by Lewis Ambrose
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the only goal as Arsenal finally got one over José Mourinho’s Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday.
The Gunners held on after the Ox’s strike to secure a 1-0 win and land the first blow of the domestic season.
“I don’t know about ‘wondergoal’ but it was really nice to see that one go in,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told Arsenal Player after the game. “I got a goal in the Emirates Cup, and it’s what I need to do this year, there’s no doubting that and I’m not afraid to say that I need to score more goals.”
There’s little doubt about that. Oxlade-Chamberlain is an incredibly talented dribbler and plays in an advanced role, usually on the wing. He also packs a fantastic shot and gets into scoring positions fairly often – the focus has to be on adding to his meagre six Premier League goals for Arsenal so far.
“I’ve set myself that target this year on a personal level so every time I’m on the pitch it’s important that I try and contribute in some way and a goal or an assist is what I need to do.
“It was really nice to [score on Sunday] and as it’s the winner it’s that little bit more special.”
The win against Chelsea was incredibly impressive, with Arsenal attacking at great pace and defending resolutely against last season’s Premier League winners.
“All-round we played really well,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said. “We didn’t play our best stuff with the ball, I think Chelsea deserve credit for that, they are a great defensive side, and they stopped us from playing at times.
“But we did enough, we defended really well as a team and kept them to minimal chances. That’s really positive going into the season because in the big games that’s what it comes down to sometimes.”
Arsenal enjoyed an improved record in big away fixtures as last season went on and this is another excellent result to build on going into the new season. It seems that the days of conceding five, six and six respectively to Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea themselves are long gone.
Results against the teams around us in the table have to continue to improve and then Arsenal will be able to compete for the title. A performance like the one on Sunday only adds to the level of confidence in the squad.
“I have absolute faith and confidence in this team and I think that can be shared throughout the squad. As a group of players we’ve been together for a good number of years, so there’s a real team spirit and sense of togetherness.”
That will serve Arsenal well through a long season, hopefully there are even more celebrations once again in May.