Arsenal fans have waited four years to see Joel Campbell step into a playmaking role for the English Premier League club, but finally the 23-year-old Costa Rican striker is starting to come through.
Campbell scored his second goal of the season, and notched his first career home goal at Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal beat Sunderland in Premier League play 3-1 Saturday. Playing in place of star forward Alexis Sánchez, Campbell made the most of his opportunity to start by giving Arsenal an early 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute after a beautiful touch pass from all-world midfielder Mesut Özil.
And in line with his customary goal-scoring celebration, Campbell then pulled out a pacifier from his pants and embraced the crowd.
Coach Arsene Wenger has often been Joel Campbell’s most vocal critic, even saying earlier this season that it was “now or never” for Campbell, but told reporters after the match Saturday that he sees his young forward improving.
“Joel Campbell did well,” he said. “He also scored against Swansea since he has come into the side. His contribution is very positive.”
At 9-3-3, Arsenal now finds itself in second place in the Premier League standings behind surprise No. 1 Leicester City.
Campbell and Arsenal will return to the pitch on Wednesday for Champion’s League action when they take on Greece’s Olympiacos in the tournament’s group stages.