Theo Walcott’s impending reign of dominance is halted, but Arsenal have it covered

Theo Theo What's the score?

In recent years the Arsenal side have been accused of being a “one man team” by fans of other sides. At least that was the views prior to last season.

With the departures of club captains Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, two of the players who at times carried the side in years gone by, Arsene Wenger has built the side into a team rather than one of outstanding individual brilliance.

By doing this the team spirit has risen as the players grow as a team instead of being carried along, but also when changes are needed they can happen seamlessly. It is not to say there is not great individual talent in the team, obviously Mesut Ozil is up there with the best in the world in his position, if not the best.

However, the others in the side, prior to this season may not be standout players, something which has even angered members of the crowd as they want to see top talent in each position, or at least see more money spent in the window.

The route Wenger has taken though is paying off and the likes of Wojciech Szczesny, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott are growing into star players as a team (others like Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs can also be mentioned as developing stars).

In previous squads Wenger has tried to build young sides together to become formidable sides but the players in those teams have perhaps grown at different rates and have become inpatient and wanting to leave before the whole side has reached the level required.

Arsenal vs Spurs

Perhaps one main difference in this side is the more experienced players in the camp helping guide the younger members of the team as well as the majority coming through being British players who may play for the badge more than looking for a move to pastures new.

Per Mertesacker, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini are three of the experienced players in the squad, as well as Mikel Arteta and even Lukas Podolski, who has over 100 caps for Germany.

These are players who are perhaps coming more towards the ends of their careers rather than just beginning them, but are also at arguably the biggest clubs they have been at in their time and therefore hold the same hunger for trophies that the younger members do too.

Mertesacker, who has deputised as captain with Thomas Vermaelen out of the first team picture and Arteta being involved in the squad rotation as well as injury this season, has led by example forming a great partnership with Koscielny as well as Sagna and Gibbs too in a back four which appears unbeatable.

Flamini showed his passion to the side upon his return in the derby win in September and has also added the defensive shield Wenger has left out of other sides.

In the win on Saturday, Tottenham may not have been anywhere near the level Arsenal had expected after their win at Old Trafford, but Arsenal showed their team chemistry.

Celebrations after Ozil opener premature

Despite having a heavily rotated team compared to the win at Newcastle the Gunners cruised to a 2-0 and were rarely trouble despite Spurs making just one change after beating David Moyes’ Manchester United.

Tomas Rosicky epitomised the attitude of the current side, who week-in week-out have shown tremendous desire, by covering every blade of grass and getting a thoroughly deserved goal.

Rosicky not only led the way himself on the pitch but also showed the team spirit in the current crop frequently encouraging out Serge Gnabry, who was fantastic, as well as going over and congratulating Bacary Sagna late on after keeping out another Spurs attack.

As good as Rosicky and Gnabry were in midfield and on the wing Theo Walcott once again highlighted his ability to play centrally in a time Arsenal are desperate for a striker.

Theo may have got injured, and will hopefully not be out for too long due to his impact since coming back (although that is now for the rest of the season), but shows Arsenal do have an option other than Nicklas Bendtner in the squad especially with January proving not to be the best time to buy.

Team

His gesture gained all the attention, in which you could see his delight in getting one over on Spurs something a non-British player may not quite feel, but his performance leading the line was great.

On the critical side Walcott perhaps should have found the net but Hugo Lloris was also called into some good saves meaning on another day Theo most certainly would have been on the scoresheet.

The worry for many with Theo leading the line alone is that he could have been too lightweight, especially when you compare him to our other options of Bendtner and Olivier Giroud, however at home especially there should be no such doubts.

His pace stretched Spurs’ backline, helping Gnabry create Santi Cazorla’s goal, and he was also involved in a lot of the link-up play and his inclusion upfront gives Arsenal a much more fluid attacking threat, certainly more so than either Giroud or Bendtner would.

Against Newcastle last year in the 7-3 win he showed his ability to play up front and at the Emirates he must have been a choice, away from home Wenger may have preferred the likes of Giroud with Walcott out wide, but centrally we could have really begun to see the coming of age of Theo Walcott.

Guy Clarke

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