Arsenal fans may be amazed by the improvements of Alexis Sanchez up top and the formidable back line of defence, but one player who cannot go without praise after his last few performances, is Arsenal and England international winger Theo Walcott.
It wasn’t too long ago that Walcott was celebrating his ten year anniversary of being at Arsenal football club, having joined the Gunners from Southampton back in 2006 as a teenager. Walcott had been expected to achieve greatness in his career and a lot has been invested in the winger during his ten years at the club, including a bumper £140,000 per week contract, however things haven’t quite gone as planned. Walcott’s time at the club has been very inconsistent and so poor have been some of Walcott’s campaigns, he has left many frustrated to the point where he has been dropped from both the Arsenal and England squads.
At the end of last season, many were calling for Walcott’s time at the club to come to an end. Despite the critical attention, Walcott as ever wishes to prove his critics wrong and this season he has started in great fashion, most recently having a fantastic game against Chelsea. Walcott started this campaign by missing a penalty against Liverpool, suggesting that some things never change, only for him to score moments later. The winger then also grabbed a goal against Chelsea this weekend to put the Gunners 2-0 up.
But Walcott’s goal against Chelsea wasn’t the only positive of his game, in fact he was seen to be performing to the highest standard both offensively and defensively. Walcott was seen tracking back to help Bellerin, showing strength against their attackers and being aware of his surroundings to change the direction of play.
Walcott has often been criticised for his lack of ball retention during his time at Arsenal, with the Englishman known for receiving the ball, only to lose it to the opposition moments later. Against Chelsea however, Walcott’s ball retention, tracking back and awareness of the opposition has shown how he has taken strides this season to get back to his former best.
It’s still too early in the season to say if Walcott is going to be a hit or miss this year, however given the way that the winger has started, I would say that he certainly deserves to keep his current place in the side, despite others pushing for a chance to start.