Did Arsenal miss a trick? Why no Walcott?

I suppose that it did not matter in the end, as Arsenal were able to soak up the pressure from West Ham and record a vital away win that keeps the little run of results going and moves the Gunners above the Hammers in the Premier League table.

However, it was not exactly smooth sailing and on another day we could have been talking about another draw. It should have been more comfortable for the Arsenal players and fans as well, as we should have killed the game off in the second half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a good game and I am not having a go at him, but he was clearly tiring as the second half wore on and Wenger had the perfect replacement on the bench in the shape of Theo Walcott. And the fact that the Ox is just back from a groin strain meant keeping him on made even less sense.

Not only is Theo quicker than the Ox, but he is a better finisher and would probably have taken at least one of the chances we made.

I realise he is not fully match fit yet but how is he supposed to sharpen up without any time on the pitch. Maybe the boss was saving his subs for defenders but he only used two anyway. Why not give Walcott a run out and try to finish the game and thereby take away the need to defend for our lives in extra time? If we were still at 2-1 with a few minutes left, you could always take him off again.

What do you think Gooners, is Wenger being TOO cautious with Walcott?

Tags Chamberlain ox welbeck


  1. I guess we will see on Jan 1st. If Walcott is ready then he will replace Ox. I don’t believe it was a bad call not having Walcott in.

    1. I can’t really understand why theo never see pitch, may be wenger is planing to make it 1 full year, as it was last January. If not that I see no reason why!

    2. Agreed Walcott or Podolski would have been wrong they don’t defend when they lose the ball like the others,that’s not to say they can’t its just to early for them to be any good I we were 3 0 up then bring them on in the 65th to get into the game To tense to make the call just for game time Lets hope he starts with them and Rosicky against Southhamton. CB

  2. Hard to criticise after a win but, yes, the last 20 minutes were screaming out for Walcott where I was watching.

    1. I cant imagine playing for a team with a manager making substitutions only after 80 minutes. One can see on Sanchez how they’re being exhausted.

  3. We won, I’m happy. The only concern is fitness for the Southampton game. Seeing as Southampton were playing against Chelsea and holding on with 10 men at the end, they can’t be in a much better state than us though, especially as they’re not used to playing 3 games a week.

    1. Agreed. We also have to be careful with Sanchez. That’s a lot of games to play in a row even for him. Really hope Wenger is planning to rest him once Theo gets back to full fitness.

  4. I really want to see him start against southampton, on new years day! His pace would be very useful against them!

  5. I suspect walcott and poldi will be used at some point against shampton. We’ll see the effect of them playing lots of games soon. They were tough and very resilient against chelsea today and that was without Clyne and Bertrand. Glad schneiderlins missing for our game. Ihope coquelin plays again and Is a match for wanyama, should be abelter of a match. Coyg!!

    1. I hate to say it but I really think We will see Podolski playing for someone else come January (Maybe inter) so I do not think he will play before then if the rumors are true. (Podolski is one of my favorite players so I will be sorry to see him go but I do not feel he deserves to be sitting on the bench so I would understand if Wenger is not going to play him why he would want to go.) I just don’t understand How Arsene could be pleased with the past 2 games in spite of the wins. It was a Far cry from convincing victory. Had we been playing a world class team like Bayern Munich, or Barca and we managed a 2-1 win against the flow of play I would say well done but it was West Ham Arsenal should have been able to push them back into their half and keep the ball up their end for 60% of the game creating chance after chance WITHOUT being caught on a counter. against teams like that. With a annual wage bill increased to £180 million, this year Arsenal is Hardly getting good return on that money.

  6. What I do remember is that Wenger was similarly slow in starting Walcott last season after his return from injury. What’s clear is that when Walcott is on form, Arsenal is more dangerous. We need to give him games!

  7. Next few months:
    Walcott will come back when it is right. Wenger likes Theo so will give him the chance to get back to full fitness and will then get him back in the team.

    Podolski will be leaving. He’s spoken out to many times against Wenger for Wenger to keep him. Hoping that we replace him with Reus.

    Pick up a DM. Javi Martinez and Luiz Gustavo are good options. If not, Alex Song would do a job.

    Pick up a new starting CB. Mertesacker has to drop to the bench, he just isn’t the same player. Grab Hummels. Hummels and Koscielny would be a monstrous pairing. Mertesacker or Chambers as the replacement if there are injuries.

    1. would love Gustavo….

      he was tooo good for Bayern and has to leave after 6 months….

      Excellent preformance for Brazil against Germany and Netherlands…

      World class

  8. a walcott in the last 10 minutes probably wold have got us that third goal, but i understand the close shop approach and did not mind the hard fought 3 points.

    Some minutes in southampton game would do him nicely, i personally feel wenger should start him and let him run at them for 60 minutes, hope Kos will be ok for these 3 matches, actuallly think we can get chelsea lead to single digits

  9. Coquelin actually plays well… provides the pace and strength….

    but unfortunately hes not big name or comes with a big tag…

    Wenger out!!

  10. Play a player who hasn’t played in a year in one of the most important games to date? No offence but I am very glad you not managing Arsenal. Chamberlain did well for us.

  11. well we won so it worked I suppose. But agree, we put ourselves in the same situation just like against Liverpool. At least we had Alexis as our outlet this time instead of absolutely nobody. But Alexis was pretty tired at the end of the game. AW’s subs are still questionable for me, but I think he did okay this time by at least keeping Sanchez on, who always fights until the end as well.

