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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can have a big impact next season

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, popularly known as the Ox, has had to endure a very tough season, and to make things worse, another injury means he will not be playing for England in the Euros.

Constant injuries and a lack of playing time seriously affected his form this season. The former Saints man started just nine games in the Premier League while he was brought on from the bench on 13 occasions and some fans are concerned with the lack of improvement he has shown.

But - against popular opinion - there is still the belief that he has demonstrated enough to suggest he can still build on that initial promise and one bad season shouldn't change that viewpoint.

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The 2014/15 season saw Oxlade-Chamberlain secure a starting berth and looked as though he had finally broken through. But, then Arsene Wenger - in desperate need of a system to tackle their inefficiency in the big games - paired the diminutive Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin together against Manchester City. That plan turned out pretty well, and a new midfield partnership was born.

In order to accommodate the 13/14 season star Aaron Ramsey, Wenger decided to play him on the right, where the Ox mainly operates and ultimately stunted his development.

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The 22-year-old started this season rather promisingly too but was soon replaced to accommodate Ramsey once again. Then, he got injured, and his position was seized by the Costa Rican Joel Campbell.

When he did eventually claim a starting spot, he got injured again colliding with Javier Mascherano in the Champions League clash against Barcelona.

His stop-gap season and his lack of involvement in the first team meant he just never hit top gear.

Now that he is not involved in the Euros, he can concentrate on getting fit and get a full pre-season under his belt. With Theo Walcott and Campbell's Arsenal careers looking uncertain, there could be less competition for the Ox to worry about.

Arsenal v A.F.C. Bournemouth - Premier League

He has shown already in his somewhat brief career that he is a big game player. At just 18 years of age, he started in central midfield alongside Alex Song against AC Milan, where Arsenal fell just short of a stunning comeback. He was impressive throughout and won a penalty with a mazy run down the right, which Robin van Persie duly converted.

At the Alliance Arena against Bayern in the Champions League, he single-handedly drove many of Arsenal’s attacks - a game where the Gunners particularly struggled to keep possession.

There are very few players in the Arsenal squad that can offer the directness of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wenger knows what a talent he is. He would be intent on keeping him despite being linked to a host of clubs.

Chelsea v Arsenal - FA Community Shield

Even Arsenal's former captain Mikel Arteta lauded the youngster on the club's website after last season's Community Shield victory, where Oxlade-Chamberlain starred in the 1-0 win over Chelsea.

Arteta said: "He's a terrific player, one of the best talents I've seen, and he's got the world open for what he wants to do. It's up to him."

A largely injury-free season and a bit of luck are what the young Englishman needs for things to go his way and fulfil his immense potential.

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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