Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could make a timely return to fitness as the North London outfit prepare to face Liverpool on Sunday.
The 21-year-old has been one of the Gunners' standout players this season, but he found himself substituted in injury time of a 4-1 win against Newcastle United last weekend, prompting fears he would join the likes of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky on the treatment table.
Despite being a natural right-winger, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in central midfield, alongside Mathieu Flamini, in his side's last two matches - both of which have resulted in victories.
While Arsenal have a number of technically-gifted midfielders who can pick out a pass or play a killer through-ball, none offer the natural athleticism that Oxlade-Chamberlain provides, and this has been evident in recent performances.
Furthermore, the former Southampton winger is not only a complete athlete, who loves to collect the ball and drive forward from deep with tremendous pace and power, but he also has an eye for creating a goal-scoring opportunity.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has completed 47 take-ons in the Premier League this season, bettered only by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (70), while he has managed a further 25 key passes - an average of 1.5 chances created per appearance - based on the 16 top-flight matches he has featured in.
|Team||Chances Created||Minutes per Chance Created||Assists||Appearances|
|Tom Cleverley||Aston Villa / Man Utd||16||76.69||0||14|
While he has failed to set up a single league goal to date, Oxlade-Chamberlain's current tally is better than any other Premier League player with the same assist total - Chelsea's Diego Costa comes a close second. He is also second to only Queens Park Rangers' Joey Barton in terms of average minutes per chance created (compared to those who have made more than 10 key passes this term).
This is a clear sign of the England international's quality in the final third, and with slightly more luck, we could see him achieve his best attacking form. If Oxlade-Chamberlain keeps up this level of production, soon he is bound to experience more positive end results; his club and manager will reap the rewards as a consequence.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's return will be a timely boost for the Gunners as the London outfit look for three points against Liverpool on Sunday. With their weekend opposition in a state of disarray, this could be the match that marks the Ox's first assist of the season.