Sunday, February 5, 2012

Walcott Has a Good Day at Last...

...but still suffers in Oxlade Chamberlain comparison.

Arsenal 7-1 Blackburn

When Pederson's free kick arrowed into the top corner, you started to wonder. It seems like years since Pederson has done that. But then, Arsenal had somehow contrived to concede four to Blackburn last time out, and it it's never a surprise when a team scores against Arsenal with their first real effort.

Luckily, the match was tied up by half time. Walcott teed up Van Persie, as he had done in the second minute. The incisive pass came, as on many occasions this season, from Song.

Then Van Persie turned provider, firing a pass at Oxlade Chamberlain, who did well to control, waltzed around Paul Robinson, and netted his first Premiership goal.

Then Gael Givet got himself dismissed for a crazy two footed lunge at the ball that could have done Van Persie damage had the Dutchman not hurdled the challenge.

Against 10 men for the second half, you would have been disappointed if Arsenal didn't rack up the goals. Arteta fired through the crowd for number four. Then Walcott dribbled infield to tee up Oxlade Chamberlain, who Solskjeared a shot through the legs of the defender and in at the near post. Then Van Persie completed another hat trick, doing well to keep his right footed shot down from Coquelin's low cross.

In stoppage time, Henry and Van Persie linked up, and the late substitute scored the second goal of his second spell via a deflection.

Walcott's three assists represented a welcome return to form, but it is still impossible to avoid comparing him unfavourably with the youngster breaking into the team on the other flank. Oxlade Chamberlain has the main weapon in Walcott's armoury- raw pace- but he also has so much natural footballing ability.

He glides past challenges while dribbling. He already looks a decent finisher, and can shoot well from outside the box. He has the vision to play incisive passes while running at pace. He has greater physical strength than Walcott. He can play the kind of simple passes that keep possession, as well as attempting to provide cutting edge service up front. And he wants to play in central midfield.

Now that's a talent to get excited about. And he makes Walcott look like what he is- a sprinter who got into football late, a one-dimensional speed merchant with no footballing brain.

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