Uche – Liverpool thoughts, Walcott, Elneny and playing out of position!


Hello everybody and a mighty big welcome to Mohammed Elneny, aka El Daddy. I have got to say that if his reputation is anything to go by, we might have finally found the heir to Patrick Vieira. Tall, tough, great technical ability, good on the ball, a slick passer, tough tackler and can hit a mean long range shot. These are just some of the qualities associated with our new midfield general. While I don’t expect him to just slot in seamlessly into the team with no preseason adaptation, he will still chip in meaningfully in the second half of the season.

Anyway, onto my main subject of today, that was a cracker of a match against Liverpool, wasn’t it? From the eyes of a neutral, that was English football at its attacking finest. I was a little sad we drew after leading for quite a while but I enjoyed the game still. I think I am learning to really just enjoy games this season without feeling entitled or cynical. No matter how well you plan for a game, quality opposition can sometimes find the chink in your armour. That is just life. Liverpool scored three quality goals. What can I say? We replied too and nearly won.

Depending on who you talk to, Arsenal blew it and Wenger got it all wrong with his two substitutions. I disagree with all that. This was a top quality game against a top quality team being managed by one of the best coaches in the world. When you put two and two together, it is not hard to figure out that a draw is a decent result. Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Man United and Liverpool all drew their games too and it wasn’t because they didn’t try hard enough to win it. It just goes to show how tough winning games has become in this league.

If Coquelin and Sanchez were fit to play, Wenger will surely not be bringing in the aging legs of Arteta to kill a game and stall Liverpool’s attack. He had to do something. They were all over us in the last fifteen minutes. In fact, if we had stolen all three points from Anfield, these same critics will be hailing Wenger’s substitutions as a stroke of genius. That volley from Joe Allen was a stunner just like the strike from Yaya Toure in our 2-1 win against Man City in December. Enough said. Liverpool have flashes of Dortmund in them already. Klopp’s teams tend to play like they are on steroids and you have got to give it to him. The man knows how to drill a team to attack with the ferocity of a swarm of bees.

So it was a good game and a fair point. None of the teams deserved less. While we had misplaced passes and were cut open time and time again, we held our ground to a certain point and remained efficient upfront. If I am not mistaken, almost every shot on target we had was a goal. That is impressive. This Arsenal team is managing to find goal scoring solutions in every game in spite of our ever changing attack and limited means. This brings me to the subject of Theo Walcott and our other wingers. He has been noticeably quiet since he returned from injury and fans have not been hesitant in showing their displeasure, which is understandable because he is capable of much more than this. But I have a theory on why he has not hit the same heights he did at the beginning of the season. Walcott is a winger – but he is not a left winger. Alexis Sanchez is a left winger. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plays his best game on the left as well. But Walcott is a right winger and not playing in that position has diminished his threat upfront. So he goes missing in games a bit like Podolski used to do.

If you are thinking that all wings are the same, I beg to differ. I was once reading a piece where Wenger was analyzing the game of Gunners legend Robert Pires and he said something I have not forgotten till this day. Wenger remarked that on the right, Pires was an average player but when he was switched to the left, his vision changed. Everything suddenly clicked for him and his game was elevated to produce the world class performances we all came to witness. Beside the issue of being left footed or right footed, some players see the game better and react better from specific positions on the field. That is just a fact. It is not a coincidence that Ozil has been unstoppable ever since Wenger quit his experiments and started playing him centrally. The same goes for Aaron Ramsey. Put him out on the right like Wenger often does when Cazorla is fit and Ramsey is totally lost. Move him to the center and he becomes a totally different monster. He is scoring more goals than all our other midfielders and will lumber and bleed for this team for ninety minutes.

So I reckon that Walcott will improve the moment Sanchez comes back to reclaim his spot on the left, shifting Theo out to the right. Walcott has served Arsenal well as a right winger for a decade. That is a terrain he knows too well. If he does not play as striker, at least put him back on the right where he has played beautifully all his life, and we will start to see the best of him once again. We can alternate him with the ever improving Joel Campbell. Imagine Walcott on the right with fellow speed demon Hector Bellerin? Our opponents will pee in their Jerseys and will limit attacking us from the right for fear of being hit by a bolt of lightning on the counter. By the way, Campbell is a gem. Whatever we do, we must not sell that boy. Peace.

