Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a lot to improve - four things we learned from Arsenal vs Sunderland

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As the wind whirled on a cold, winters afternoon at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal saw off a spirited Sunderland side 3-1 to move up to second in the Premier League.

The Gunners were made to work hard for their victory in the absence of Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, but win they did following goals from Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey.

The game saw the latter start in his favoured central midfield role, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first start since returning from injury on the left and the aforementioned Campbell retain his place on the right.


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Here are four things we learned from Arsenal's win.


At 22-years-old, the Ox still has plenty of time to realise his undoubted potential, but after recovering from a hamstring injury the youngster still has some way to go before proving himself an Arsenal starter.

His pace is frightening and in one-on-one situations he's a nightmare to deal with, but he must slow down his play and improve his decision making.

Far too often the England international will mindlessly drive at opponents at full throttle, often losing the ball or rushing to play his pass.

With added composure and refinement on his passing and crossing, there's little doubt Arsenal's starlet can develop into an excellent wideman - but he's a long way off yet.


The question is often asked where Arsenal would be without Sanchez, but what's really worth pondering is how the north Londoners would cope without their talismanic midfielder.

Against Sunderland, Ozil was majestic - his passes accurate, dribbles deceiving and work ethic strong as ever.

The German is at the centre of everything good about the Gunners recently, and his superbly timed through ball for Campbell's first-half opener - incredibly his 12th assist of the season - once again showcased his mesmerising creative talents.


Upon Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott's injuries against Sheffield Wednesday in late October, doubt surrounded Campbell's call-up into Arsenal's starting XI.

He flattered to deceive in his first few games, but after yet another promising performance against the Black Cats on Saturday, the Costa Rican is beginning to show why Arsene Wenger showed such faith in his ability.

Throughout his 76-minute stint, Campbell was composed on the ball, frequently dribbling past defenders and linking up well with his teammates.

His goal in the 33rd minute particularly encaspulated his new-found confidence. Cutting in from the left, Campbell ran in behind Sunderland's defence to coolly slot past Costel Pantilimon from Ozil's defence-splitting pass.

After a sustained run in the side, the 23-year-old is beginning to flaunt his attacking qualities - and it's about time too.


Panic swarmed the Emirates when Wenger revealed Cazorla could be out until March, though one player will certainly thrive in the Spaniard's absence.

It wasn't Ramsey's best game and he showed signs of post-injury rustiness, but through the centre the Welshman looked far more at home.

Starting alongside Mathieu Flamini, Ramsey worked tirelessly throughout and was duly rewarded with a much-needed goal in the dying moments of the game, also providing a fine assist for Giroud to head home just after the hour mark.

And whilst his passing was off at times and he occasionally held onto the ball for too long, there were momentary glimpses of the Aaron Ramsey that Arsenal fans came to love two seasons ago, when the 24-year-old was scoring freely in his beloved central role.

Thierry Henry
Premier League

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