Theo Walcott is set to make his Arsenal return against Southampton for Arsenal this Saturday after being out for 2 months with a stomach injury. Since he picked up his injury, Arsenal have missed his pace and direction. His return from injury will change the way Arsenal perform, and he will add another dimension to our attacking formation. Adding the pace and width to change a game.
Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott have played twice together since the German joined the club. In the 1st game, away to Sunderland, Ozil put Walcott through a couple of times, with the German’s vision and Englishman’s pace combining well. Only some good goal keeping stopped Theo getting a couple of goals. In their second game together, against Marseille, Walcott got his only goal this season.
It was that first game against Sunderland where we really saw what the partnership of Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil could do. With opponent’s being naturally drawn to Mesut Ozil, it gives Walcott bundles of space on the right hand side. With Ozil’s vision and passing ability, he will be able to pick out Walcott for fun. He was put in by Ozil 3 times against Sunderland. He might not have scored, but after 21 goals last season, we know he can finish. It will only be a matter of time until the back of the net starts rippling.
To say the partnership could be similar to the Thierry Henry / Dennis Bergkamp partnership of the early 00s would be ludicrous. It is more similar to that of Nicolas Anelka / Dennis Bergkamp. Bergkamp once said that Anelka was a dream to play with, as his runs were simple and he made it easy for Bergkamp to find. On the other hand, Bergkamp allowed Anelka to play simply. Make the run and the ball will arrive, used to be the mentality.
The Ozil / Walcott partnership will be similar. All Theo has to do is make the run, and the ball will find him. People claim Walcott does not have a football brain. I find this insulting to a professional football. But if it were true, he does not need one with Ozil in the side. All he has to do is run in a straight line, Ozil will do the rest.
Ozil and Walcott have only played twice together. Ozil, Cazorla and Walcott have yet to play together. This becomes even more mouth watering. As now you do not just have Ozil or Cazorla having the ability to find Walcott, you now have Ozil and Cazorla. Arsenal’s play will be very simple. Play around in the middle and on the left, drag the defenders over, then a quick through ball between full back and centre back and Walcott will be away. The 3 behind Giroud gives me exciting thoughts!
How Arsenal line up behind these 3 will be interesting. With Arteta & Flamini battling for 1 spot, and Wilshere and Ramsey the other, it does give us options. And we can play a combination of any 2 of the 4 and we will be strong. To think, with players returning from injury, our bench against Southampton could read: Fabianski, Monreal, Vermalean, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky & Bendtner. Who said we had no strength in depth?
It is crazy to think that Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil have only paid twice together this season. It is perhaps testament to how well Arsenal have started that they are still top, despite last seasons second best player (Santi Cazorla being 1st) being out for 2 months. There have been games where Walcott’s pace and width have been missed – WBA away springs to mind – and his return will only make Arsenal stronger.
Whether he starts or is on the bench for the game against Southampton, one thing is for certain, his return makes the Arsenal side better, and the Ozil/Walcott partnership will go from strength to strength.