Uche Edochie
Lagos – Nigeria

Tags Campbell Elneny Walcott


  1. Good Article Uche,

    Walcott is a good player. The only problem he has is “Consistency”. He can be so good at times and then have poor touches other times making Him to miss an easy chance.

    Having said that, I owe Walcott some respect. He has been with us for so long…

    Campbell has taken his chances pretty well….He is even combining well with Hector.

    Imagine when we have a fit full squad. That will be some good headache for Wenger…..

    Elneny is more like an Alonso kinda player from the clips i have seen. Long shot, good passer of the ball and strong. Anyway, I hope he adapts on time and give His all………

    Stoke, We are coming…..Arsenal All The Way!

    1. Yeah, that is the only beef I had with this article. I haven’t seen much from him but in stature and style of play he resembles Arteta (who is the same height – 1,80 m, and ironicaly just as tall as Ozil who is taller than most people imagine) more than Vieira.

      I think he is destined to be deep lying DF – playmaker in Arteta, Alonso mould. Ozil isn’t going to be dropped, and there are Wildhere, Ramsey and Cazorla for the other spot, he is not going ot get a game there.

    1. Pace alone isn’t enough to play for Arsenal, we need someone with the skill and flair and a good eye for goal, by “good” I mean the player should guarantee +15goals a season

      1. Yeah, I haven’t watched him play to be honest so pace is the only quality he possesses that I know of

  2. Yeah I agree totally
    Theo. needs to be more consistent and more precise with finishing. Actually Giroud too.

    Theo has scored 20 in a season so he definitely capture of good things

    I am hoping we will see for the next three months loads of goals from Theo, Giroud and Alexis. This should win us the title

  3. Imo Theo has been given enough chances, how can he say he wants to play CF when he can’t finish the numerous chances given to him ? We can’t afford our forwards to be so wasteful, hopefully Welbeck takes his chances because I honestly think Walcott should remain a back up striker. And if Welbeck doesn’t cut it then we should go for a talented young CF that can play on either wings.

  4. liverpool is an average team struck with injuries.
    They shouldnt have hustled us that way.
    we should always aim to win against
    liverpool spuds and everton whether home or away.
    Anything less is an awful result

    1. but pool had klopp: he knows how to get players up for a big game … something thats not a strength for monsieur wenger.

      1. @almostwinner
        Plus we let them run through our midfield at will, which was the cause of our problems…

    2. United was an average tram and won the PL, a good manager can turn an average squad into a team of world beaters

  5. The Arteta substitution cannot be justified at all.He has just come back from injury,yet there were far more fitter and far much better options on the bench in Chambers and Gabriel.If you want to see out a game, you don’t bring on a half fit 34 yr old with neither pace,height nor power and with very little defensive capability. Wenger did it against West brom,replacing coquelin with a totally unfit arteta instead of the better option of Flamini, and it directly cost us 3 points.
    I have lots of respect for our captain, but he can no longer play at the top level, he just doesn’t have the legs anymore

  6. Just because the player who came on didn’t make a name for himself by saving us doesn’t mean he was at fault or wrong substitution.

  7. two seasons ago it was Barca …… Now its R,mad and athletico

    WTF is wrong with these spanish teams???

    Eitherway …sets em right!

    They want sanchez?……got good news for em….
    Hahaha, the price of sanogo just went up!

  8. As usual good article by Uche. The only correction is that Tottenham didn’t draw but lost at home to Leicester. For those who want to make games look easy they need to reflect on which teams Liverpool has beaten this season: Man city, Leicester and Chelsea and then drew with Spurs. Is that the team you think Arsenal did not deserve to draw with? If it was the Arsenal of yesteryear we would have lost this game by a big margin. Any sincere Gunner should appreciate the new found spirit in the team. We have continued to show how much we can do this season. All we ask for is for the team never to relent but to go on and win the EPL.

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