Why Wenger is right to keep Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench right now

A look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recent form may leave Arsenal fans confused at the sight of him sitting on the bench.

Indeed, if the 21-year-old - who has been given the medical all-clear despite an injury scare at West Brom on Saturday - is on the bench at the Emirates again tonight, some Gooners may consider getting another banner out…

But boss Arsene Wenger is actually playing the cards he has been dealt perfectly on this occasion. The bench is the best place for the Ox at the moment – and not because the young star is playing badly.

The Gunners forward is an undeniable threat but who could Arsenal drop from the front five that played against the Baggies?

Many are calling for Aaron Ramsey to make way but the Welshman was much improved at the weekend and needs to keep that rhythm up if he is to return to his best. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a bigger threat out wide, anyway, and so could potentially change a game as an impact sub.

Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck, meanwhile, are providing Arsenal’s goal threat right now, while giving them a balance going forward they previously didn’t have. And Santi Cazorla’s form and Alexis Sanchez’s quality make them undroppable.

So keeping a 21-year-old Ox on the bench is actually the right move for Wenger at present. It takes the pressure off the young star, reduces his risk of injury and, more importantly, allows the Gunners the chance to unleash a very dangerous forward if they need a gamechanger. All while maintaining the newfound solidity the north London side showed at West Brom on Saturday.

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