The win against Stoke highlighted the triumph of class over brute force. It also highlighted the worth of a certain player called Theo Walcott in his striker role.
Walcott has always been acknowledged for his versatility and speed. When be burst onto the scene as a youngster, he was a speedy winger who could trick any defence. But the question always remained top of his agenda – could he become a top striker like his idol Thierry Henry?
If statistics are to be believed, and for all those number minded, Walcott has scored 11 goals in his last 11 league starts. And most of these were in the striker role. Alhough Walcott always maintains that he wants to play anywhere in the three positions upfront, he could be a perfect fit for the striker role.
Still doubting? There was a first-half hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion on the final day of last season. He picked up two as a substitute for England against San Marino.
There could easily have been two or three more against Stoke. Critics may point that the numerous chances he missed overshadow his goal. But, the finish was so expertly taken that it could give any centre forward a run for his money.
Still have doubts? His run of 11 goals in 11 previous starts put him only third behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in Europe. Not bad company to have, is it? And if you take off the five Ronaldo scored in his last game, you have Walcott on par with the best.
Agreed that statistics tell only half the story but no one could argue that Walcott can’t cut it out as a striker. Had it not been for injuries, he would have been more prolific than these numbers indicate.
But, this is no reason to rejoice. There is still so much work to do before we see Walcott-the striker. Fans can get carried away by that goal; supporters can get carried away by the stats; but he’s still got a lot of ground to cover.
For the rest of season, Wenger will alternate Walcott with Giroud till Danny Welbeck comes back from injury. There is potential and room for improvement. But every Gunners fan will wonder if they have heard these words too often over the years about Theo. Maybe more goals and improved accuracy by Walcott will be an answer to all those doubts.