Ox being fit is good for Gnabry
After a few impressive performances this season, especially during a period Arsenal were lacking some direct attacking threat and creativity, it is understandable that many were clamouring for Gnabry to start every week.
Losing Theo Walcott was a blow to Arsenal and a lack of natural width and goals from wide made it look increasingly difficult for Arsenal to maintain their title challenge. Young Serge Gnabry seems to be a viable answer to the "who can replace Theo" question and he has certainly proven he has the talent to play regularly for this Arsenal team.
However, with the return of Oxlade-Chamberlain it looks like Gnabry isn't going to play as much as anticipated, or hoped, by some. This is a good thing for Gnabry.
Gnabry, like all players, is only going to really improve with minutes on the pitch but Serge is young and needs to have his introduction to the first team staggered and managed. It is very easy to place a lot of expectation on the shoulders of the next great young thing and expect them to be a saviour, especially when Arsenal lack directness.
Playing too much now could lead to injury or worse, could lead to reduced mental strength or self-belief should he suffer a loss of form or the fans get on his back. Direct players are exciting and rouse the crowd, as we found when Oxlade-Chamberlain joined and the cries in the grounds and on social media was "bring on the Ox" or "start the Ox".
Gnabry is similar in the sense he excites the crowd with his direct nature and purposeful runs with the ball and at defenders. Serge is going to be a big part of Arsenal's future but it's probably best for his developement that the future doesn't start right now, or at least doesn't start too much.
Alex has missed half a season with injury and is in need of minutes to get his form and fitness back. With his own path at Arsenal starting at a similar age to Serge he is now at the age where he needs to play regularly. He has a lot of learning to do and benefits from starting out wide depsite not being a natural winger. He has that additional experience of the Premier League run in that Serge does not and is tactically a little maturer.
With Manchester United to play this week a little natural width would actually be quite beneficial but Alex's extra experience and maturer final ball might prove more devastating against a shakey United defence as both are equally bless with pace and power.
Alex playing ahead of Serge is good for the development of both players. Alex gets the time he needs to learn his game before being moved into the middle permanently and Serge gets to develop at a steady pace without the burden of expectation. It's good for Arsenal, it's good for Alex and it's good for Serge.
Serge will get games between now and the end of the season but it is best for Alex and for Serge that he isn't playing every game.
Let us know what you think. Should Arsenal go for the natural width with Serge for the rest of the season or trust in the experience of Alex?Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?
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