For Arsenal fans, it has never been wise to let a successful pre-season campaign raise hopes of a barn-storming season ahead, or for a few good performances to convince us that ‘this is going to be the year’ for a particular player.
More often than not, the first few games of the regular season put paid to hopes of either of those.
But, with that said, it’s never a bad thing to see the team get a good workout and for a few players hovering around the periphery of the team to really make a statement.
Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chivas in Los Angeles on Sunday night was an excellent result, and provided a very stern test for the team as it heads towards the middle of the pre-season campaign.
Add to that another goal apiece for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Chuba Akpom and you have the makings of some guarded optimism. Yes, as positive as that!
At the end of last season, I remember very well writing a piece about who I thought could be headed for the exit door this summer, as well as those I thought had a crucial season ahead.
Both Chuba and Alex fell very much into those categories – a couple of players in danger of drifting away into obscurity after frustrating seasons.
There is no doubting that this pre-season campaign is of overwhelming importance to both of their careers. Chuba didn’t really set the world alight on loan at Hull last year, and Alex once again found injury and lack of consistency hamper his progress.
I’m sure both would have sat and reflected long and hard as the team broke for summer – this season is, for my money, make or break for both of them – and perhaps they realised that, too.
To that end, it is incredibly satisfying to see them rising to the task in the games they have played so far. Maximum effort near always reaps rewards and they are certainly giving the manager something to think about.
It may still be the case that Arsene will listen to offers for both players but it cannot be said that they have not started this campaign in the right spirit and, let’s face it, by impressing on the pitch.
For all the ‘bants’ and fun and games away from football, you must still deliver when the time comes. Thus far, they are doing their respective causes no harm.
As Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi have proved in recent times – taking your chance when it comes your way is vital. Let’s hope in the games still to play that they continue to do that.
Chamberlain vs Lens
Chamberlaine vs Chivas