  12. it’s no coincidence that since our ex gunner SONG joined West Ham, they have been so high in the league.. SONG is the man in the middle of the park

    1. Wenger is messing with our heads. Probably hears the rumblings about “the major error he has made in not taking Song back blah, blah etc” and he brings Coquelin, a little used squad player recently on loan, back in yesterday to basically say to the fans STFU about Song. For 70mins FC was the more effective player. Song looks good at WH but is history as far as Arsenal is concerned.

  13. I understand the need for rotation but i like this throwing every defender we have to secure the win lol wenger is really desperate to be doing this, what happened to his ‘best defense is a good offense’ speech??

    He’s smart to let theo get more training time under his belt and more warm ups, last time he threw him in and boom he suffers a groin injury.

    we need to send campbell/sanogo/poldi on loans, if we can see poldi then let’s do it now before his market value goes down the drain then use the funds to get a CB.

  14. We will definitely need Walcott away to Southampton
    playing Southampton at home is hard enough but away is going really tough

    2 things I’m worried about
    1. Possible burn out of Sanchez (he plays every game and plays his heart out every game). At some point he needs rest.
    2. Why we don’t start Podolski ? He is a goal scorer. If Wenger is doing it to make him want to leave, then Wenger better get someone better like Cavani. Wenger has treated Podolski pretty badly.


    Bench: Ospina, Chambers, Flamini, Monreal, Coquelin, Campbell, Welbeck

    1. If Poldi does not start vs. S.H. it means either

      A. A deal is indeed in the final stages for a January departure.
      B. Wenger is even more stupid and vindictive than any of us could have imagined.

    2. 10 of the Chelsea players have played as many PL games as Alexis – you think Mourinho is worried? Our we getting a little precious about this “burn out” thing.

  15. My guess is Walcott’s recovery has been held up by some minor nagging ailment and Wenger is just being cautious to bring him back in the right situation.

  16. I think we should adopt the same tactics at Southampton as we did in the second half at West Ham. Two holding midfielders in Flamini and Coquelin, four at the back and Santi slightly in front of them to defend and launch counter attacks.

    Up front we could go with the same three, or substitute Ox for Walcott perhaps as he looked exhausted, either way the tactics remain the same – tear them apart on the counter attack.

    We were up against it in the second half when we tried counter attacking, but if it wasn’t for our poor finishing, and some good saves by Adrian, we would’ve been completely out of sight with all the chances we had.

  17. Have to disagree with the author on this one-

    Walcott is great, but he’s never made a tackle in his life. Ox offers a lot more complete game, and when we were under pressure from West Ham, it was good that we had a team that were willing to run, harass, defend, tackle and do everything that is needed to secure the victory-

    I know some fans wish we had been more ‘positive’ keeping more strikers on the pitch at the end- but these are the same people that also complained we can’t see a game out.

    Wenger HAS leant from mistakes in the past, and evidence has shown we are not great at closing a game out with al our strike force still on the pitch- so although it was a little ugly, and tense the 3 points matter the most!

    Good job team – a vital 3 points to creep up the table

    1. totally agreee, we are unable to close the game…..

      therefore pumping more defenders, DMs, defensive players at the ending stages are essential to win the game

      1. Much of Walcott’s career he was (fairly or unfairly) criticized for lack of and poor tackling. His defensive skills and work rate had seemed to improve quite a bit……. then he got injured.

        My guess is you won’t see him making any hard tackles for at least a few months and that is probably the way Wenger wants it.

        1. Think Theo will have to up the energy levels when he returns to warrant inclusion – he must be looking at the effort and attitude that the front 4 are now putting in and see that will need to improve that aspect of the game. Looks like Sanchez has had a real effect on the work-rate of a couple of players, Santi and AOC in particular. DB already had that in his game.

    2. He’s never made a tackle in his life?remind me how he got injured against spurs in the first place,oh yes he made a tackle from behind to stop their attack and put it out for a throw in

  18. I feel Wenger has made sound decisions our last 2-3 games, the only issue I have is when he plays Chambers RB and Debuchy CB (against Liverfool). Other than that, props to him for bringing on more defenders and NOT attackers yesterday. If we had brought on Walcott, and West Ham scored the equalizer, people would be screaming and asking why Wenger did not defend his lead? West Ham’s plan was obvious, pump those long balls in and hope Carrol or one of their other 6ft players gets to it first…and unfortunately because we are so weak in the air, it worked a few times but West Ham’s finishing was so poor we got let off the hook. Having more defenders on the pitch allowed us to soak up the fire. Let us not forget the unsung hero of yesterday – Wojciech Szczezny

  19. Whatever wenger does is not good to some ppl. The most important thing is that Asene decision worked out in our last two games, we won. Many including me wanted Theo in for attacking instead of defensive strategy we applied. Pls house I hv a suggestion, can’t we use delay tactics in d front n passing method to slow d game down at dat crucial time to keep our lead instead of dis hypertension n riski defensive style ?

    1. It is wise to keep the attack on to negate the opposition attack. Nothing wrong with bringing on fresh defensive legs but Wenger has panicked a bit with the poor defense and he brings the def help on too early in the opinion of many fans and analysts.

  20. I get that Wenger needed to bring on defensive players to secure the lead,but I also remember that,at the point of the first change when Gibbs came on,we were dominating the game and looked the most likely to score, so why then make a change that made us absorb pressure and almost concede a goal at the very end.i got it when he did it against QPR, we were a man down Nd we were barely holding on but at westham,we were in total control, where is the killer instinct Wenger?

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