Groomed into a lethal attacking outlet on the wing by Arsene Wenger, Theo Walcott is fast becoming as indispensable as he once was to the Arsenal cause. He may be in hot form at the moment, but Arsenal still need more from him if he wants to retain the central striker role and push toward new heights.
The Englishman has recently ousted the out-of-sorts Olivier Giroud from the starting lineup to lead the line for the Gunners scoring 4 goals in 6 starts for the club this season. However behind his goalscoring antics there are still a number of worrying habits that he must kick. For one his erratic, handbag finishing when running with the ball at pace that we’ve seen all too often from him. Walcott is best running onto a ball with a minimum one or two touches – a reaction shot is his forte. He can certainly punish opponents, but his shooting still leaves an awful lot to be desired. It has often felt like you’d be better to spend your time reading this online casino guide and gambling away on the pokies than placing a bet on Theo to score in back to back games.
Walcott’s decision making is also questionable at times, but if we’ve learned anything from his recent outing at Emirates in our memorable 3-0 win over Manchester United, he will strengthen this area of his game over time if the former Southampton starlet continues to gain more experience from playing through the middle.
Ideally we need to see more of what he produced in what was one of his most stellar displays against United before the international break, ironically he didn’t even score but was a constant thorn in the Red Devil’s backside, stretching their defence and notching up some assists through his unselfish play.
Despite some of the negatives above, there are a lot of promising signs that Walcott has proven his ability to be Arsenal’s central striker and will grow further into the role. Giroud is certainly worried about his first team chances.
“It is something new for me,” the Frenchman said of warming the bench”. Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this. I have often played from the start.”
“I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. I cannot simply take refuge in work. At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo [Walcott] for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.”
The centre forward role is Walcott’s to lose at present based purely on form. Giroud’s goals for France will do his confidence the world of good, but he will have his work cut out if Walcott continues to score and combine so fluently with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Giroud will get his chance. Having a Plan B is vital for us when Plan A is faltering, not to mention injuries and rotation. But for now Theo Walcott must grab this opportunity with both hands and become the centre forward we crave.