Arsenal’s emphatic victory over their North London rivals Tottenham was revealing in a great number of ways. The Gunner’s midfield, which had been the target of a lot of criticism over the last few weeks worked hard and provided the goods going forward, Tomas Rosicky proved that he still had something to offer at the top level of the game and Arsene Wenger proved that he knows his players better than anybody else in the country. After all, I’m sure most Arsenal fans balked at the sight of Yossi Benayoun and Rosicky in the same starting line-up combined with the absence of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, but all these decisions were justified over the course of the match.
What’s more, I think Theo Walcott has finally proved that he’s capable of fulfilling the striker role that he’s desperate to adopt in the future. That’s if his two finishes are anything to go by.
Arsene Wenger generally utilises the wings as a kind of testing ground for new talent. Well Theo Walcott has had his shot out on the right and despite all his effort and a few good performances, it’s clear he’s not a winger.
Nobody wants to see Theo Walcott attempting tippy-tappy stuff down the wing. He needs to be deployed where he’s most effective and that’s directly in front of goal.
I’ve always advocated playing Walcott as a striker as it seems to play both into his strengths as a footballer and shy away from his weaknesses. He’s shown that he’s a great finisher (the way he’s capable of curling it effortlessly round keepers is reminiscent of – dare I say it – Thierry Henry) he’d do well playing off the last man and once he’s through on goal nobody will catch him.
What’s more, he wont have to think so much. As an out-and-out striker, he’ll have to rely predominantly on his instinct. His poor decision-making has been exposed out on the wing, but if he’s the one receiving the ball in front of the goal, rather than down the wings, he will no longer have to decide whether to cross or shoot.
All of which was evident during Arenal 5-2 victory over Spurs. He had a shocker of a first half down the right-wing, but when he was deployed as the furthest man forward in the second half he managed to grab two very classy goals.
Surely it’s time to start getting the most out of Theo?
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