In one of the best displays which has been seen in this years English Premier League competition, Theo Walcott was able to score 3 goals and assist 2 further goals in Arsenal’s 7-3 win. In Arsenal’s display, Walcott’s dominant display was a large factor in Arsenal’s win. This piece will analyse Walcott’s performance with his attacking and passing statistics and try and examine why he was so dominant in the match.
As mentioned above, Walcott scored 3 goals in this match vs Newcastle but could have scored a few more goals, after a few missed scoring chances. With his ability to get in between defenders and play off defenders shoulders, Walcott used his ability to run the Newcastle defenders ragged. For Walcott to get in behind, it requires the opposition to be playing a high, attacking defensive line against Arsenal, something which many teams don’t do. This was shown by his first goal, where he was able to get in between the right back and the central defender for a great finish across Tim Krul, reminiscent of a Thierry Henry finish. His third goal was a great finish, after being fouled where he got up and dinked a delicate chip over Krul to complete the rout.
Along with Walcott’s 3 goals, he also assisted 2 goals for Arsenal, which were both for Olivier Giroud. The first assist was a lovely whipped in cross for Giroud to head home. This type of cross is one which defenders can’t deal with as it was crossed with such pace and positioning. The second assist was a ball which dissected 2 Newcastle defenders, for Giroud to finish past Krul on his weaker right foot.
In this match, Walcott completed 5 dribbles, which is where he is at his best- when he can use his pace and dribble at defenders and put them under pressure. The Newcastle players struggled to deal with Walcott when he was running at them at pace and were often left stranded as they couldn’t dive in for tackles but were often left for dead from Walcott’s pace. With this, it allowed Walcott to create chances for both himself and also his team mates to capitalise on.
The diagram just highlights some of the possible attacking movements that Walcott can employ when the opposition play a high attacking line. With Walcott’s ability to use his pace and movement, he can get in behind and cause damage to the opposition. The high defensive line means that Walcott is able to use his ability to play off defenders shoulders to peel away and get shots in at the opposition goal and play passes for assists for team mates goal.
With Cazorla, Oxlade Chamberlain and Podolski’s ability to play accurate passes, this must be capitalised on by Arsenal and used to their benefit. However, as with everything, Arsenal must not overuse this tactic for Walcott to play passes in behind and over the top. Otherwise, the opposition will drop deeper and it will become much harder for Arsenal to play fast attacking football.
Walcott’s passing in this match was below average for his usual standards. In this match, his passing rate was 69% (16 passes attempted, 11 successful). This is below Arsenal’s standards, but with Walcott’s ability to cause the opposition damage in this match, it wasn’t as important as it could be in other matches. In future, Walcott will be required to drop deeper as the defences will be very deep to minimise his ability to get in behind and score goals.
This was a great display by Walcott and one that will please Arsenal fans. The majority of Arsenal fans want Walcott to re-sign and put in displays as he has been putting in of late. Walcott said post match how happy he was to have been getting the opportunity to play up front and show the boss what he can do up front. This is positive signs for Walcott and his contract negotiations, but nothing is certain about whether he sign another contract with Arsenal.
All stats from Who Scored
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