13 games, 0 goals: Arsenal's big gaffe highlighted as Joel Campbell's progress stalls

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Arsenal’s Joel Campbell has been played out of position at Villarreal.

After 13 matches in all competitions, Joel Campbell’s Villarreal record reads zero goals and zero assists, prompting questions of what exactly has gone wrong.

The Costa Rican international made huge strides before this season, experiencing a successful campaign in Greece with Olympiacos before helping his nation to a shock World Cup quarter-final spot.

So good were his performances last summer in Brazil that a number of Arsenal supporters took to social media networking sites in order to plead for his return to the Emirates.

Those same fans got their wish as Arsene Wenger ruled out another loan move, meaning that Campbell was finally in the Gunners’ first-team squad – three years after initially signing for the club.

However, strong competition for places restricted him to a few splurges here and there and it soon become apparent another loan move was beckoning, Villarreal acquiring him for six months in January.

The Yellow Submarine were deemed the ideal team to send him to as they were going strong in La Liga, the Europa League and the Copa Del Rey at the turn of the year.

Yet, it begs the question whether Arsene Wenger did his homework on the Spanish outfit beforehand, because if he had he would have noticed how they regularly play a conventional 4-4-2 formation.

As such, Campbell has effectively been playing as a deep-lying right-winger, almost constantly at least 40 yards away from the opposition net and tasked with the job of supplying from deep.

The 22-year-old is a talented striker, but his current record at El Madrigal stadium shows he is arguably the least likely player to hurt the opposition – scoring and creating fewer than three of his side’s back four.

It’s been a poor loan spell for the former Saprissa star, and rather frustratingly for both club and player it appears a potentially crucial year of his progress has been wasted through a basic lack of research.

Campbell hasn’t found the net since that 3-1 victory over Uruguay last summer - and there is currently every chance he will return to North London in June having gone an entire calendar year without scoring.

So what next? What's in store for the striker back in North London beyond this season?

Well, with such heavy competition for places, another loan spell is surely on the cards yet this time a move perhaps to a fellow Premier League team is vital so that his progress can in contrast be properly monitored.

The player has huge potential, but without the right career decisions his future at the Emirates Stadium could soon come to a halt - a decision which the Gunners could live to regret further down the line.

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