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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should worry for his Arsenal future

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When Arsene Wenger strangely admitted that he 'smelt' something in Joel Campbell, we here at GiveMeSport didn't really know what he was on about.

The Arsenal manager has kept the Costa Rican at the Emirates – against his will, according to his agent – despite there being little chance of genuine first-team football. But now we are all smelling it, and it's glorious.

Various injuries granted Campbell the unlikely chance to impress and he has well and truly grabbed it with both hands. Two goals in the Premier League and two assists in the Champions League later, people are starting to wonder whether he could be a first-team regular.

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must feel horrible.

The England international has always been considered one of the country's best young talents, but as he approaches his fourth anniversary with the Gunners, who can possibly say he has come anywhere near fulfilling his potential? No one, that's who.

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Injury problems

Like most Arsenal players, he has had his fair share of injuries, including a serious knee injury sustained in the opening Premier League game of the 2013/14 season. It kept him out until the new year and has been followed by six other notable injuries since.

The latest, a ruptured muscle in his thigh, ultimately allowed Campbell to take his place. That is why Oxlade-Chamberlain started yesterday's 3-0 win over Olympiakos on the bench, only to come on for Campbell with just minutes to spare. The game was already over and his impact was minimal.

Poor form

But his absence from the starting XI is not purely down to Campbell's rise to prominence. Despite the injury-hit campaign, Oxlade-Chamberlain has managed 618 minutes in the Premier League and Champions League, yet has not a single goal or assist to his name.

With such electric pace and undeniable strength, Arsenal fans are seldom seen grumbling at the 22-year-old's inclusion in the starting XI, but the stats, in this case, don't lie. Perhaps he just has not been good enough.

Maybe that is why Wenger refuses to put his trust in him on big occasions like last night. But his terrific goal against Chelsea in the Community Shield was a reminder that he has talent in abundance and, as he turned 22 in August, he has plenty of time to reboot his career.

But with Campbell now ahead of him in the pecking order, is Arsenal the best place for him to try and do it? Perhaps not.

A big decision

Indeed, when Arsenal are free of injuries, of which they are never, then Oxlade-Chamberlain may now be the third-choice right-sided midfielder, behind both Campbell and the reluctant Aaron Ramsey.

Third-choice is never a good place to be. It is the kind of position that usually sees a footballer sent out on loan. To put it in context, Arsenal's third choice left-sided midfielder is probably the inexperienced Alex Iwobi.

Campbell may be enjoying a purple patch and there are still plenty of signs that his rough and ready approach is not well suited to the Gunners' style of play for the long term, but the situation for Oxlade-Chamberlain is a delicate one.

He may have a big decision to make in the near future.

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Topics:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger
Premier League
Football
Joel Campbell
UEFA Champions League

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