The London Derby between Arsenal and Chelsea was unarguably the most anticipated fixture in the sixth game week of the Premier League. The hostility between the two London rivals, one from the north and the other from the west, has always been on the rise (Diego Costa’s antics further fuelling the feud) and it is the Pensioners who have had the upper hand most of the time for one reason or the other. However, contrary to the customary disappointments in this brand of battle for Arsenal in the Premier League encounters, they completely stunned the visiting fans at the Emirates Stadium last weekend.
The Gunners gunned down the Blues comprehensively by scoring three goals without a reply from the other side, thus severely exposing the loopholes Chelsea possess at the moment. Arsène Wenger’s men seemed to be on a mission to disrupt Antonio Conte’s regime at the helm of Chelsea which is in its germinating stage.
With the men in blue bereft of confidence, the ones in red and white ran riot and hit the ground running from the very first minute. Apart from the scintillating win and the bagging the bragging rights, what should particularly interest Arsenal fans is the reincarnation of one of the fan-favourites Theo Walcott who has laid the foundations of what promises to be an excellent season ahead for him.
When it seemed like Arsenal’s no. 14’s days are being numbered last season, toughening himself up was the only option Walcott was left with. Tougher, fitter, stronger- the English international looked like a transformed man ever since the 2016-17 campaign kicked off, and with a series of splendid performances, he has earned himself the right wing in Wenger’s tactical nous.
Monsieur Wenger wasn’t unfamiliar with the improvement of the 27-year-old and has opted to start him in every league outing. The encounter against Chelsea was, however, the test he needed to clear to prove his tensile strength and interestingly, he passed with flying colours.
The former Southampton speedster deserves every pat on the back, for he is remotely close to being a complete package. Pinning Chelsea’s backline time and again, he bulldozed them with his eye-catchy runs which were unearthly at times. He tracked back to cater to a lot of defensive duties (let’s not forget the impeccable tackle on Eden Hazard) which reflects the commitment he is currently implementing while plying his trade.
With the pace and tenacity Alexis Sánchez and Walcott offered, everything seemed to click for Wenger. The icing on the cake was Walcott’s neat finish to bag the second goal for the home side, resembling him as a poacher who knows how to put the final nail in the coffin.
Right from being on the edge of devastation, Theo Walcott has formulated a magical U-turn to re-establish his place in the club he has been in for more than a decade. Three goals and an assist in the league is quite a telling stat of how he has put his weaknesses behind him, has a renewed fire in his belly to prove a point and not taking his potential for granted: all of which were evident in Arsenal’s thumping 3-0 win over Chelsea.
Wenger has always advocated the existence of Walcott in his side, has trusted him through the thick and thin, and an injury-free, in-form Walcott who can finally redeem his value is the plea of the hour of the Arsenal faithful. The initial signs have been relishing but the jury is won’t be out until May next year to make a notable verdict on winger.