Theo Walcott’s first-team return saw him net a hat-trick for the Gunners on the final day of the 2014/15 season. Playing in a central striker role, in place of Olivier Giroud, the Englishman scored three goals in just 37 minutes to give the Emirates faithful cause for celebration, in an otherwise meaningless Sunday afternoon outing.
Making his first start since February, he took no time in making an impact. He fired his side into the lead after just four minutes with a powerful shot into the top corner, before grabbing his second – a clinical poked attempt – just ten minutes later.
Jack Wilshere extended Arsene Wenger’s side’s lead with a stunning half-volley from 20 yards, before Walcott struck again to make it 4-0 with less than 40 minutes on the clock. The Baggies pulled one back in the second period through a Gareth McAuley header, but by then the tie was already done and dusted.
Considering Walcott is yet to sign a new contract with the Gunners, which means he could well leave for free come the end of the season, this display will have only made Wenger more anxious to enter negotiations. However, perhaps more importantly for Walcott, he has now laid down a marker to be included in his managers’ starting-eleven for May’s FA Cup final against Aston Villa.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the Arsenal man’s impressive performance:
The majority of praise had nothing by praise for the winger-cum forward.
Meanwhile, others pondered his suitability for a FA Cup final place.
Rival fans even discussed the possibility of poaching the 26-year-old.