Theo Walcott’s Performance against West Brom Warrants a Start in the FA Cup Final


The match at the Emirates today was a memorable one. Theo Walcott was given his first start in two months against West Brom and he returned with a vengeance, scoring a first-half hat trick. Meanwhile, the Gunners ended their league season on a high, beating West Brom 4-1 in the process and in their last EPL game, securing third place. However, if Arsenal’s season is to end on a true high note, the side must beat Aston Villa next week at Wembley in the FA Cup Final and to do so, Arsene Wenger should start Theo Walcott again.

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Many Arsenal fans and pundits have been calling for Wenger to play Theo Walcott recently. That call was answered by the Frenchman today, and it was justified, too. By 37 minutes, Theo Walcott had scored three goals. He made his mark on the game early, scoring in the 4th minute then again just 10 minutes later. After Jack Wilshere’s sublime volley from outside of the box into the top right hand corner of the goal, Theo Walcott scored again later in the first half, and Arsenal went 4-0 up.

The performance the English forward put in at the Emirates is a sign of hunger and good form, and those two factors can be crucial in big games. Aaron Ramsey possessed both these characteristics a year ago, and he won the match for Arsenal at the death in the final. That is why Walcott must be started next week at Wembley. Regardless of his shaky form on the whole since returning from injury (he’s averaged a 6.33 rating per game this season per, he did all he could today, and if just some of his good form is carried over to next week’s match, Theo Walcott will be crucial.

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There is another decision to be made on Walcott’s behalf for next week however, and it’s where ‘The Boss’ should play him. Wenger will probably move him to the right side, so he can play Olivier Giroud up front and in the middle, and this would be the right move. Arsenal would have pace on the wings with Walcott and Sanchez and a focal point in the middle with Giroud.

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Though this strategy hasn’t worked well of late – a similar tactic failed recently against Sunderland, Manchester United, and Swansea – it has functioned to great effect several times this season, and it can be a winning formula. Plus, Giroud scored one and assisted another against Aston Villa in the league in February (per, and though he is in a disappointing goal drought, he’ll be hungry for a goal and, like Theo Walcott did today, the Frenchman could return with a vengeance.

In summary, Theo Walcott should be started next week against Aston Villa as he has the ability to provide the crucial winning spark. Secondly, he should also be deployed on the right because he hasn’t necessarily proven himself as an out-and-out striker yet. Though he could be the answer up top for Arsenal in the future, Giroud, who has made significant improvement this year, should be started alongside Walcott. In attack, this could be the FA Cup-winning formula.

Next: Arsenal goal celebrations said it all