The problems that Arsenal have been, somewhat unexpectedly, experiencing in front of goal has been highlighted this week by the slightly embarrassing goal of the month competition. With Olivier Giroud the only Arsenal player to have scored a goal in the four Premier League games so far, the Arsenal website has been forced to include the Community Shield winner against Chelsea scored by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, just to give the fans an option to choose from.
Giroud has not been at his best either and after Arsene Wenger failed to, or decided not to, sign any more forwards in the summer transfer window, Arsenal fans are hoping that the team can quickly put this scoring drought behind them and start banging in the goals again.
One of the players that might be able to do that is Theo Walcott. The England international has not had too much time on the pitch so far, with just three appearances and 120 minutes in which to impress. But all that time has been as the main centre forward rather than his more usual role of wide forward.
Walcott has not grabbed his chance to impress yet in these early games, but he did so at the end of last season and is confident that the goals will come, especially if the boss keeps playing him in the middle. He told the Arsenal website that even though he has not scored yet, he has been working hard and trying to use his pace and movement to help his team mates create chances. He also suggested that his job is quite different in the middle and that may be why it has not quite clicked for him up to now.
Theo said, “On the right you have to do a bit more defending.
“Obviously up front you need to do your part because it always starts from the front, but on the right you need to track your runner, you need to tuck in for your fellow midfielders and your full backs. There’s all these other jobs that you need to do.
“Up front you can do things by just movement. At times you’re not involved in the games but you are. Some people may think, ‘Oh he hasn’t touched the ball for 15 minutes’ but you’re moving all the time, taking players and creating space for team-mates.
“That’s what strikers need to do at times, not just to always come for the ball and lay it off. You need to stretch teams, which will give our midfielders more space, more opportunities and more goals. That’s what you want in the team.
“I think you’ll see a mixture of me playing in those three positions, on the left, right and centre, depending on how the game is and who the opposition is. That’s why the manager is the best man to pick his team. I’ve shown the manager what I can do on the left, right and centre.
“It’s obviously well documented that I want to play up front but there’s a lot of competition for places here. I will do my best in any position when I am given the opportunity to play for this club. I will always be judged on goals and assists but I feel like I would score a lot of goals up front.”
What do you think Gooners? Should Wenger keep playing Walcott in the middle and hope that he starts to score regularly? Should he put the flying forward back on the flanks? And should he keep using him as an impact sub or play him from the start?