Archive for May 12th, 2008

Sunderland 0 – 1 Arsenal: Walcott offers a glimpse of the future

1 comment May 12th, 2008

This win at the Stadium of Light took us to 83 points – a massive improvement on last season’s 68.  In 06/07 we were 21 points off the title – this year, it was 4.  Quite remarkable progress.  Alright, we didn’t grab the trophy we crave, but for me this goes down as a decent season.

Walcott scored his 7th goal this seasonIt ended with what appears to have been a fairly uneventful game at the Stadium of Light.  I say that because truthfully, I don’t really know – for what must have been the first time this season, I was without a ticket or a stream, and so had to follow the match with snatches of Audio from ArsenalTV and the BBC Livetext service.

One goal was enough to win it, and it came from Theo Walcott.  Gilberto, captaining the side in potentially his last game for the club, slid an exquisite through-ball between the centre-half and full-back, and Walcott charged onto it before finishing cooly at the near post.  It was a classy goal, and reminded me of his predecessor on the right-flank: Freddie Ljungberg.  If Cesc Fabregas can provide Walcott’s well-timed runs with ammunition in the same way that Dennis Bergkamp supplied Ljungberg, Walcott could solve our right-sided problem for years to come.

It took his tally for the season to seven.  His four in the league is double the amount Hleb has managed in nearly three times as many starts.  He’s in the England squad again, and after a couple of tricky developmental years, Walcott’s star is seemingly on the rise.  He surely enters next season as our first-choice right-winger, whether or not Eboue and Hleb are still here come August.

After the game, Arsene warned newly-crowned Champions United that we would be in the race once more in 2009.  I think a lot of that depends on his activity this Summer.

Finally, commiserations to relegated Reading – a club where a close family member of mine works, and who actually live up to the stereotype of ‘a nice family club’.   I’m sure they’ll bounce back.

Season officially over: let the transfer madness begin…

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