If the Chinese New Year was taken at face value by Arsene Wenger, Arsenal would have to wait until 2021 for it to be the year of the Ox.
This wouldn’t be that unrealistic, given Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would then be celebrating his 28th birthday and most probably in the midst of the peak of his career.
However, given that the Ox is now entering his fourth season with the Gunners and already been capped 20 times by England, Wenger may be expecting the former Southampton man to be making a greater impact much sooner.
Scoring the only goal, his 13th for Arsenal, in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea is a good start to nailing down a more regular first-team spot and it is his second in recent weeks, having also netted in the Emirates Cup against Lyon.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best ever league return for Arsenal is two goals in both his debut season in 2011/12 and then again in 2013/14. It is 17/20 that he registers over 8.5 league goals in the upcoming campaign.
The big area for the 21-year-old to develop is in the number of Gunners goals that he is involved in, as he certainly has the basic attributes to be a real game changer.
Those players that have the ability to change a game single-handedly and earn their team maximum points are in short supply.
Gareth Bale previously did it for Tottenham, so did Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United. Most recently has been Eden Hazard at Chelsea, while Raheem Sterling may well be another this season at Manchester City.
It is those players with the ability to glide past the opposition at pace to make something out of nothing, or provide a goal from nowhere or regularly prove the difference in the final third that are in such short supply in world football.
Arsenal already have one with Alexis Sanchez, but few teams have two at their disposal. Wenger will have if Oxlade-Chamberlain adds some consistency to the form he showed in patches last season.
Only eight players completed more dribbles last season than the Ox despite him starting only 23 Premier League matches, while he did so at an average better than Hazard, Sanchez, Sterling and Philippe Coutinho.
However, he didn’t muster half the shots of any of this quartet and less than a quarter of the number of penalty-box touches of Hazard.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was certainly the most dangerous attacking player during the first half of the Community Shield and stated in an interview afterwards that he wants to add more goals to his game.
Should this happen don’t be surprised to see him honoured with the PFA Young Player of the Year award, which he can be backed to receive at 25/1.