Wenger backs Walcott as Arsenal spearhead

The jury is still out on Theo Walcott as a striker, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not about to jump to conclusions on the strength of a couple of games.

The England international and his team-mates have an unexpected Christmas break, a strike on the London Underground train network having forced the postponement of Wednesday's London derby against West Ham.

It gives Wenger the best part of a week to consider Walcott's role in the second half of a season that is suddenly shaping up well for Arsenal in the wake of their shock League Cup defeat by fourth-tier side Bradford City, albeit on penalties.

The Gunners have since won 5-2 at Reading and claimed a somewhat fortuitous 1-0 victory over Wigan on Saturday, courtesy of a questionable penalty award.

Walcott played a key role at Reading, where he scored the clinching goal after the home side's fightback from 4-0 behind, but looked less inspiring against Wigan.

The fascinating aspect of Walcott's ambition to play as a central striker is that his contract is running down without him having signed a new one and tempting offers might include the carrot of playing in his favoured position.

Wenger, who has said he will not sell Walcott in January, said: "I believe he has potential in that position, I wouldn't like to judge him on one game. He didn't get the service at Wigan but his finishing was good and was effective.

"He was possibly a bit isolated, but for me he has the ingredients to play in there.

"He can always be decisive even if he doesn't have the greatest service. At Wigan he made the decision because he got the penalty."

Wenger would far rather be schooling his players on how to deal with Sam Allardyce's tactics at West Ham than giving them Christmas Day off.

He admitted: "I would prefer to play, personally. When a team is on a roll you want them to go out and play. But we can adapt. We'll play it at the end of January."

Arsenal's next game, with or without Walcott as spearhead, is at Newcastle United's St James' Park stronghold but will hold no fears for Wenger as he sets about securing a Champions League berth.

He said: "This is an important period of the season now. But our record away from home is very good if you look at it. We've only lost two games, at Man United and Norwich, since the beginning of the season.

"At Wigan we wanted the result, there was more determination than domination in the final part of the game.

"I hope that gives us a bit more belief and confidence, and that we can play with a more positive attitude. We had to show nerve and we did it."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez meanwhile is expecting the loan services of Manchester United's 18-year-old Chilean striker Angelo Henriquez when the transfer window opens on January 1.

Martinez has been badly hit by injuries in his attempt to hoist Wigan out of the relegation zone -- he currently has four centre-halves missing -- and is pleased to be getting highly-rated reinforcements from Old Trafford.

The Wigan manager said: "He is someone who can bring us goals and we are delighted. We're looking forward to seeing him develop and challenge for a place at United.

"It's a similar situation to when we loaned Tom Cleverley. Angelo is an experienced talent."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • The Top 10 Richest People In The Philippines 2015
    The Top 10 Richest People In The Philippines 2015

    Things have changed since Forbes’ list of The World’s Billionaires was released in 2014. This 2015, there have been a … The post The Top 10 Richest People In The Philippines 2015 appeared first on iMoney.ph. …

  • Phl aviation has met int’l safety standards – CAAP
    Phl aviation has met int’l safety standards – CAAP

    The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said that the country’s aviation has met international safety standards and is currently being reviewed by the European Union. Members of the EU delegation recently made a courtesy call on CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III. Beda Badiola, CAAP’s Flight Standards and Inspectorate Service chief, said all air carriers in the country have followed regulations that the agency was able to oversee properly according to standards. “They …

  • Absence of full-time PNP chief affecting police services
    Absence of full-time PNP chief affecting police services

    Despite the pronouncement of the leadership of the Philippine National Police that it’s business as usual, some basic services are undeniably affected by the absence of a full-time PNP chief, particularly the issuance of gun permits. The PNP had deferred the issuance of permits to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) since Dec. 3, a day before the Office of the Ombudsman slapped a six-month suspension on former PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, who is facing plunder charges. …

  • Expanded Phl-US war games start today
    Expanded Phl-US war games start today

    The Philippines and the United States will kick off today this year’s Balikatan military exercises amid concerns over China’s reclamation activities in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea. More than 11,000 Filipino and American troops will join the drills to be held simultaneously in different locations until April 30. …

  • Budol-budol, dugo-dugo scams now online
    Budol-budol, dugo-dugo scams now online

    Authorities warned the public yesterday to be more careful in dealing with people they meet online as the “budol-budol” and “dugo-dugo” gangs have expanded their deceptive operations on social media. Senior Inspector Robert Reyes, assistant chief of the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) investigation section, said online financial fraud is one of the emerging forms of scams in the country. Reyes said scam operators are looking for prospective victims online through …

  • Noy wants next PNP chief to serve beyond his term
    Noy wants next PNP chief to serve beyond his term

    President Aquino is inclined to name a new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief who can serve beyond the 2016 elections. Speaking to reporters at the Tarlac National High School before the weekend, Aquino said he was bewildered by the amended PNP Act that requires all deputies of the PNP chief to serve or stay at least one year in his post. Among the contenders for PNP chief are Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., suspended Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta and Director Juanito …

  • ‘Stronger global action sought on China moves’
    ‘Stronger global action sought on China moves’

    Stronger international action is needed to counter China’s rapid reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. Belmonte noted that statements of condemnation from global powers on the continued encroachment of China in the disputed waters have been ineffectual. He added that China’s blatant expansion activities are making the problem not just a regional security problem, but a global one. “China is obviously violating our territory in front …

  • MILF refusal to surrender fighters jeopardizing talks
    MILF refusal to surrender fighters jeopardizing talks

    Leaders of the House of Representatives renewed their call yesterday to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to surrender its fighters allegedly involved in the killing of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the House independent bloc, said the continued refusal of MILF leaders to turn over their men is causing the further erosion of support for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. “I hope the MILF …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options