The Season’s impressions: attacking the right flank

By Walter Broeckx

If we look at the right attacking spot in our team I think we all will agree more or less that this is the best place for Theo Walcott and that in him we have one of the best players for that position.

A look at his numbers in the last seasons gives us some impressive stats:

2013/2014 : Started in 10 matches in total – scoring 6 goals and giving 5 assists. That is a goal contribution of more than 1 goal per match.

Let us take a look at the season before:

2012/2013: Started in 24 matches in the PL – scoring 14 goals and giving 10 assists.  That is again a goal contribution of 1 goal per started match.

2011/2012 : Started 32 matches in the PL – scoring 8 goals and giving 8 assists. That is a goal contribution of 1 goal every 2 matches.

And the season before that 2010/2011: started in 19 PL matches – scoring 9 goals and giving 7 assists. Again rather close to a goal contribution of 1 goal per started match.

As we have pointed out before Theo has become a more and more productive player in the last years. Did missing him play a big part in us not winning the league? It sure did.

But we also see something worrying.  The fact that last season he was very much held back because of injuries is worrying. Of course a knee injury is most of the time a once in a career injury. But another one on the same knee would be very dangerous. And as we know that Theo is the victim of a lot of kicks we can only hope that he will not have another injury like this one.

If we would extrapolate his numbers to a fully fit season we can see that if Theo would be more or less fir for a whole season we could have a striker capable of scoring around 20 goals and giving some 15 assists. Compared to what he could contribute last season a possible difference of 14 goals and 10 assists. Would that have been enough to get us closer to the top? It sure would.

A problem with not having Theo in the team is the fact that his pace is missed. And we can only hope that his pace remains intact after his knee injury. A fit Theo and Aaron could have helped us to another 20 goals at least last season. Getting us close to some  90 goals scored probably.

In the absence of Theo a few other players have played on the right flank. Oxlade-Chamberlain played there more than once and showed that he can play in that position. But he is a bit younger and a fraction slower be it still very fast than Theo. If Oxlade-Chamberlain could add goals like Theo has done he can be as lethal and probably even more dangerous.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has better technical skills but as he is only 21 years young he misses a bit that coolness in front of goal.  And we mustn’t forget that Wenger said that the future of Oxlade-Chamberlain is in a more central role. But now playing him wide on both flanks when fit in the season will be helpful for his future.

The same can be said about Serge Gnabry. The German youngster has made a good impression already this season and I think we will much more of him certainly in the opening stages of the season when Theo is not fit yet. Gnabry impressed with a few assured performances last season. But just as with Oxlade-Chamberlain he needs to work on his composure in front of goal. He sure has a hard and nasty shot in his feet and can become a great player in the next seasons.

Another player that has taken the right flank last season was Rosicky. Of course he hasn’t that speed any more in his legs. But he is not a striker but a midfielder that was moved forward a bit and covered the right flank. Not really as a striker does but more coming from midfield. He didn’t score a lot of goals but one made all the difference in the world at Tottenham.

Rosicky is still very good for a player of his age (34 in a few months) and can be used all over the field apart from central striker and maybe in goal.  The problem with Rosicky is that given his age he is not a player that can be used during the whole season. He can step in for a few games and help the team and then could do with a breather. But it is very much needed that we have such a player in the team. His contribution in the extra time in the FA cup final showed that he is very capable in that role. And in such a match he made a big impact.

All in all when Theo is fit we have a lethal weapon in our team. The problem is that you can’t really replace Theo with any other player. Not in our squad, at least, where Oxlade-Chamberlain is the nearest to him in some ways. But I don’t really know any other player that can have such an impact like Theo has. Keeping him fit for next season will be very important. And hopefully this is something that we manage to do.

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3 Replies to “The Season’s impressions: attacking the right flank”

  1. All three of those attacking players were duly missed because of injury and again I hope they stay fit for a full season .

  2. i think its overly optimistic to expect any arsenal player to remain injury free but fingers crossed even the gk will get kicked by opposing players .

    a sad indictment of what PL football has been for a few years

  3. When the traitor can stay fit , I don’t see how our players too not also get an even chance . Unless that I’ve now jinxed it and have put RVP in peril ! Not complaining though !

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