Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will not play any part in Liverpool’s game against his former side as the 29-year-old’s injury problems continue.
It’s been five years now since Arsenal sold a then-24-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool for £40m and he is one of a long list of players to have come through the club whose careers will always be talked about in terms of ‘what could have been’.
His time at Arsenal was defined by flashes of brilliance disrupted by 11 different injuries that cost him 154 games for the Gunners over six years – almost 50% Arsenal’s matches. In his last four seasons in North London, he suffered four serious knee injuries alone that kept him out for 308 days.
When he left, many Arsenal fans were both sad and relieved that they could stop wanting to rely on him.
After Oxlade-Chamberlain moved to Liverpool, Arsenal fans had to listen to a lot of people go on about how he could finally flourish as he was never given a proper chance for the club.
That was nonsense.
His three goals and seven assists in 32 league appearances (1,483 minutes) for Liverpool in his first season didn’t seem that much better than the two goals and seven assists he got with Arsenal the season before in 1,562 minutes, but what do I know?
Taking a look at Oxlade-Chamberlain’s numbers with Liverpool v his last season+ with Arsenal: pic.twitter.com/eOluvOlG42
— Chris Moore (@chrismoore32) October 20, 2019
Inevitably, another knee injury struck and Oxlade-Chamberlain was ruled out for the entire 18/19 season when he picked up the problem against Roma.
He decided to deal with his fifth serious knee injury by criticising Arsenal fans.
“I’ve had injuries in the past where it’s been difficult because pressure from fans has been “he’s injured again” or “we can’t trust him he’s always injured”,” he said
“But I’ve got injured here [at Liverpool] and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the fans, which for me I can’t thank them enough and that’s what keeps me going every day to try and reward their patience and support.”
If the Ox’s memory was good enough, perhaps he could think back to the first injury he suffered at Arsenal and ask himself how much support he got from fans then? I think he’ll find it was quite a lot.
It’s easy to be positive when it’s the first injury with a new club.
On his return from that knee injury after 43 games out, The Ox lasted just 41 minutes before he had to be subbed with a hamstring problem, a common occurrence after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. That kept him out for six games
Then he suffered a knock (1 game), a head injury (1), and an ankle problem (3) over what was a relatively injury-free period for the midfielder.
His knee, however, was ready and waiting to cause more problems and in August 2020 it went again, costing him another 20 matches.
After his return at the end of 2020, however, Oxlade-Chamberlain enjoyed 19 months of injury-free football. Just as it looked like he might finally be free, his hamstring exploded in July 2022 and he has been on the sidelines since.
The Arsenal game will be the 89th that Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed through injury since leaving Arsenal.
He has only faced Arsenal six times, winning three, drawing two and losing one, with one assist to his name. Oxlade-Chamberlain started just three of those games, and that included the one Liverpool lost 2-1 in the 19/20 season.
At Arsenal, Oxlade-Chamberlain scored 20 goals with 33 assist over 198 matches (10,489 minutes). That’s a goal or assist every 3.7 matches or 197 minutes.
At Liverpool, his record reads 17 goals and 15 assists in 133 games (6,032 minutes). That’s a goal or assist every 4.15 games or 188 minutes.
So, he has a near identical injury record, playing record, goal record and assist record.
Maybe Arsenal weren’t the problem after all, eh?