Martin Keown: Arsene Wenger wants to see artists, this Arsenal player is one
The Arsenal legend singles out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for praise after his midfield performance
Martin Keown has hailed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the type of football artist that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger likes to see in his first team.
The England international was given the rare opportunity to start in the centre of midfield on Saturday evening as Wenger fielded an experimental XI for their trip to Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round.
Arsenal eased to a commanding 4-0 win against the Saints as Oxlade-Chamberlaim impressed in the middle of the park alongside Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the south coast.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has struggled to tie down a regular starting spot in Wenger’s team this term with increased competition for a place following the arrival of Granit Xhaka in a £33m deal from Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.
Speaking to BT Sport’s Football Tonight show about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s chances of retaining his place in Arsenal’s midfield, Keown said:
“Arsene Wenger is particularly interested in the artistic part of the game. He wants to see artists. You saw one [tonight]. He is like a quarter back. You need someone to pick out a pass. There is a variation to his play,” Keown said.
“He played in centre midfield as a kid. I feel like it is his natural positions. He has pace there too. He needs that landscape and he needs to be in the middle.”
Arsenal are in second place in the Premier League table and eight points behind leaders Chelsea with 16 games to play in the current campaign.