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Directly involved in eight goals in 10 competitive starts, Theo Walcott enjoyed an impressive start to the current campaign. The club were also flying high with eight victories in the 10 games he started; the other two games — Olympiakos (home) and Chelsea (away) — ended in defeats thanks to individual errors and poor refereeing decisions.
As luck would have it, not long after demoting Olivier Giroud striker to the super substitute role, he limped off with a calf against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup on October 27.
Arsenal struggled in his absence as they registered just two wins in seven games; he returned to much fanfare on December 5 in the 3-1 rout of Sunderland. Although he scored one and set up another in the next two games against Manchester City and Aston Villa, he has never been able to produce displays that could dislodge Arsenal’s number 12 starting lineup despite the centre-forward himself struggling.
His form slumped and never completed 90 minutes in the Premier League. He is currently reduced to substitute appearances though the Arsenal faithful believe he hardly even deserves that given his current form.
With the Sun reporting that West Ham United are weighing up a move for him in the summer, a good number of Arsenal fans have already started singing Kiss Him Goodbye.
Is staying at Arsenal right?
Forced to play out wide after coming off his five-week injury, he hardly cuts a confident figure and has proved ineffective, even against mediocre teams. At times, it seems as though he is yet to learn the basics of football such as passing, dribbling and taking on defenders.
With Alex Iwobi, Alexis Sanchez, and Aaron Ramsey ahead of him in the pecking order already, first-team starts will ostensibly become a rarity. As evinced by his recent performances, he lacks the fight and drive to prove his detractors wrong; accordingly, expecting him to fight for his place without the backing of the fans would doubtless result in disappointment.
Known to lack the technical ability, his strength remains running at the defence and subtly getting past the last defender. Playing up front with Aaron Ramsey to his right, he enjoyed a purple patch of form, but his adaptability to other systems is questionable as he continues to impotent in the other systems Arsene Wenger has devised in the absence of his first-string players.
With the Arsenal players expected to adapt to many a role and be as efficient in their secondary positions as they are in their primary, the former Southampton starlet does not seem to tick the most crucial boxes despite having spent a decade at Arsenal.
Why will a cross-city move revive the career of Theo Walcott?
The 27-year-old striker is unstoppable against a team that holds a high line. With most of the English clubs expected to sit back against a big club like Arsenal, his chances of playing his game is close to none. However, at Olympic Stadium, despite the Hammers’ newfound success, more clubs will hope to take three points home.
With the Irons known to be a lethal during the break, his pace and finishing could be put to good use. He will dodge a bullet if he chooses to complete a cross-city move, as he is much less likely to be called upon for the 2018 FIFA World Cup — potentially his last — if he continues to be in the shadow of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the likes in north London.
On the psychological front, a switch to the claret and blue strip could hand him the boost the motivation to turn things around as a new and upbeat atmosphere and working under a new manager is certain to revive his career before it is too late.
In addition, contrary to their Arsenal counterparts, the Irons faithful will likely have less expectation for him, and he has known to perform the best under less pressure.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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