Oxlade-Chamberlain is not the Santi Arsenal wants…
“Oxlade-Chamberlain is not the Santi Arsenal wants, but the one it needs right now.” – Lt. James Gordon.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on song…Xhaka’s wingman. Handler of the press, dribbler par excellence, counter-attacker, sprayer of passes.
From such kindling can the season’s embers burn bright once more.
The betting has Arsenal at 5/1 against for the win in Munich. Seems about right. And 10/3 for a draw. Gulp. Could be a rough night.
And yet…a front 6 of
Iwobi Alexis Welbeck
A back 4 of
Nacho/Gibbs KoStafi Bellerin
And a bench containing
Giroud Perez Walcott Elneny Coquelin
It might still be the deepest team we’ve sent into the Round of 16 for a long, long time. And a very fast team, geared to the counter when getting an away goal is vital.
Bayern are the best team in Germany by some measure but they are not addicted to pressing and they play a 4231, God bless them. So we should have our chances too.
I’d take a score draw and get them back to the Emirates, where we can get battered by them. It’s a short train ride home for us.
OX is the key, for me. If he can finally deliver on his promise, he solves so many problems. The current theory I’m grasping at is:
OX is playing far better, far more focused, with better decision-making, and fewer unforced errors/hospital passes because he is playing in a busier area. The midfield role means he is fully engaged for the full 90. Up high on the right wing, he can go for 2 or 3 or 5 minutes without a meaningful touch, and he just can’t stay engaged, despite himself.
He may simply be a high functioning ADHD-er. He’s great if he is kept involved – which is good news because nobody is busier than a Box-To-Box midfielder and in recent matches, no one has covered more ground than him while he is on the pitch – and so he maintains his attention, keeps his feel for the game, sees the danger, makes good decisions.
Compared to the wing, the extra room he enjoys on the ball during certain periods of the game when we’re not being pressed builds his confidence. He grows into the game.
If I’m Bayern, I am hoping he doesn’t play.
The midfield every Gooner wanted to see this season was either Xhaka/Santi or Xhaka Ramsey. We were only given a brief glimpse before those 2 options were extinguished. We will never know in time if either of those pairings could truly deliver what this Arsenal needs to perform against the top teams – what Ozil and Alexis need to perform against the top teams.
But we have Xhaka back. That’s a start.
And so I offer you Xhaka/Chamberlain in their stead.
For if you were to take Santi and Ramsey and coax them into breeding – perhaps you might manually stimulate one of them to get things started…I don’t know…I’m just speculating – with the aim of producing an offspring capturing all of their best abilities – quick feet, quick on the half-turn, handling the press, an eye for a pass, good on the dribble, flicks and tricks a-plenty, ambifootstrous, box-to-boxiness, range to cover the ground, clever lobs and crosses…and then graft on an electric burst, quick on the counter, plus speed to leave opponents in the dust, then you might have the OX when he’s on song – on song in a way we haven’t seen him for 3 seasons or more. On song like when he took Ferguson’s United apart at the tender age of 7, or at least that’s how I remember it.
Xhaka needs a partner who can handle the press. Perhaps OX can. And unlike others who will remain nameless, he has the speed to recover a mistake, or to cover a midfield opponent on the burst, and the bustling physique to wrestle the ball clear, and even a taste for a tastier tackle.
It’s a long shot. The tombstone has been chiseled, the parson has done his turn, the body of our season has just been chucked into the six-foot-deep hole, the dirt is on our shovel…but did the corpse just cough?!??
You say it’s the hope that kills you. I say that attitude is why you’re dead inside. Dead, I tell you.
Power up the OX. Strap on the Xhaka. Grab the BIG Cortisone needle we’ve been saving for Welbeck’s knee. Tell Alexis the Germans killed his other Grandfather…the one he never knew. Don’t say anything at all to Mesut. And let’s give these Bavarian Surrender Monkeys a damn good Rogering. ALLAAAAAAAAAHUUUUAKBARRR!!!!