Arsenal: Star duo feature in internationals; legend's Wilshere claim; Campbell's complaints
Arsenal forward Theo Walcott came off the bench yesterday to help Sam Allardyce secure his first win as England manager with a 1-0 win in Slovakia.
Much the like their meeting in Euro 2016, England dominated possession but struggled to create clear cut chances against a stubborn Slovakian rearguard.
Their task became easier early in the second half following Martin Skrtel’s red card, and Adam Lallana scored with nay-on the last kick of the game to earn all three points.
Walcott was introduced in the 72nd minute and was characteristically erratic, some good crossing interspersed with some heavy first touches.
He could have had a goal in the last minute of normal time, but his tap in was rightly ruled out for offside after Daniel Sturridge had inadvertently touched the ball into Walcott’s path.
The former Southampton man has been much improved in an Arsenal shirt this season, showing a level of focus and commitment that has been all too lacking in the past, but he has some way to go to claim an England starting berth. All that he can do is continue performing on the domestic scene and hope that consistently strong displays will be recognised by Sam Allardyce, who should be able to devise a system to capitalise on Walcott’s attributes.
Elsewhere, Mesut Özil played 90 minutes for Germany in their 3-0 win away in Norway while new singing Shkodran Mustafi was an unused substitute.
Following an injury scare in last week’s friendly against Finland, Arsene Wenger will be pleased to get Mustafi back to London Colney in one piece. Arsenal’s starting XI is probably a match for any side in the country when everyone is fit, so maintaining that status for the likes of Özil and Mustafi is absolutely crucial.
Jack Wilshere’s loan move to Bournemouth has prompted much discussion in Arsenal circles, and Double winner Freddie Ljungberg is the latest name to put his tuppence worth in.
“Everyone knows Jack is an amazing talent. He’s an amazing player. I love him.
“But I think if he can play 38 games for Bournemouth then he will be back here playing and starting again. I just think he’s had bad luck.
“He plays well, then after six or seven games, you think, ‘Oh he’s back’. Then he gets injured again. That’s a vicious cycle.
“I think if he can do that for 38 games, next season he will be back and he will be starting again.”
Despite the spin that this move is the best thing for Wilshere, he has undoubtedly taken a step down the pecking order at Arsenal and will have a hard task forcing his way back in.
Finally, on-loan Joel Campbell has claimed he deserved to play more for Arsenal last season.
Speaking to Portuguese newspaper A Bola Campbell said: “I think I deserved to play more after what I did last year, but now this is a new stage.”
The Costa Rican impressed Gooners last season with his endeavour and application, even if his offensive output was some way short of a what is needed at a club of Arsenal’s stature.
It was clear however, that Wenger viewed him solely as a back-up option and whenever Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fit he started ahead of Campbell despite some indifferent performances.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal
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