When the teams were announced for Saturday’s game against Tottenham, most Arsenal fans were asking ‘why no Joel Campbell?’
The Costa Rican was a lonely light on a dark night against Swansea and seemed to have done enough to guarantee himself a start against that lot from up the road.
Arsene Wenger started Mohamed Elneny and moved Aaron Ramsey out to the right instead.
In truth, it was a move that mixed things up and seemed to work. Well, for most of the match anyway, but it’s clear that Arsene Wenger doesn’t appear to rate Joel.
When Campbell arrived at Arsenal, it was easy to see why. He looked lost and was relegated to a bit-part role that offered him no real chance of getting a run together to help his form.
Then something amazing happened this season when it seemed like he was counting the seconds until he was off on loan again.
He got good.
In the minds of most fans he moved well ahead of Theo Walcott in the pecking order and even ahead of the Ox. Still Arsene Wenger uses him sparingly.
He was given just a couple of minutes against Spurs, a substitution to waste time more than try and make any impact on the scoreline.
Sure, he’s not world class, but he brings more to this side than Walcott at the minute.
So why isn’t he getting the minutes?
In truth, I don’t know.
There would seem to be no reason other than Wenger wanted to be a bit more solid on that side at the expense of Campbell’s thrust. Not a bad reason, I grant you, but don’t pretend like you don’t notice the issue yourself.
Wenger sees him every day in training and knows more than me. But from the outside, it looks like he decided Joel wasn’t very good and hasn’t been moved in that opinion.
If Campbell, who is still only 23, continues to develop as he has done this season, it’s only a matter of time before he forces himself into the starting XI more.