Theo Walcott: The New First Team Forward?


Theo Walcott ended his 2014/15 season with a bang.

After tearing his ACL two seasons ago (in January 2014), Walcott made his first team comeback for Arsenal a year later in 2015. The speedy attacker scored within a minute of his first return to the pitch for the Gunners but couldn’t quite break into the starting 11 as 2015 drew on.

Then, Arsene Wenger chose to start Theo against West Brom in Arsenal’s final EPL game of the 2014/15 season in which Theo scored a first half hat trick, earning himself his FA Cup final start and then another crucial goal.

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That is not the full story, however. After returning from his knee injury in 2015, Walcott started strongly with the first team but then faded. Much of this was due to the form of Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, the two top-scoring Gunners on the season.

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However, many fans still called for more of Theo Walcott in games in which the attack was struggling and goals were hard to come by. Walcott was thus given chances by Wenger repeatedly in the second half of games but failed to capitalize, but the mercurial Englishman was finally gifted a start in Arsenal’s final EPL game of the season against West Brom.

Against West Brom, you could say that Theo Walcott started rather strongly. He scored in the fourth minute, tallied another 10 minutes later, and had completed his hat trick by the 37th minute mark, and that spark in form was all he needed to earn himself a start in the Gunners’ following test: Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

Though obviously important for Arsenal, 2015’s FA Cup final was arguably almost equally important for Theo Walcott and his future career. It was the perfect chance for Theo to prove the doubters wrong, and that is just what he did come the 40th minute.

The pace-y Englishman thumped home a weak footed volley and ignited an Arsenal team now destined to win the cup for the second year running. The significance, though, of Walcott’s performance and goal that day was and is immense. The forward had earned himself a fighting chance to start as Arsenal’s number one striker.

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Walcott deserves to start Arsenal’s 2015/16 season at striker- his ending form was incredible. However, he must capitalize on that chance – if he gets it – immediately.

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Olivier Giroud, fresh off a pleasing, goal-filled 2015, will be gunning for starting striker. However, the Frenchman lost significant form in some of Arsenal’s final games of last season (7 game goal drought from April-May per and was clearly not performing up to (title-winning) par.

Still, if Theo Walcott is unable to capitalize on his hypothetical chance, Arsene Wenger has two Premier League proven goal scorers at his disposal: Giroud and Alexis. Theo Walcott still deserves the opportunity to prove himself as Arsenal’s starting forward given his dramatic, crucial end to last season, but the attacker must capitalize and prove to Arsene Wenger that he is the man for the job.

Next: Ozil, Topal and the latest transfer rumors

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