his best season tally since joining the Gunners in 2011.

Reflecting on Chamberlain’s purple patch, the boss told press after the game that hard work and focus in training is paying dividends for a player coming into the prime of his career.

“Before, sometimes you felt he acted in front of goal like he didn’t deserve to score,” said Wenger. “Now he has added some belief to his finishing. You have hope every time he has the ball that something can happen.

“He is of course, powerful but he finishes well. He has added that to his game — that’s linked with confidence. He has worked very hard and is following Walcott in the same way. They are lifting each other.

“He is sharper, more determined. He has worked a lot mentally to be focused. I think it comes out every day in training and now it’s starting to come out in games.

“He’s not a young player anymore; he’s now 23 and at 23 you become a finished article. Before 23 you learn your job; at 23 you become more consistent, you know what’s expected of you, you know how to deal with the pressure, the competition inside the squad.

“He was so talented so young, in the national team so young that people forget they are still young players.”

On whether Chamberlain is now pushing for a regular place in his starting XI, Wenger added: “He’s not a long way away from the starting XI because he played against Ludogorets, he played here which was expected, but Ludogorets was a very important game. He came on against Middlesbrough on Saturday and I feel that he is regularly involved.”

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Getso gunner
Getso gunner

That can only be good for the team and us (fans). Hope to see Iwobi start scoring with regularity too

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Excellent performance from our Ox in the box, keep it up!

Ox in the Box
Ox in the Box

Well thank you, but when it comes to kicking the ball I feel Alex might be a bit better than me.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Erm, you mean Alex Iwobi?

PJ
PJ

very mature and humble there in my honest opinion

Little Mozart
Little Mozart

The Ox has enjoyed a decent start to 16/17. So weird to think he has never scored more then four goals in a season until now.

Greg

3 and 5 this seaosn so far 😉

Wenger's Economics Degree
Wenger's Economics Degree

I see Theo and Ox like Venus and Serena Williams (not saying they’re world beaters)

But I think Ox is technically better and given time he’ll prove the better of the two. Just like Serena and Venus.

I’ve always rated him highly but he’s clearly a confidence player. I’m more surprised when Walcott performs consistently well.

Pearson
Pearson

Ox and Theo are much prettier than those two
Up The Arsenal

Gideon Tightbutt
Gideon Tightbutt

Does that mean Wilshere is Tim Henman?

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

Borning in interviews? Gotta be Ramsey surely?

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

In fairness to Venus she does have a chronic debilitating illness which has serenely hampered her over recent years (on top of injury). Serena is still the superior player though. Also, I’ve met Venus, she’s lovely.

SB
SB

The sort of competition we hoped for.

Is also good to see the British core fighting rather than fading.

Goontang
Goontang

Would love to see the ox start in the middle of the park this weekend with coquelin and ozil. We need abit more creativity and penetration which unfortunately elneny just doesnt seem to bring. Great work rate though, but i think coquelin brings enough tireless energy to our midfield already.

Greg

Did you watch the game last night? You judge Elneny over 270 minutes playing a role he never played before…

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

I’d like to see Ox get a go at CM and actually, I recall Iwobi playing there too at a point last season. Either way we surely can’t play 2 DMs again against a team we know will have 10 men behind the ball. Back in the day (like 2010 lol) this would have called for a 4-4-2 but that doesn’t work with Ozil at 10.

Goontang
Goontang

Wenger “ox is not a young player anymore at 23/ sometimes people forget he is still a young player”.

Right then.

Greg

I remember Wenger saying that Theo needed a bit more time…at 27 🙂 but nevermind, happy to see those 2 performing again.

Lord Bendtner
Lord Bendtner

Theodore Oxerfield

Aditya
Aditya

Oxencart Chamberpot

Nairobi's_DB10
Nairobi's_DB10

I like the Ox, he works hard. But this assumption that he has a better “footballing brain” than Theo is harsh and simply not true. Based on what exactly? Theo get’s into better positions, assists more, scores more, defends more(this season atleast). Can the Ox do this in the future or even this season? Certainly. But even on tonight’s evidence(clearly a consensus on this being his best showing this season) I am yet to see any evidence to support claims he is technically better than Theo. Let’s just be happy our wingers are stepping up to the plate and chipping in with goals without using a good outing by winger x to downplay the importance of winger y.

Campbell's forehead
Campbell's forehead

He’s definitely technically better than Theodore. The Ox can player centre mid which I don’t think you would find Theo there. They’re 2 players with different and varying qualities.

John C
John C

I don’t think the Ox can play centre midfield, in fact i think him being played in centre midfield is why his form and confidence dropped so much, it confuses his game as he doesn’t have the attributes to influence a game 40-50 yards from goal.

