Thursday, October 28, 2010

Walcott impresses but defense still remain a concern

Theo Walcott shows that he has not lost his goal-scoring touch after time out with injury as he scored two brilliantly taken goals in Arsenal 4-0 drubbing of Newcastle in the Carling Cup. With that victory, the Gunners are now through to the last eight of the competition for the eighth successive season.

Walcott’s first goal came in the second half with Arsenal leading 1-0 courtesy of an own goal by the Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul at the end of the first 45 minutes. Walcott raced on to a clearance by Johan Djourou to beat both central defenders who were caught trying to play the offside trap and calmly chipped Krul from the penalty spot. It was the mark of a goal taken by a calm and matured player who would otherwise have missed this opportunity in previous seasons. There will be shouts of protest coming from the Newcastle side for a foul on Williamson by Bendtner in the approach to the goal. They may have a case but we have been at the wrong end of things as well so you take every chance you are given.

Walcott’s second goal was almost a carbon copy of the first as the pass intended for Jay Emmanuel Thomas was missed by both centrebacks near the halfway line and rolled nicely into the path of Walcott. With his pace, the defenders didn’t have a chance and this time, he chose to sidefoot the ball pass the goalkeeper with the same results.

Nicklas Bendtner scored the other goal in between the two from Walcott after being released by Fabregas, who came on as a substitute for Vela. Again, Bendtner like Walcott is showing a more clinical side to his play needing only one chance to convert.

It was a good win for the side but I am still very concerned about the defence and Djourou. Gibbs injury problems continue and he had to leave the game in the first half due to an ankle injury. The one person I worry the most in the defence is Djourou. The way he was constantly beaten by the Newcastle attackers, first by Haris Vuckic and later by Andy Carroll probably means Arsene might need another centreback in the January transfer window. Truthfully, if the Newcastle attack was as clinical as Arsenal’s then the scoreline would have been much closer.
All in all it was a good win and we are now one step closer to winning our first title in six years. Arsene promised a strong side and he delivered with Rosicky captaining the side and Walcott, Bendtner, Eboue, Denilson and Koscielny all in the starting line-up. Even then the average age of the squad was about 23 years, showing the strength and depth of the Arsenal squad.

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