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The Ox v Theo Walcott: Who deserves a starting role?

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It’s a fairly healthy position for Arsene Wenger to be in. Judging on the basis of his sides 6-1 drubbing of Southampton at the weekend, Arsenal have all manner of competition for places within the squad.

The fact that the club were able to bring on the likes of Aaron Ramsey (Wales captain), Theo Walcott (England International) and Olivier Giroud (Ligue 1 top-scorer last year) whilst coasting at 4-1 up, is a testament to the squad that Arsene has built.

Indeed, Arsenal may now have one of the strongest benches in the Premier League (though whether they can compete with the big money boys in this regard is still up for debate). Naturally, Arsene is going to have a few decisions to make over the course of this season.

Abou Diaby v Francis Coquelin. Per Mertesacker v Laurent Koscielny. Olivier Giroud v Lukas Podolski. Best yet, Theo Walcott v Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain.

You can expect to see some particularly healthy competition between these two former Southampton youngsters over the course of this season. This may be true at both Arsenal and International level.

Both have similar qualities: they’re pacey (outrageously so), they’re direct and they’re not yet the finished article. To get even more general, I’d say they’re separated by these two key distinctions: Theo Walcott can finish and Oxlaide-Chamberlain can beat players using more than just his pace.

Chamberlain looks to be a great passer of the ball and may well have a role in the centre of the pitch in the future. He’s also capable of all the tricks, flicks and embellishment that many young footballers tend to spend too much time focusing on.

In this sense, the Ox offers Arsenal more than Theo does. Whilst Theo is an accomplished player in his own right, capable of pulling apart defences which leave him too much space, the Ox offers more than explosive pace. That’s surely why Arsene seems to be favouring him at the moment (that and the confusion regarding Theo’s contract situation).

Both players are still young, but Alex in particular has a lot of developing to do. Whether he’s ready to be a first-team regular is uncertain. At the moment, however, he’s a considerably better option than Theo.

What’s your take? Is the Ox worthy of his place in the first team?

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6 comments
  • burny says:

    The ox shows more promise than theo, also he can finish, he has a powerful shot. Theo is not consistent enough to be played.

  • DocBrody says:

    Walcott gets a bad reputation not because he is a bad player, but because he isn’t as good as everyone thinks he should be by now. Fans get this confused in their heads and somehow conclude that he is ‘crap’. The Ox is great, for his age, but not ready to replace Walcott full time.

    Just ask the managers of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Man City, or pretty much any team, who they fear most. Every one of them will say Walcott. Arsenal fans may not respect Walcott, but the opposition does. Watch the next game and note how the position of the other teams back line changes when he is in the game. His mere presence buys us an extra 5 yards of space.

  • samson mbugua says:

    Finally someone who gets it! I wouldn’t sell Walcott if given the option. If you have been following Arsenal’s progress, you’d know by now that he is getting better and better at finishing. He even looks more composed than before! I love Ox (who doesn’t) but Walcott is still the guy to beat (literally!).

  • Great question Harry – but can’t Arsenal have both?? One right wing, one left wing…

    • FFC says:

      Harry here – I’m assuming Lukas Podolski is going to spend a lot of time out on the right this season, sharing duties with Gervinho. I also think the similarities may make Wenger think twice about playing them both.

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