After a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Theo Walcott he has picked up where he left off last season; doing what he does best and scoring regularly for Arsenal. He has looked a bit rusty, but that was always expected.
When Walcott joined Arsenal, I will readily admit I was not a fan. I didn’t think he was hopeless, but after watching him run the ball out numerous times, I could not understand what all the fuss was about. Granted, he had begun to show flashes of his finishing prowess, but these were few and far between – and he offered nothing more. Obviously he was been played out of position on the right rather than his preferred central role, but he still should have offered more in attack.
As usual, Arsene Wenger continued playing him even when everyone else had given up on him. However, it reached a point where even Wenger was getting frustrated at Walcott’s lack of progress. He seemed to be stuck in a rut, when his development should have been much further ahead of schedule. He was 23-years-old by then, and beginning to lose confidence in his ability.
Walcott’s breakthrough season came in the 2011-12 campaign, when he supplied numerous assists for the treacherous Robin van Persie; while also scoring quite a few himself. Whereas his talent had come in short bursts previously, he was now much more consistent and has not really looked back since then.
Arsenal now have many players competing for Walcott’s position, and it was never a guarantee that he was going to walk straight in to the first team. However, his current form suggests he should get more playing time than has been afforded to him. He has a right to grumble, because while he has been scoring almost a goal per game and making a difference in attack, he has regularly found himself on the bench (I’m starting to sense a Podolski situation developing).