In the world of the Premier League an injury for one player can lead to a chance for another, it is up to that player if he is willing to take the opportunity and show his capabilities. That is exactly the situation that has come up for Joel Campbell. The Costa Rica forward was always highly regarded in the Arsenal setup but never had a run of games under his belt to show what his game is all about.
An injury to Alexis Sanchez – well almost every Arsenal player has been out for some time this season – opened the door for Campbell and he has taken that with both arms and feet. He did have a slow start to his time this season, as expected for someone who hasn’t got a look into the first team all that often and had been away on loan for most of his Arsenal career, but his recent performances have just shown how good he is and that he can slot into the first team rather easily.
The big question that would be on the minds of Arsene Wenger would be how to deal with Campbell and Walcott when Alexis Sanchez returns from injury. The Chilean would be firing on all cylinders when he gets back into the first team and one of Walcott or Campbell would have to be dropped to accommodate Sanchez.
If we are to look at the games played from the month of November 2015 to the current date, it is Campbell who has taken part in eleven matches in the league while Walcott has only played eight games. It is the Costa Rican who has a greater pass percentage with a 79% accuracy compared to Walcott’s 74%. Campbell also provides more key passes with 0.90 key passes per 90 minutes compared to the 0.79 by Walcott. (squwwka.com)
In fact Campbell also averages 0.15 assists during this time period while Walcott hasn’t provided a single assist in the league from November. Even in the goal scoring department, the duo are almost inseparable with Campbell having 0.15 goals per 90 minutes while Walcott has 0.16 goals per 90 despite playing in a more advanced position in some of these games.
Walcott was even the worst forward for Arsenal in terms of taking on his opponents and beating them. Sanchez, Campbell and Giroud, in that order were above the English attacker based on stats from the month of November to this date.
It is often said that a team should never drop a player who is at the top of his game, Campbell certainly is in such a purple patch for Arsenal and the Gunners should continue with him in the first team when Sanchez comes in. Keeping Walcott on the bench is not the worst thing in the world, he can be the game changer off the bench when Arsenal need him and it could lead him to work harder for the team and put in a more telling contribution.
This is the chance that Joel Campbell has been waiting for his entire career at Arsenal and now he has grabbed it and doesn’t seem to want to let it go. Arsene Wenger must be pleased that he kept the youngster as it is paying dividends for the Gunners now.