This week we'll announce the Vitality Player of the Season for 2016/17 - as voted for by you, the fans.
Fifty chances created, 44 games played, 11 assists, six goals - and six positions.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been an Arsenal player for six seasons now, and this was definitely the best of the lot.
“At this point in my career people know what my capabilities are and I just need to get the games,” the Ox said back in September. “I’ve been here since 2011 now though and I’m starting to feel like more of a senior player. You want to be able to push on and feel your worth in the dressing room by playing as much as you can.”
The Ox started the season in an unfamiliar left-wing position against Liverpool. It didn’t take him long to make his mark after coming off the bench, scoring a fine solo goal just five minutes after his introduction.
He impressed again in that position in a 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets, before before scoring twice from behind the striker as we beat Reading 2-0.
The Ox even featured at right back in the closing stages of our trip to Manchester United back in November, his inviting cross to set up Olivier Giroud’s last-minute equaliser evidence of ever-improving delivery from wide areas.
Further accomplished performances away at West Ham and at home to Stoke followed soon after, as the Ox continued to stake his claim for a regular starting spot.
Then came the new year. By this point, it didn’t matter where the Ox was selected, such were the quality of his displays. He was excellent at former club Southampton when starting centrally in the Emirates FA Cup and made the right wing-back role his own when Arsène Wenger adopted a new 3-4-2-1 formation in April.
The Ox finished the season by winning our April Player of the Month award, his assist for Nacho Monreal’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final equaliser a real highlight of a highly-encouraging season.
WHAT THEY SAID:
"With Ox I’ve played with him for quite a number of years now. We’re always talking on and off the pitch about getting that link up going. So he kind of knows where I’m going to be and I know where he wants to put the ball as well, so it’s nice.”
“It looks like he’s made a move forward. I’m very pleased for him. He’s happy with his position, where he’s playing at the moment. I’m convinced that he has all the qualities to play well there so hopefully it will give him the needed confidence.”
Arsène Wenger on the Ox playing as a right wing-back
“He can provide special moments in the game, so what’s important for him is to combine that with playing the simple pass and keeping possession. He has the ability to be quick in transition and has the speed and guile to make him somebody opponents don’t want to play against.”
Southampton 0-5 Arsenal
Emirates FA Cup fourth round
January 28, 2017
The season had only just passed its halfway stage, but the Ox came into this Emirates FA Cup tie at his former club having already occupied four different positions.
He took up a fifth at St Mary’s and delivered a central-midfield masterclass to help us ease into the next round, combining slickly and effectively with Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the engine room.
The highlight of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance came early on, his sublime cross-field pass enabling Danny Welbeck to double our advantage in the 22nd minute.
In fact, the Ox impressed to the extent that he made the vast majority of his appearances over the next three months in the middle of the park, before moving to right wing-back when our formation changed to a 3-4-2-1.
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City
Emirates FA Cup semi-final
April 23, 2017
We were up against it at Wembley after Sergio Aguero gave Man City a second-half lead.
But then, with 19 minutes to play, Oxlade-Chamberlain received possession on the right flank, strode forward and whipped in a delicious far-post cross for Nacho Monreal to emphatically volley home.
That moment was a crucial turning point, Alexis scoring an extra-time winner to book our place in our 20th FA Cup final.
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