Analysing Theo Walcott's match-winning display for Arsenal against Swansea
After two flat and disappointing displays in England colours over the last week, Theo Walcott was back to his best in Arsenal red as they took apart Bob Bradley’s Swansea City on his Premier League debut. Lining up on the right hand side of a fluid attack, Walcott interchanged with Alexis Sanchez to devastating effect as he confused Federico Fernandez and Jordi Amat at the heart of the Swans defence.
However, it was his predatory instincts that proved costly for Bradley, with Walcott twice pouncing on opportunities to stab home and give his side an early 2-0 lead and put them in a commanding position from early on in the tie. It was this striker’s instinct that has often been missing in his game but was clearly on display on Saturday afternoon.
In fact, if there is to be a criticism of Walcott, it would be that he could, and possibly should, have scored more. With five goalscoring opportunities coming his way and twice hitting the woodwork, the former Southampton starlet could easily have had a hat-trick at the very least. His strike from distance which hit the post and deflected along the line had convinced most that it was goalbound, but it was the second time he hit the woodwork that should have been buried as he overhit a chance from yards out.
With a 91.7% pass completion ratio and one chance created himself, along with the pass which set up Alexis Sanchez to assist Mesut Ozil’s matchwinning striker, it was a superb all around display which will have pleased Arsene Wenger. With seven ball recoveries, he worked hard to track back and offer something at both ends for his team.
Whilst Swansea may not have been the highest quality challenge that Walcott will face this season, his display was one of the best he has produced in a long time in an Arsenal shirt as he finally becomes the threatening forward that Gunners fan have long hoped he would be.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal.
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