Stagnation and injuries. The two words which define the previously talked about “English core” at Arsenal. Only a mere 4 years ago the Arsenal team had the English core right throughout the team. Walcott, Wilshere, Chamberlain and more all utilising their skill-sets to the fullest of their potential. So what happened to them? Is it bad luck as so many suggest, or does the problem lay deep beneath the surface?
Injuries. The one word that defines the 24 year old’s career. After bursting onto the scene in 2010/11, the plaudits were endless for the youngster. After winning the PFA young POTY, Jack appeared to be destined for great things. Persistent injuries have forced Wilshere into a career defining loan move to Bournemouth, where he has been offered a get out of jail card by Eddie Howe. Jack’s talent has never come into question, not even by the very best, with Spanish legend Xavi going as far as claiming “[He’s] have watched him carefully, and if he can overcome injuries, then he can still go on an be one of the best midfield players in the world.” Fitness is the problem for the midfield maestro, and if he can get back to former fitness, he has a ready made contract waiting for his signature on his return to the Emirates.
It’s the same old story for the Ox. The powerful winger is incapable of playing a prolonged number of games in order to gain consistency. After an excellent pre-season, it was common belief that this year was *finally* going to be Alex’s year. Yet, the same story arose once again. On the opening day v Liverpool he was on the bench, despite coming on and scoring a wonderful solo goal in the 4-3 loss to Liverpool, the same problem remains. Unless he manages a period of 10+ starts in a row for Arsenal, he’ll never be able to show his true colours. With Alexis, Walcott, and seemingly Iwobi ahead of him in the pecking order, to show the quality we know he has is becoming increasingly difficult.
Joining Arsenal in 2014/15, Chambers couldn’t have wished for a better start to his Arsenal career. Arguably outperforming Koscielny, Calum looked like Arsenal’s centre back for years to come. Then came the fateful raining Saturday afternoon in Swansea. Swansea winger Jefferson Montero humiliated the England youngster, who was play right back on the day, and since then has looked a shadow of himself. Since then the Englishman’s career has stagnated. The emergence of Hector Bellerin and the signing of Gabriel Paulista meant that Chambers fell even further down the pecking order, being limited to starts in cup games and substitute appearances. Sometimes the versatile defender failed to even make the squad. A loan move to Middlesborough may be exactly what the defender needs to reignite his stagnated career. Eitor Karanka has pledged that “[Chambers] will return to Arsenal a better player“, and with the signing of Shkordan Mustafi, Chambers will be hoping he can perform to the peak of his potential in a relegation threatened Boro side.
After the departure of Gael Clichy to Manchester City, Gibbs cemented his place at left back and was a mainstay for the coming years, with the arrival of Nacho Monreal in the January transfer window of 2012/13 initially doing little to threaten his place. However, in the middle period of the 2013/14 season things changed, Nacho Monreal was introduced to the side after a series of poor performances, and the Spaniard have gone from strength to strength ever since. Last season would have particularly frustrated the 26 year old, with the left back being used as a makeshift left winger in order to shut up shop late on in games. That said, there is hope yet for Gibbs. Monreal has been particularly poor at the start of this season in comparison to his usually very high standard, and if this poor form continues, Gibbs will be given a chance, and for the sake of his career, he needs to take it.