When it rains it pours – especially in terms of Arsenal. After more points were carelessly dropped against inferior opposition during the week, many players have been singled out for individual criticism.
The term “toothless” springs to mind when discussing Arsenal’s performances of late – the club have not scored in three Premier League games; the only spark in the team is unsurprisingly Alexis Sanchez – so who is to blame and why?
One culprit is England international Theo Walcott. The player has been slated recently by Arsenal supporters and quite rightly. The Englishman is off form; his first touch is substandard, he struggles to beat opposing players, as his ability is so one-dimensional, his composure in front of goal is very lacklustre, as he seems to lack confidence and finally, he is not the most intelligent footballer.
Walcott’s passing accuracy for the season is just a shade under 80 per cent and he has only netted three times in the Premier League so far this term. God forbid the man ever loses his pace. The most comical aspect of Walcott’s situation is he earns an astronomical £140,000-a-week – which is similar to that of Mesut Özil and Sanchez. It is ludicrous that Walcott has been at Arsenal for ten years and his best position is still unknown and he is yet to consolidate a place in the team.
Can Walcott turn it around? Possibly. It is a difficult situation as his credentials do not match that of a winger or a striker. He does not have the technical ability to be a successful winger as he is so predictable and as a striker he has a small, weak frame and limits choices for surrounding teammates as crossing the ball is not an option.
However, we all associate pace with Theo. The man undeniably possesses a ridiculous amount of pace; so if he can manipulate his speed to his advantage more often then he may achieve the success that meets our expectations.
Accompanying Walcott under the microscope is Aaron Ramsey. Similarly, the Welshman has been under the cosh recently due to his rather wayward attempts on goal and volatile passing – Aaron has only scored four goals this season. The Welshman has been linked recently with La Liga giants Barcelona, however the Catalan club may be having second thoughts currently.
Ramsey is very frustrating; we all know he has great ability, such as great drive on the ball and (sometimes) the ability to score a world-class goal. His lacklustre passing leads to many counter-attacks, which only adds fuel to the fire of supporters’ anguish and his shooting of late just relieves the opposition of pressure. Currently, he just needs to keep the game simple, rather than going for the constant spectacular.
Can Ramsey turn it around? this writer believes so. His footballing ability should see him through this bad patch. If he simplifies his game he will be able to provide a platform for himself to reach another level – the same level he reached in the 2013/14 season. The presence of Francis Coquelin back in the starting eleven should aid the 25-year-old in his pursuit of better form.
However, let’s hope this is what the pair needed. Walcott must be aware of the possibility of slipping down the pecking order with him playing poorly and Joel Campbell and Alex Iwobi impressing consistently. So he may just up his game and hopefully Ramsey has noticed his persistent mistakes in terms of decision making – therefore hopefully simplifying his game.