3.46 Shots Every 90 Minutes: Why Wenger & Arsenal Fans Have Good Times Ahead

For Arsene Wenger, the return of Theo Walcott to full training is like aspirin for a wounded man. With injuries plaguing his side, the return of one of his most feared weapons would give him a bit of relief; especially with the fixtures finally shining bright after what has been a lackluster start to the season.

The Englishman has been a nightmare for defenders with his blistering pace through the right. Having lost a major chunk of the initial matches last season, Walcott came back with a few appearances off the bench before returning to the starting line-up. Having bagged two assists in his appearances off the bench, Walcott then created havoc by scoring 5 in the next 5 matches. Arsenal was in pole position in the league at this juncture and when everything was going well for Wenger and Arsenal, a similar crisis as of now set in with the in-form Walcott and Ramsey going out with injuries in the gap of two weeks. Although Ramsey returned towards the end of the season, Walcott’s Cruciate Ligament Rupture meant he was out for the season and would even go onto miss the World Cup as well. Out in January, it is now that Walcott has finally returned to full training.

This year, even though the lack of defensive reinforcements was Arsenal’s main concern at the start of the season, the injury to Oliver Giroud triggered a headache at the other end as well. In spite of solving the forward conundrum with the purchase of Danny Welbeck, Arsene has had more trouble in recent weeks with injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil most recently. Having been a part of 19 and 15 goals respectively out of the total 68 scored by Arsenal last term, Ramsey and Ozil’s importance is unquestionable and as Arsenal tries to step up their game and raise their position on the table, the absence of the two will be definitely a huge blow.

This is where Walcott steps in. In spite of Ozil’s success in a central role, Wenger had used him more on the flanks of a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1 formation. But with Ozil out for a considerable amount of time, Walcott could not time his return any better. A natural right winger unlike Ozil, Walcott is a fantastic dribbler of the ball and likes to take on the defenders, but at the same time could play in some delightful crosses as well. Once fully fit, he could slot straight into his natural position on the right and would ensure Ozil would not be missed much.

Walcott’s return provides Wenger with another advantage other than his quick bursts of pace down the flank- which is his tendency to shoot. This season, Arsenal has played well and created the chances but surprisingly has not attempted enough shots on goal even when there was opportunity to shoot. Last season, Walcott attempted an average of 3.46 shots every 90 minutes, which is way ahead in comparison to Ramsey, Ozil and Sanchez. Comparing the same with the forwards, Giroud last season took only 3.29 shots per 90 minutes and Welbeck this season has an average of 3.40 shots per 90 minutes. This aspect of his game will be a boost to Arsenal who has only had a total of 4.3 shots on target per game so far.

With Chelsea taking a huge lead so early in the season, Arsenal’s title hopes are already slowly fading away. Having received lot of flaks already for not strengthening his squad enough, Wenger would now be under greater pressure if he does not deliver the results. Even with injuries not helping his cause, Wenger has the talent in his squad and would sincerely be hoping that things would somehow take a turn for the good and one man who Wenger would keenly hope would work his magic will be Walcott.


Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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