Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has played in so many positions this season that he joked recently that he’d probably show up at left back soon.
At Wembley, he pretty much did.
The Ox had played right wing, left wing, central midfield, right back and right wing back before Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea, and he found himself in another new role as Arsene Wenger plugged the gaps caused by defensive injuries.
Hector Bellerin kept his place on the right and the Ox was preferred to Kieran Gibbs at left wing back. He made a good fist of it too, carrying the ball forward at pace and defending diligently when Chelsea pushed on.
“It was a little bit of a shock,” the Ox said afterwards. “Obviously it’s not somewhere I’ve played before.
“I think I said a few weeks ago that I might play left back soon. I was only joking so for it to happen in the final was a bit of surprise.
“I’ve played left wing before and it’s something that I thought I could cope with and I could do, and obviously it was different and was a different task being on that side of the pitch but ultimately I was happy to do the job for the team.
“Maybe I felt a little bit off the pace after having a few weeks out but I gave everything I had. I think everyone put in a real good shift and the boys did what we needed to do.”
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Like the rest of us, the Ox was on cloud nine after our win over Chelsea. His one frustration? That we haven’t played like that often enough.
“When I look around that dressing room and training with the boys week-in, week-out… when we put in amazing performances then I know we are capable of that,” he said.
“Throughout the whole season it’s a big ask but it’s one that we need to be up for and I think the teams in the league have been as strong as I have seen them right down the division, and that obviously makes it harder.
“So it is frustrating. We think we can do it for the whole season but we need to improve and we know that. Performances like Saturday, after the semi-final, in a big game against Chelsea shows what we can do.
“It has given a bit of momentum for the club and for the fans to go into next season full of hope and I hope we can have a better year next year.”
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