Published On: Sat, Nov 17th, 2012

Who’s Walcott really out to impress?

Theo Walcott was in blistering form as Arsenal overcame 10-man Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 in the north London derby at the Emirates on Saturday.

The England winger scored the final goal of the Gunners’ victory and provided the inch-perfect cross which led to Per Mertesacker’s crucial headed finish to make it 1-1.

Opportunities

Having made fewer starts than many would have expected so far this season, the 23-year-old appears to be making the most of the opportunities he is getting at the moment.

He has bagged five goals in his last four starts for Arsene Wenger’s side, yet Arsenal and Walcott are yet to reach a satisfactory solution to the player’s on-going contract talks.

The ex-Southampton man’s current deal runs out at the end of this season and there are continuing rumours that the north London side will attempt to offload him rather than extend his contract – unwilling to pay more than the £80,000 a week offer that Walcott has reportedly declined.

Speculation

On the morning of Arsenal’s crucial game with Spurs, Walcott will have woken up to the story that his club will attempt to swap him for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling.

Not only this, but the Gunners will offer an extra £8 million for the Reds’ young starlet, according to The Sun.

And Walcott was clearly in the mood to flaunt his ability in Saturday’s derby victory – proving that he is a far more rounded winger than he has been in the past, able to deliver pin-point deliveries for the forwards he is supplying while netting his fair share too.

After the game, he told Sky Sports: “When you’ve got the big man [Olivier Giroud] up front he’s going to cause havoc and when you put Per [Mertesacker] up front, who’s just as big, it’s going to help my game as well.

“I think last season you could see a lot of glimpses of that, a lot of assists but like I say, I just wanted to play and hopefully I’ve shown everybody what I can do now.”

Committed

And, although this could be interpreted as Walcott broadcasting his talent and availability to potential suitors such as Liverpool and Chelsea, the maturing winger still sees himself as very much an Arsenal player.

He added: “These games always help us very early in the season and I think if we just showed that kind of ambition and courage in every game, we can climb right up that table now.

“We showed a few people how good we are today and everyone knows we’re strong in the dressing room, we showed that today.

“It’s going to give us tremendous spirit, we’re getting a lot of players back fit now, which will always help, it’s nice to see Jack [Wilshere] come on and get a good run out, he’s got that different side to his game that we didn’t have.

“Everyone’s looking bright and looking very confident. Olivier’s come in now and people were saying things at the start, but it’s always going to take time, but he’s shown what a great player he is and I love playing with him at the moment.”

The passion and enthusiasm Walcott displayed when talking about his current club and teammates suggest he is out to prove to the Arsenal hierarchy that he is worth investing in, rather than any other clubs monitoring his rather tenuous contract situation.

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  • Oguntuase Amos

    This is what we expected from Walcott for the past five years. The present form may just be for the moment, that is to impress. He had to do this time in time out to be taken serious. Overall, he is still an average player. We need more of this performance to show that he is ready to deliver. His tracking down the ball after losing it is poor, he has always been a defensive liability whenever he plays. This is where Sterling is better, he is fast, holds the ball, good on one to one situation, defends better, ready to take on player and only the final ball is still poor the sin which Walcott is still guilty of. If he Walcott was that good in finishing, Arsenal would have scored 7 to 8 goals in that match with Tothenham. If Sterling is exchanged for Walcott, Arsenal will be at an advantage because Sterling is bold, stronger, ready to play and can still develop more. Walcott on the other hand would be the loser as he can rarely be much better because his attitude has stunted his growth and a catch up race is often difficult and all grounds are not usually recovered fully.