Season after season Theo Walcott continues to significantly improve.
The 2012/13 season was all about Walcott’s finishing being much more clinical - he managed to score 21 goals in all competitions, his most successful season in front of goal - it demonstrated a change in his game and an area which was greatly improved after being criticised in previous seasons.
During the season, Walcott was often allowed to play in his desired centre-forward role, where he scored and created many chances.
Using his phenomenal speed as his primary and most deadly asset, Walcott easily weaves his way around defenders and commonly finds himself in one-on-one situations. In previous seasons Walcott missed many of these chances but with his improved finishing last season, he slotted home many more chances.
Walcott combines his searing pace with intelligent movement which allows him to get into better goal scoring positions. His movement to drift away from his marker and other defenders has clearly been worked on in training and added to his game. With the service provided to him from the likes of Cazorla, Wilshere and Rosicky he often receives perfectly weighted passes precisely where he wants them which allows him to act quicker in the final third.
After playing in both the centre-forward role and on the right wing, it is still undecided what position Walcott’s long term future will lie in. As good as his performances have been in the centre-forward role, where he finished many of his chances and moved into good positions, he does not look like a natural striker. With his small build contrasted with the towering strong defenders he will come up against in the Premier League, Walcott will often get shrugged off the ball to easily. This position is rightfully taken up by the still improving and tall figure of Olivier Giroud to compete with these tall defenders.
However, when Walcott plays on the right he is much more threatening to the opposition and offers more to the team as a whole. When the Englishman plays in these wide positions, he can then make deadly diagonal runs inside the box penetrating enemy defences followed by either a shot or a cross. These diagonal runs buy Walcott more time before the big defenders track back and by the time they do it will be too late. Walcott’s crossing is another aspect of his game which he has greatly improved on. Accurate, powerful and timed to perfection Walcott’s crosses enables players in the box to grab chances created from Walcott when playing wide on the right.
In summary, Walcott’s best position for himself and the team is playing on the right-wing and often drifting into the right channel adjacent to the striker. This allows him to cover the right-back position, provide service for team mates in the box and still grab his fair share of goals which he will finish with the clinical trait which he has developed.
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