Arsenal vs. Newcastle: Theo Walcott Makes Resounding Claim to Start as Forward
Theo Walcott lit up the Emirates Stadium and silenced plenty of critics with his performance against Newcastle.
Arsenal and Newcastle produced some fabulous attacking football to the tune of 10 goals. There were plenty of interesting questions for each side heading into the game.
Would Arsenal keep up their recent EPL form? Would Newcastle be able to get their own form sorted? Would Demba Ba prompt Arsene Wenger to change his mind and submit a bid? And would Walcott prove he can lead the line?
While it would be quite interesting to focus on all these questions Walcott deserves special attention for his performance.
The Arsenal No. 14 showed composure in front of goal, some good dribbling and used his pace well as the central forward.
He may only have inherited the position thanks to Olivier Giroud's injuries but he showed he won't be giving it back quite so easily.
In performing as he did today, Walcott ensured that there is a strong possibility of him becoming a full-time forward. He may have also engineered a swifter completion to his re-signing a contract with the Gunners.
The fact that this was Arsenal's first real test since he began as a striker also helps his cause.
Newcastle may not be performing as they did last year, but they are still a tough outfit on any day.
While one could certainly nitpick at various instances in the game where Walcott frustrated, a hat-trick and two assists is hard to argue against.
Should Theo Walcott Become Arsenal's Main Forward?
Walcott outshone two players in particular during his 90 minutes on the pitch.
One is vying for the position Walcott covets and another has been rumoured as a possible target to help Arsenal in that very position.
Olivier Giroud came on and tried to steal the show but would not have bulged the net without two assists, one a magnificent cross, from the Englishman.
Demba Ba showed what a powerful threat he can be even though he and his teammates eventually ran out energy. His two goals made the game interesting until the closing minutes.
Walcott's three goals and two assists showcased the best of his abilities.
His pace, composure and finishing was very evident in Arsenal's opener and eerily similar to a certain Thierry Henry. In fact, you could say all of his goals were reminiscent of Arsenal's all-time leading goal-scorer.
His second goal could just have easily been blasted over the net.
Other players would have tried a one-time finish but Walcott, like Henry, took the time to settle himself before sweetly finding the top corner with plenty of bodies in the way.
His third goal was the most surprising considering the dribbling skills on show at the beginning. His determination was definitely a plus.
When all was said had done he had waltzed through the Newcastle defense and had the capacity to execute a deft chip over the onrushing Timothy Krul.
He could have appealed for a penalty while on the ground, instead he immediately got up and completed his hat-trick in style.
His two assists highlighted his growth in his crossing abilities and also showcased some improvement in his dribbling.
It will be very hard for Arsene Wenger to ignore this performance, though one gets the feeling Wenger could point to his two assists as examples of his productivity from the right.
Maybe that's a bit negative though.
Walcott is certain to hit double-digits in the Premier League for the first time in his career. That will happen regardless of where he plays for the remainder of the season.
What this performance does is give Arsene Wenger an answer to his striker problems. Why not start Walcott and have Giroud coming off the bench as a plan B?
That would mean buying someone who can play on the right to compete with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It would probably be easier to find a solid winger as opposed to a quality forward midway through the season.
Theo Walcott still has to continue this form moving forward, and Arsenal has a very tough January schedule to navigate.
At least with this performance he has staked a major claim to become Arsenal's starting forward.
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