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Opinion: Can This Pacey Winger Compete With Ox And Walcott At Arsenal?

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Joel Campbell, Arsenal
Joel Campbell, Arsenal
Joel Campbell, Arsenal

What could have been an unsalvageable situation in the Champions League is back in the hands of Arsenal thanks to their impressive win over Dinamo Zagreb. The Gunners can make it to the next round should they defeat Olympiakos and that would be a great feat after the Gunners were rock bottom of their Group after a couple of games.

While this vital victory could have saved Arsenal’s blushes in the Champions League, they still have to get the job done against a team that defeated them in the other fixture. One player who could have saved his career at Arsenal was Costa Rican, Joel Campbell.

A shining example against Zagreb but incredibly inconsistent

Campbell’s time at Arsenal, well actually he has spent more time on loan away from the Gunners than playing for them, has been filled with inconsistency. For some reason, Arsene Wenger did not and does not trust the Costa Rican forward. That seems a bit ironic, seeing that Arsenal did sign the youngster and if you don’t believe in a player, he will move away or be sold to another club.

Campbell has spent time on loan at Real Betis, Lorient, Olympiakos, Villareal after signing for the Gunners in 2011. It was only this season that he remained in the first team but in all fairness he should have been given more chances right after the World Cup when he was in fine form for his national side, which qualified from their group that included England, Italy and Uruguay.

What transpired last night against Zagreb was possibly Campbell’s best performance for the Gunners. This would again come as a bit of a shock, given that he started for the team after being on the bench against West Brom with Keiran Gibbs playing in an advanced role. Campbell didn’t cover himself with glory in that match as he squandered a golden opportunity to score for the Gunners after finding some space away from the defence.

That in itself should define the career path that Campbell has traversed at Arsenal, he has all the ability yet he just cannot seem to apply it during those important moments. However, against Zagreb he was brilliant, well in spurts.

The first thirty minutes showed just what the pacey winger can do as he tormented the Zagreb defence and created quite a few openings for his teammates. But then we saw just what is wrong with his game, in the next half an hour he was a passenger for the Arsenal team and almost didn’t get to see the ball.

Campbell’s inconsistency rose once again, this time in the final thirty minutes when he might have remembered that he was still on the pitch and once again he did his best to find his teammates and go on some great runs.

While Campbell did have his best game, the problem for him is that for all the ability he does possess, there are far superior talents at the Gunners. Campbell only got a chance to start in this game due to the injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere. Had the trio been fit, Campbell certainly would not have started the game.

Also the two players who actually shone for Arsenal were Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, not surprising really seeing as how they have been doing their bit for the Gunners since the start of this season.

Joel Campbell might be talented, but he isn’t the talent that Arsenal need at the moment, most of the players that play regularly for the Gunners are better than him and even his loan spells haven’t helped him all that much in his quest to break into the team. Campbell might have a few more games to change the mind of the manager but for all intents and purposes, he could be shipped out of the club for good, he just isn’t good enough to be at Arsenal.

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