Arsenal legend and The Sun writer Ian Wright has spoken out on his thoughts for Theo Walcott. The former Gunners forward believes it’s time for the English winger to make his transition from out wide to centre-forward after he netted a fine brace in Sunday’s North London derby.
Walcott has come under-fire this year after a string of average performances, which adds to his reputation of being a very inconsistent performer and is often ominousness in matches. But despite this reputation, he can deliver when on form and can be a huge asset to the side with his immense pace. He can be a massive threat to any defence, even to the solid backline of Barcelona, and Wright has urged Wenger to shift the former Southampton academy graduate up front against AC Milan in an attempt to salvage their Champions League campaign.
Wright wrote for The Sun:
Theo Walcott received a major favour from Arsene Wenger in the North London derby.
And now I would love to see Wenger do one more thing for Theo… finally stick him up front next to Robin van Persie.
It would be a move which could give AC Milan a major fright in the Champions League next week.
Theo was getting major stick off some fans during the first half of Sunday’s unbelievable clash with Tottenham — and those supporters need to take a serious look at themselves.
Wenger must have thought about replacing Theo at the break because the situation was not good. The player was getting slaughtered. It was horrible. And I’m just thankful that a substitution was avoided.
Hauling Theo off at the break could have been a defining moment in his career and certainly not in a good way. It would have been some task to recover from that.
Yet Theo responded with a brilliant second-half performance — including two goals. The character he showed to bounce back was a big highlight of Arsenal’s 5-2 win.
I’ve heard some Arsenal supporters saying that the moaning at the Emirates ‘got Theo going’ but that is absolute rubbish.
He was being made a scapegoat and I didn’t like it.
I am just thankful that Arsenal were rewarded in what was a great match.
Theo is still only 22 but now is the time for Wenger to play him up front.
For years, Wenger has been saying that he sees Theo in a central role but has never done anything about it.
At the very least, I would like to have seen Wenger experiment in a Carling Cup or FA Cup tie.
I know Wenger’s favoured formation is to have one man up front with two wide players. But as a striker myself, I know Theo would do some major damage.
Arsenal face Milan in the Champions League next Tuesday and, obviously, it looks as though they face an impossible mission after their 4-0 collapse at the San Siro.
But Theo has the pace to be an absolute nightmare for central defenders and I believe he is a decent finisher — as he showed against Spurs.
There would not be many better strike partnerships in the Premier League than a Walcott-Van Persie combo.
Playing Theo up front against Milan could give Arsenal a chance of making life difficult for the Italian side. I’m not saying Wenger’s team can win 5-0 but a couple of early goals could give Milan a big scare.
It’s not as though Arsenal don’t have a ready-made replacement for Theo on the right-hand side of midfield because Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a superb talent.
I’m sure the second half of Sunday’s game will give Theo some renewed confidence.
He is due to play for England against Holland tomorrow and some of his best performances in the last year have come at international level.
Hopefully, he can enjoy a decent run of form until the end of the season for Arsenal.
Saturday’s match against Liverpool is another big one and I’ve no doubt Theo will be desperate to continue his good work.
We all know Sunday’s result was massive for Arsenal and Wenger — and a big blow for Harry Redknapp’s Spurs.
Although I can see where Wright is coming from, Walcott will not be playing up front this season largely due to Wenger’s reluctance to shift the formation. The Frenchman has molded Arsenal’s playing philosophy into the 4-3-3 lineup, basing the attack on an influential attacking midfielder (Rosicky or Ramsey, formerly Fabregas) and an out-and-out striker (Van Persie). He won’t be changing this anytime soon.
The only time that he reverts to 4-4-2 is when the Gunners are loosing in the final 30-20 minutes, the only other possible solution for now is having Walcott become the centre forward with Van Persie dropping behind, this can certainly be effective as the Dutchman can thread the balls through for Walcott but he will not be able to get in as many dangerous situations.
Walcott has been a regular goal scorer when he managed to avoid injury in the past few seasons and this is largely due to one player – Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard was an absolute master at the throughball, and he continually activated Walcott by slotting perfectly weighted balls into space for the Englishman to outpace any defender, and this season we’ve lost this. Ramsey and Rosicky have lacked the cutting edge final ball, however Song has contributed a whole lot (note his sensational ball for Walcott’s second goal on Sunday).
The solution? Buy Mario Gotze to provide these final balls such as Fabregas once did and keep Walcott out wide until Van Persie needs resting then slot Walcott in up front. What do you guys think? Feel free to comment below…