He’s a winger and should be kept there.

Campbell's forehead
Campbell's forehead

He had one of his best games in the middle of the park against AC Milan a few years back. Yes, it was one game but it shows he has the potential to play there. I don’t think you can attribute his loss of form to a change of positions – I that was more down to him being injured, therefore leading him to be in and out of the team.

John C
John C

To play central midfield for Arsenal you need a pass completion rate around the 90% mark and you must move the ball quickly, 2 things Chamberlain doesn’t really possess. His main attributes are his pace, power and ability to beat a man, talents that are suited to the wing, where he’s had all but 1 of his best games.

Lot’s of players have a few good games out of position, but over a longer period of time they struggle, which is the case with the Ox in central midfield. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this season all his appearances have been on the flank and his form has improved. The fact that there is also about 6 players ahead of him in the centre should also consign that experiment to the bin.

Campbell's forehead
Campbell's forehead

I just said Chamberlain is technically better than Theo, which is evident by the fact he can play in midfield. Neither did I say that’s his best position and that I want him to play there.

He’s a better player on the flanks but my initial point was that he is technically better. @John c, I think you’ve gone off point here.

John C
John C

No i haven’t, i just said i don’t think he can play in central midfield because i think he isn’t suited to it irrespective of the fact that he’s played there, you said he can, i disagreed.

It’s all good, this is a discussion board that’s open to friendly if opposing views

Campbell's forehead
Campbell's forehead

We can agree to disagree – got to love democracy ay?

Ebo
Ebo

Technically better for sure. I wouldn’t say smarter, not at all. At least not yet. Unlike Theo he can take defenders on with the ball at his feet and can make some sharp passes out of midfield, but in terms of ‘footballing brain’ his decision making is often as poor as Theo’s used to be, and he doesn’t have anywhere near Walcott’s sense of positioning. Since those are things that often improve with age, experience and confidence let’s hope he follows Theo’s footsteps.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Chamberlain is a better dribbler and maybe crosser than Walcott (both of their crossing isn’t brilliant tbh) but that’s it really. Walcott is a more accurate passer, better finisher, makes better decisions (though he can’t always pull them off, see dribbling and crossing) and has better positional and combination play. So I don’t know if it’s really fair to say Ox is even technically better but I do think he has the ability to surpass Theo. Exciting that they’re both playing well!

Pauloo
Pauloo

No one remembers Joel Campbell anymore. What a world!

Campbell's forehead
Campbell's forehead

Guess who does ?.

Ebo
Ebo

On current form I wouldn’t say Iwobi is better than the Ox, but he does provide more balance to a forward line that already has Alexis and Theo in it with his less direct, more one-touch ball-mover style. Wengerball simply doesn’t work as well when everyone has a go as soon as they get the ball. It’s a shame because I really want Ox to get rewarded for his recent performances but I can’t see who he can come in for in the current first choice team, in midfield he has even less of a chance.

GunnerdareMacedonia
GunnerdareMacedonia

Yes but in the last game Iwobi was not good, and he is always coming in the middle sometimes we need direct winger with pace who scores goals and who would beat the LB and put in a high or low cross or beat the mean and come in side in the box an sqeueri in the middle, now with giroud back ox will be playing more giroud need direct wingers who can cross I don;t see iwobi a crossing type of player . Iwobi at the moment is missing to many chances in front of the goal and OX startet scoring them which he has the confidence now so I say he needs to start on Sutrday instead of iwobi and maybe he wil score again.

Greg

Sorry but we ‘ve watched 2 different games last night, and to be honest Iwobi had a very good start this season but again after 6 games, his performances have lowered (and last night was just a nightmare to watch him) compared to Ox who is improving game after game this season

Campbell's forehead
Campbell's forehead

It’s a great problem to have though.

Belfast Gooner
Belfast Gooner

When Ox came on against Boro, I thought he quickened things up from centre mid. He was the only player who seemed to want to shoot on Saturday. Though, I agree he should be played as a winger, and I think he should start over Iwobi on Saturday as he is the player in form.

Chef_uk
Chef_uk

Iwobi is still ahead of the Ox in the middle but out wide it is neck and neck. The problem you have then is it becomes the Ox vs Theo when it’s the right side and the Ox vs Ozil when it’s the left.

If the Ox becomes a starter then he will have put himself on a much higher standing than any of us could imagine. Such a tough fight for a place in the front four now.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

I don’t see why we can’t play Iwobi and Ox in the absence of Cazorla. Drop Elneny for this onw, we shouldn’t be playing two DMs against two banks of four anyway.