Archive for December 11th, 2009

Olympiacos 1 – 0 Arsenal: Vela & Walcott under scrutiny

Add comment December 11th, 2009

I’m twenty-four hours late in providing you my thoughts on the game, but I’m quite glad of it. It’s allowed me a bit of time to look at two young players, Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott, and what I believe they might be able to offer the team in the absence of Robin van Persie.

Vela and Walcott are becoming increasingly important to the squad, especially with the bad news that Nicklas Bendtner will be out till January.  However, Vela has failed to impress in a recent run of games, whilst Walcott was making only his second start of the season on Wednesday night due to persistent injury problems.

Both players were criticised by fans after failing to make the most of opportunities carved out for them by man of the match Aaron Ramsey.  Despite their tender ages, our threadbare squad is currently reliant on them to provide attacking threat.  Are they able to step up to the plate?

It strikes me that Vela and Walcott are quite different cases.  Whilst the latter is an established member of the first-team squad, the Mexican has only a handful of appearances under his belt.  One thing is clear: Vela is not yet ready to regularly make a positive impact at the highest level of club competition.  His upper-body strength needs serious improvement, and at the moment his confidence in front of goal is unusually low.  However, Vela has something that Walcott doesn’t: outstanding technique.

I don’t doubt that Carlos Vela will have a top football career.  Perhaps he’ll never adapt to English football and will have to move to La Liga to make the grade, but he will be a star, just as he has been at every youth level in his progression.  Arsene Wenger clearly concurs, signing the striker up to a long-term deal just yesterday.  Even if he doesn’t make it with us, he isn’t going anywhere cheaply.

Walcott has the physical attributes Vela desires.  He is all pace and power, but sometimes lacking in the finesse of his South American team-mate.  His performance on Wednesday night was rusty at his best, and with six months unti the World Cup squad is announced it’s fair to say that he’s fallen some way behind his closest rival, Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon.

Whilst the summer is doubtless in the back of Theo’s mind, the only way he can improve his chances of being on the plane are with his performances at club level.  He needs to put together a consistent run of games without injury to find his touch and form.  You can’t help but feel that the 4-3-3 system was in part devised to accommodate him on the right-wing.  With several of his competitors for the position out injured (Bendtner, Rosicky, Eboue), he has a golden opportunity to claim the spot as his own.

Back to Wednesday night, then – a solid enough performance with one mistake by debutant Kyle Bartley costing us the crucial goal.  We’ll now face one of Bayern Munich, Stuttgart, Porto, Inter Milan, Lyon, AC Milan, and CSKA Moscow in the next round.  I’d like it to be Stuttgart and a reunion with the properly mental Jens Lehmann.

Finally today, Alisher Usmanov has bought some shares.  Let’s face it: I’m not interested, you’re not interested – nobody is interested.  These “share-buying” stories are so bloody dull.  All these point somethings of a % changing hands.  I’m losing interest in the whole bally thing.

Till tomorrow.

Search Gunnerblog

Get your Gunnerblog t-shirts now!

get regular updates from GS with twitter

Top Gunn

Cesc Fabregas
The man in form.

    Retro Arsenal T-Shirts from - Bringing Back The Good Old Days!: Click Here!

Latest Posts

Sponsored Links


December 2009
« Nov   Jan »

Posts by Month

Most Recent Posts

Posts by Category


Powered By

eXTReMe Tracker