Mikel Arteta has told Football London of his delight at seeing Theo Walcott do well ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Southampton.
The Spaniard played with Walcott during his time as a player at the Emirates Stadium.
Walcott returned to St Mary’s in the summer transfer window as the former Saints trainee saw his career go full circle.
He is on loan with his first club until the end of the current campaign.
The 31-year-old has scored twice this season and one of those came during a 1-1 draw against Arsenal.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has utilised the 47-cap star in a number of positions including upfront this season.
It’s a position where Arteta always fancied Walcott to unleash his best strengths.
He told Football London: “He always wants to be (a striker). Theo likes to be close to the goal, all the time threaded in behind.
“I think he improved his finishing a lot in the last year at Arsenal and his goal record improved a lot.
“He looks really good this season that’s for sure. He’s played a lot of minutes. Against us, he scored a very typical Theo Walcott goal against us.
“I’m happy he’s doing well because he’s gone through some difficult periods.”
TBR View: Walcott will eye Arsenal knockout this weekend
The Gunners were offered a timely reminder of Walcott’s qualities earlier in the season and will need to be on their guard this weekend.
Walcott is enjoying his football again after a pretty ordinary spell at Everton.
He struggled for game time during the latter stages of his Goodison Park career and that seemed to knock his confidence.
Now he’s enjoying his football, however, and Arteta will hope his team doesn’t allow him a chance to stick one over his old team in the FA Cup.
The £100,000-a-week flyer would surely love to stick around at Southampton beyond this season.
Everton are doing well themselves and it wouldn’t seem Walcott has a way back on Merseyside.
Deciding his future will come later but for now, the former England man will have Arsenal in his sights this weekend.
Arteta will hope he doesn’t return to haunt the Gunners again.