Arsene Wenger must reward Joel Campbell for his patience with sustained run

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Joel Campbell tumbled to his knees on Saturday, a symbol of his relief at not only scoring his first competitive goal for Arsenal, but the fact his patience and hard work could finally be about to pay off. 

The word 'patience' would probably be unflattering for the Costa Rican. Campbell had only played 37 minutes of Premier league football prior to the weekend - staggering considering he joined the club over four years ago. 

The reason behind this was the forward needed a valid work permit. In order for it to be granted, he had to be loaned out to FC Lorient and Real Betis. He was still, however, loaned out to Olympiacos the following year.


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The English media saw a glimpse of Campbell's talent when his strike for the Greek side stunned Manchester United in the last sixteen of the Champions League, while his parent club was on the verge of an exit to this week's opponents Bayern Munich. Most thought this would be the making of the Costa Rica international.

Nearly two years on, however, and Campbell is only now starting to get his opportunity. He was loaned out to Villareal after his spell in Greece which was largely frustrating, tallying his total clubs to seven. This meant he has played in five different countries despite being 23.

With Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain pulling up against Sheffield Wednesday last week with a hamstring injury, this was his timely breakthrough, even more so with Theo Walcott limping off moments later and Aaron Ramsey already on the side-lines. 

And against Swansea on Saturday, he certainly took his chance. His goal would have been what most people remembered, but his work ethic shouldn't be forgotten. 

The Costa Rican made three tackles against Swansea, only one other player on the pitch - Nacho Monreal - made more. That was on top of his seven duels won, six recoveries and two interceptions. Campbell knew he had to prove his defensive duties.

With Ramsey out injured, many worried Arsenal would be vulnerable in midfield. The Welshman, although predominantly playing on the right in recent times, would often tuck in and help support Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin. With Campbell being the replacement, his task was to prove to Wenger he could do the dirty work and he more than excelled. 

The 23-year-old worked in tandem with Hector Bellerin brilliantly, frequently quashing the threat of Jefferson Montero, whose pace terrorised Calum Chambers during the same fixture last season.

Campbell needs to show more of the same in the coming weeks during Ramsey and Chamberlain's absence. If he does, it will be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger deals with the trio.

For now, though, there isn't any excuse for Wenger to drop him. He reportedly turned down Sevilla and Fiorentina to join Arsenal in the first place and was allegedly very close to joining Besiktas last summer on a permanent basis. This is effectively the Frenchman's last chance to utilise Campbell's ability because he won't hang around for long.

Campbell has waited his turn - now is the time for Wenger show the same patience and allow him to prove his worth.

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