Sunday was a great day; we saw the return of the player who had started to show us why we paid £9m for a 16 year old. Theo Walcott is a player who will grow in stature with every game, he proved this at the start of the season, and his progress was hindered by a cruel injury whilst on England duty. Wenger played a blinder by giving him the number 14 shirt; this was an honour for the young lad.
Walcott started most games earlier this season, the hat trick against Croatia gave him the confidence that he perhaps was missing in terms of goals and ability.. He started to score goals for Arsenal, he was no longer fearful of missing chances, that is part and parcel of striker’s life. His great run last season in the Champions League against Liverpool gave him the confidence to take players on and beat them. He has tremendous pace, pace that means teams have to double up on him.
Wenger considers Walcott as a first team starter, with the added advantage that Theo can play on the wings or up front.
We saw on Sunday that the pace is still there, as is the ability to skip pass defenders. He was unlucky not to score, whilst replays show that he was clearly onside when he went through to set up van Persie.
Things will be more competitive for Theo; we have added Arshavin and Rosicky will be back soon, furthermore, Eboue will always be a contender when Arsene wants to stiffen up the midfield. Walcott will need to grasp every opportunity to prove to Arsene that he should once more be starter.
Roma will be a game too soon for Theo to start, but he will be a vital weapon to have on the bench and come on in the last 15-20 minutes and run the Roma defence ragged. Saturday against Blackburn could be his first start, as Wenger will begin to rotate the squad.
Theo is not only a vital player for us this season, but as time goes on will become a crucial player. This makes is doubly important to ensure he signs a new contract.