Danny Murphy has become the latest pundit to take a shot at Arsenal over the sale of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, despite statistics suggesting the midfielder hasn’t improved.
Murphy was talking to talkSPORT about the 24-year-old, and suggested Arsenal were at fault for not getting the best out of him. According to the former Liverpool man, Oxlade-Chamberlain is hitting a new level now.
“Oxlade-Chamberlain, people spoke about him, saying ‘oh he’s too much money’,” Murphy said. “I’ve always been a fan of Ox by the way. Look how fit he looks now in comparison.
“They talked about when he went to Liverpool he couldn’t play for a while, they had to give him another pre-season. That tells you something about Arsenal.”
There’s certainly a lot of people at the moment who will tell you how much the Ox has improved, and that Arsenal should have kept him, but there’s very little evidence to back that view up.
For a start, he’s not scoring as many goals as he was last season. He scored one goal every 428 minutes in 2016/17, but only one every 450 minutes this campaign.
It’s the same story with assists. He got one every 233 minutes last year, one every 374 in this.
His pass accuracy is identical, his chances created are only improved by 0.05 per 90 minutes, and his defensive stats are generally worse (see comparison on the right).
Would Chamberlain even get into Arsenal’s current team?
One Arsenal fan pointed out how the stats suggest Chamberlain is hardly even out-performing Alex Iwobi. That’s despite the Nigerian international being three years younger and not drawing much praise from fans this season:
Oxlade-Chamberlain in the league this season.
Minutes played: 1371
Key passes/game: 1.0
Minutes played: 1352
Key passes/game: 1.4
— Ben Sheaf (@wengersgame) April 9, 2018
Then you look at how Aaron Ramsey, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Özil are playing. I wouldn’t drop any of them for Oxlade-Chamberlain, and I certainly wouldn’t sacrifice a defensive player for him.
Sure, Liverpool are performing a lot better than Arsenal this season. But that’s exactly why I’m so hesitant to dole out praise for an individual who objectively doesn’t seem to be showing improvements. His team are making his performances look better, from what I’ve seen.
Let’s see whether he can hold his place when Naby Keita arrives and Adam Lallana returns from injury. Until then, I’m not jumping on board Murphy’s hype train.