Arsenal vs. Southhampton: Oxlade-Chamberlain Must Overcome Ties to Former Club

Shawn BrubakerContributor IISeptember 15, 2012

SO KON PO, HONG KONG - JULY 29: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal FC in action during the pre-season Asian Tour friendly match between Kitchee FC and Arsenal at Hong Kong Stadium on July 29, 2012 in Hong Kong.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of Arsenal's brightest young talents, but he could be hampered against Southhampton due to his close ties with his former club.

Oxlade-Chamberlain honed his craft at Southhampton's academy since age seven. This experience was instrumental in Oxlade-Chamberlain's career, as he used it to earn a spot in the Premiere League, as well as the English national team. 

Arsenal paid a handsome sum of £12 million to Southhampton for the young striker's services, and Oxlade-Chamberlain has been worth it as a developmental talent.

In recent months, though, Oxlade-Chamberlain has had some difficulty getting onto the pitch, as Arsenal features a strong competition at striker. Still, Oxlade-Chamberlain has played well when given the opportunity.

According to Rob Kelly's report, Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger fears the impact that playing his former club will have on Oxlade-Chamberlain, stating, “It’s always a little bit special for the guys who play against their former clubs—and I’ve not seen many players who can deal well with that."

Whether or not Oxlade-Chamberlain will play a key role in this match remains to be seen. If he does, though, Wenger is justified in wondering whether the young striker can handle the situation.

Playing against the club that helped turn him into a top-tier talent must be difficult for any footballer, but especially for one as young as the 19-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Hopefully, Oxlade-Chamberlain does get a significant opportunity against Southhampton. He is an exciting footballer with strong running ability.

More importantly, though, seeing how Oxlade-Chamberlain handles this situation will be an interesting story throughout the game. Oxlade-Chamberlain has a chance to make a statement with strong play against his former club.

A match against Southhampton might not be among the top challenges of Oxlade-Chamberlain's career, but it will be a unique experience for him all the same. He owes a great deal to the club; above all else, he owes Southhampton his best performance.

If Oxlade-Chamberlain puts forth his top performance against Southhampton, he will do both Arsenal and his former club proud.

Here's hoping he does just that.