Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could just be the antidote for Arsenal's febrile February. If this is a month when Arsène Wenger's side often crack under the strain of seminal fixtures, then a return to prominence of a player who has revitalised and enriched their attacking tenacity certainly represents significant cause for optimism before the biggest challenge yet.
Bayern Munich, the European champions and treble winners last season, return to the Emirates seeking to inflict more misery on a side they beat in the last 16 of the Champions League a year ago.
On that occasion Oxlade-Chamberlain played only 18 minutes of the second leg in Germany – a 2-0 victory – and escaped the ignominy of a dispiriting 3-1 home defeat but this time he is arguably the biggest threat to a team 16 points clear at the summit of the Bundesliga and attempting to become the first club to defend their European crown successfully in 24 years.
If Arsenal are to overcome the Munich machine, then Oxlade-Chamberlain could have a key role to play. It is still questionable whether he will even start on Wednesday night but following his impressive performance against Liverpool on Sunday, any decision to omit the 20-year-old from the starting line-up would be a major surprise and could be interpreted as a negative approach to the tie before a ball has even been kicked.
Mikel Arteta is suspended following his red card against Napoli in the group stage, meaning Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini will most likely pair up in central midfield behind a combination of three from Santi Cazorla, Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski, Tomas Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain, unless, as against Crystal Palace at the beginning of the month, the England international is deployed in the centre of the park.
Against Liverpool Oxlade-Chamberlain was in scintillating form, scoring a goal in the first half and creating one in the second, causing Aly Cissokho headaches on the right flank and also prompting Steven Gerrard to hack him down in the middle of a swift counter-attack. If he plays against Bayern, then a potential battle with David Alaba would be a different proposition entirely from the challenge posed by Cissokho but the youngster's pace and direct approach certainly provide fresh impetus for a team that has at times lacked attacking thrust since Theo Walcott's long-term knee injury sustained in January.
After Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice against Palace Wenger claimed that he would eventually be a central midfielder. "I believe Chamberlain can play out wide or centrally," the manager said. "Certainly in a few years he will be a central midfielder. He has that surge of power which is so vital in the game today. He is also a good finisher."
After his match-winning display against Liverpool Flamini said of his team-mate: "Chambo is a great player and when you are a great player you have the possibility to play in every position.
"Wherever he plays, he does it perfectly so I am happy for him. Again today he played on the side and he was brilliant. He really deserves the success he is getting right now."
Roy Hodgson was not present at the Emirates to watch Oxlade-Chamberlain against Liverpool but his recent displays will almost certainly have elevated him into consideration for this summer's World Cup, not only as a member of the England squad but potentially as a key player in the starting line-up.
If he can cause problems for Bayern Munich, he can cause problems for anyone, although opportunities on the ball may not come easily.
Philipp Lahm will provide an effective shield for Bayern's defence, although Franck Ribéry is injured and Manchester City showed they are certainly not infallible in December.
Either way Oxlade-Chamberlain's season has suddenly transformed from anonymity to acclaim after five months out since the opening day of the league campaign. For Arsenal his resurgence could not have come at a better time.