Arsene Wenger has confirmed that his talisman Alexis Sanchez could start for the first time since limping off against the Canaries earlier this season in their Britannia Stadium visit. Even if the gaffer prefers not to gamble with his injury this weekend, he would doubtless start in the London derby next weekend.
As the former Barcelona winger belongs to a certain breed of footballers, who need not essentially fight their way into the starting eleven, either Joel Campbell or Theo Walcott has to drop to the bench. Whom should Arsenal sacrifice for the Copa America winner?
Who saw this one coming?
Joel Campbell appeared to tread the same path as the likes of Ryo Miyaichi and Thomas Eisfeld as the loan switch to Villarreal last campaign all but confirmed the end of his Arsenal career. However, thanks to the non-availability of top quality strikers last summer, Arsenal retained the services of the Costa Rican international.
Given his uninspiring spell with the Yellow Submarines that also brought him criticism for overplaying, Arsenal faithful tipped him to flop, despite him being considerably technical, and their prediction seemed to have come true when he failed to show up in the 3-0 loss to Sheffield United.
However, first-team players started sustaining injuries one after the other in quick succession towards the end of November, leaving the French manager with no choice but to throw the World Cup hero onto the pitch, and he has cashed in on the opportunity, making even an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a mere makeweight in the process.
Does he have more in his system?
After successfully making the Ox look like an Andy Townsend of the better north London club, he now finds himself embroiled in a battle with Theo Walcott for a place in the lineup.
He boasts far superior defensive acumen when compared to his English counterpart as he often drops down to help the team during the defensive phases, and is an absolute workhorse. Besides, he is never reluctant to make up for his mistakes, albeit quite rare.
Even if things do not work according to his plans, you may have never seen a Joel Campbell that fails to give his hundred percent.
Theo Walcott is known for his movement off the ball but that is something Aaron Ramsey can do perfection, and his goal tally in the Premier League only bears testimony to the fact. The absence of the English international will probably not be felt, as we will then have an abler candidate (in their current forms, at least) for the right wing position in Joel Campbell.
Where will he fit in?
Thanks to Arsene Wenger deploying him on the right wing, he is now accustomed to playing, if not, excelling in a position, where has not often featured in his career. With Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin further down the wings, only a few things can go wrong but the eager beaver of the wingers will make sure they nullify those.
What role will Theo Walcott play?
Joel Campbell often begins to wilt in the dying stages of the match, and Theo has often proved to be a more threatening presence when he comes off the bench as his pace could be the ideal arrow for Mesut Ozil’s bow while trying to make the most out of opponents’ tired legs.
Thus, bringing on the former Southampton lad to get behind the defenders and assigning him no role aside from that could do wonders for the league leaders
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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