With Aaron Ramsey, Mathieu Flamini, Kim Kallstrom and Jack Wilshere out against Crystal Palace, Arsene Wenger had to think outside the box to think of a midfield partner for Mikel Arteta.
In the end he only had two choices: Tomas Rosicky, who despite his experience and passing ability is too immobile to play such a critical position; and Alex Oxlade-Chainberlain, who despite having youthful exuberance on his side was assumed to have too little tactical nous to play the role.
In the end Wenger chose Chainberlain, perhaps based on the foresight Arsenal needed all the energy they needed to break down a stubborn Crystal Palace defence.
Whatever his reasons, Wenger's choice was a masterstroke as Chainberlain netted two of Arsenal's goals in the 2-0 victory.
Key to his goals were his pace, off the ball movement and composure enabling him to arrive in the box unopposed and finish calmly.
The three traits are skills more inclined to wingers than central midfielders, and it is a testament to Chainberlain that he was versatile enough to brings those traits into a foreign position.
Perhaps it should not be a surprise considering Chainberlain has been slated to be a future central midfielder, with a game similar to Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.
Perhaps it is plausible we might see him in this position more often, seeing as how competitive it is for a place as an attacking midfielder. Currently, the left wing is being fought by Cazorla and Podolski; the right wing is being fought by Walcott (when fit), Jack Wilshere and Gnabry; the middle is being fought by Ozil and Rosicky.
In this sense Chainberlain should also count his blessings he was able to have a clean game, unfettered by Crystal Palace's physical prowess. A poor game would have thrown into question Chainberlain's position as an Arsenal player - especially as he had an underwhelming season during the last campaign.
With no one waiting in behind him in the central midfield role, Chainberlain has to strike now in order to ensure a future for himself in Arsenal. If he plays well enough between now and March, he just might end up usurping Aaron Ramsey as Arsenal's number one central midfielder.
Judging from an interview he gave with the official Arsenal website, he appears to have the right attitude to do this:
"To play in midfield was nice," he said. "It's nice the boss has faith in me there. It's nice playing in midfield with players like we have, when we have got a lot of the ball."
"It's always an amazing feeling to score a goal, especially at a superb stadium like the Emirates. I'm glad to give something back to the fans. It's something that I want to add to my game more so it was nice to get two today."