Despite being the team’s top scorer, Theo Walcott will continue to play on the flank for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger acknowledges the England forward is a much better finisher than he has been earlier in his career, but sees no reason to move him from his current position.
Walcott keeps pushing for a move into a more central role, being the striker for his team. He has now scored 13 Premier League goals for the club in 2012-2013, a record for him, some of them coming during his fantastic January month, when he even started a few matches as the central striker for the team.
As a winger, his opportunities in front of goal are limited, while the method of defending him is a bit easier – simply deny him space behind the defensive line. Obviously it doesn’t work every time against one of the fastest footballers on the planet, but there’s a good chance that with his improved finishing abilities, Walcott would have done even better in a more central role. Wenger doesn’t disagree, but also doesn’t think he’ll be moving Walcott from the right any time soon.
I use him on the flank because I try to put a player in the middle who can score goals and having another player on the flank who can score it gives you a little bit of security. He is more mature in his finishing. His goal was similar to the one he scored against Manchester United. It’s a short back lift. He makes good runs and he is calm now in front of goal. When he arrived, in front of goal the ball could go anywhere. Now you see every time he hits the target, he is forcing the keeper into a save. That’s why his numbers are so much better.
If you read between the lines – Wenger doesn’t trust his own strikers, but doesn’t have a decent option to use on the right. Gervinho was tired out wide more than once since arriving from Lille, but despite a short impressive spell earlier this season, he has fallen out of favor at the Emirates, regardless of the position. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have been equally disappointing. Walcott, despite being a better finisher than any of them, seems destined to remain frustrated in a position he doesn’t care for much anymore.