Analysing Theo Walcott's excellent performance in the win over Hull City

Theo Walcott told fans that Arsenal’s best is still to come, after a weekend in which a 4-1 away win over Hull propelled the Gunners into the top four.

The 27-year-old played a pivotal role in the match, scoring one and contributing to the play in many of the other goals and chances.

His attack and mobility, questioned for large periods last season, caused problems all afternoon in the Hull back-line.

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The Englishman put in three crosses during the game. The first of which was punched straight to Alex Iwobi to fire in, via an Alexis deflection. Walcott’s movement, first centrally and then out wide, allowed him to be able to create the space to put in a difficult cross to deal with.

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His second cross was almost just as pivotal, when it found Coquelin and then Jake Livermore’s hand. The former Tottenham man was sent off but Alexis missed the penalty. Out of three crosses, Walcott had fired two of them into good, pivotal attacks. His delivery was immaculate, and allowed him to create two opportunities.

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His goal, created via a nice one-two with Alex Iwobi, came through coming into a central position to pick-up the ball. It seems that Walcott’s movement creates problems as he is allowed to move inside to find the ball, with Arsenal moving players around up-front.

This is demonstrated through his excellent link-up play. The Englishman had a 90% pass completion rate, which is impressive. In fact, Walcott’s lowest pass rate this season is 76%, on the first game of the season against Liverpool. He averages over 80% this season, which shows his ability to pick out players and create chances in his position.

This will also explain why he is starting games every week for Arsenal, with manager Arsene Wenger seeing what he beings in terms of movement and creative link-up play. There’s no doubting it – two out of three crosses creating goal-scoring chances and a 90% pass rate is mightily impressive.

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The 27-year-old isn’t scared to have a shot either. Five efforts on target by Walcott alone in this game, showing that he is in confident mode. His chip over the Hull goal-keeper to put Arsenal 2-up only proved that further.

Again moving centrally for the third goal, his speed was too much for the Hull defenders, as Alexis found him with a through-ball only for Eldin Jakupovic to block the ball. Alexis put the rebound in anyway. Again, the movement and speed of Walcott to come in a central position allowed the opportunity to happen.

Walcott’s performance on Saturday was pivotal in the Gunners winning the game. Every time Arsenal went forward, Walcott was either creating chances or putting them away it seemed. Together with Alex Iwobi, the two made it a difficult afternoon altogether for Mike Phelan’s men.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Stuart MacFarlane

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