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FM 13 Time Machine: The Curious Case of Alex Chamberlain

The 2008 movie called “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” tells the story of a man who starts ageing backwards, and that leads to bizarre events and consequences. Now I’m going to tell you the story of Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain through Football Manager 2013, it somehow resembles what happened to that man in the film.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is probably one of the top young talents in English football, Arsenal paid around 12 million pounds to buy him from Southampton back in 2011. His initial profile in FM 13 is consistent with the tag of “promising youngster”:

chamberlain fm 2013 initial profile

Nothing strange so far, a talented 18-year old player with a bright future ahead of him. Or maybe not. Here’s how he ended up in my FM 13 save, in the year 2019:

chamberlain fm 2013 future profile

Norwich? Yeah, that’s exactly what I said too. First I thought Norwich might have become a force in English football but that wasn’t the case, their best finish in the Premier League was 7th from 2012 to 2019, slightly better than in real life but not extraordinary. They did manage to win the League Cup in 2018, with Oxlade-Chamberlain in the squad, but the lad played just two games in the competition and was an unused substitute in the final.

chamberlain fm 2013 career stats

As you can see Norwich had to break the bank to sign the player, 22 million pounds. But his stats are not really worthy of that huge sum of cash. He never managed to take his season average rating above seven, the best year was right after joining Norwich when he came close, 6.99 average rating with 3 goals scored and 10 assists. It’s true that he never seemed to get enough first team football at Arsenal, the numbers show he was always a fringe player. By the way, Arsenal won the Premier League title in 2016 and the Europa League in the same season.

His 2012-2013 Premier League season stats, compared to real life, show a pretty big difference: 13 apps in FM 13 compared to 25 apps in real life, 1 goal in both cases, 5 assists in real life versus just 1 in FM 13.

Then I thought Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might have had some injury problems but that was not the case either, the worst injury he had in all those years was a groin strain which kept him out for just two weeks.

His 2018-2019 figures are not very impressive either:

chamberlain fm 2013 player stats 2019

Just 15 starts in the Premier League, won less than half the matches he played in, a terrible 52% pass completion ratio, which is disastrous for a midfielder, and just 31% successful crosses, which is a total flop for a winger.

But let’s get back to his initial vs future profile to see something really curious, pretty similar to ageing backwards:

chamberlain fm 2013 initial profile chamberlain fm 2013 future profile

As you can notice his finishing, first touch and passing deteriorated, the finishing actually went down by two points, from 11 to 9! The mental attributes did improve with age though, except teamwork and work rate, but some of his physical attributes also took a hit, agility, stamina and strength went up but he lost some points on jumping and balance. The lack of first team football in the first few seasons might have something to do with all this but it can’t be just that.

He’s a versatile player, that’s a good quality to have, but it can also be a curse I think.

chamberlain fm 2013 versatility

The screen shot above shows the positions he has played in during the 2018-2019 season. As you can see he was all over the place. He played as a MR/AMR for England, but at the club he was employed on the right wing, but not as a AMR, as a central midfielder and as a striker too!

These are the facts and the clues, now it’s your turn to try to explain “The Curious Case of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain”.


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Vinay Gopalkevinpedro rorizfayonAndrew Macbride Recent comment authors
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Darren Smith

I have seen this happen in countless saves and I think its a major issue that SI have to deal with. There are a number of incredible players that just don’t improve correctly through AI management. Sure game time plays a huge role but SI need to review this issue, Alex should grow to be an elite player, not age backwards.

Nice post Johnny.

Marcos Chong
Marcos Chong

Ive written on this website quite alot for some specific players…Chamberlain on most of my saves doesn’t improve almost at all…Arsenal simply doesnt play him and when he gets old (due to price tag its a couple of seasons before someone buys him) he still got the stats of a mostly young player… That is evident by ur screenshots…now… In my current save I manage england, besides my club, and have played oxlade as a sub or starting since the beginning and he is class no matter stats. The type of player he is he can be the third wheel in my 3 man midfield line or play opposite ince(if i get tired of sterling thinking his bale) on the right…his physical stats as well as his good technical skills make him a great transitional player but simply not for the money arsenal wants you to pay. I have bought chamberlain before and he does develop well( no screen deleted save) but then again his as good as the team that plays him…Chamberlain should be played either as an inside forward or as a central mid support…and i prefer him in mid to be honest because its difficult to find… Read more »

Marcos Chong
Marcos Chong

Oh and I do think that its some kind of bug…One save El Shaaraway becomes an out right beast and my very next save u can buy him fr 15 mil first season due to not being played…I mean im sure there are other variables into this like managers changing etc etc

Andrew Macbride

I think because of the formation Arsenal play in the game it doesn’t work out for him, for me his best position is right winger, i normally play 4-5-1 and i think that formation would suit him best.


This always happens when the team buy another player in him position.
Its more of a problem of innecesary transfer imo

pedro roriz
pedro roriz

franklly, i think it is great that so many different situations have emerged on so many different saves. after all, FM wouldn’t be such a good game if everything would just fall into the same place every time you’ve created a game. having so many variables interfering in every save is the spice of this simulator.


Maybe it depends on the number of 3 or 4 star players at the club already.
Raheem Sterling was 4 star potential for me with 2.5 current ability until I bought a winger from South America and another winger from Europe as back up one summer.
Then once everyone returned from holidays in July, Raheem’s current ability dropped to a 2 star while his potential ability to a 2.5.
Also his attributes started to decline.
The 2 new lads I bought had 4* potential also.
Also, if I ever sell a first team regular starter who is maybe entering his 30’s, his understudy always tends to suddenly up his CA and PA?!

Vinay Gopal

For me I bought him to real Madrid and he turned into a monster ending his career in 2026 with around 130 goals and 100 assists in around 350 apps

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