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Theo Walcott More Valuable to Arsenal on the Right Wing Than Through the Middle

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier league match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on November 17, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images,)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
James DudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2012

He continues to lobby for a move into the middle, but Theo Walcott is more valuable to Arsenal on the right wing.

Walcott was the catalyst for another convincing derby win over Tottenham Hotspur. It was as a goal-scorer that he tormented Spurs last season, but Walcott was Arsenal's chief provider this time.

He savaged Spurs down from the right wing. Such was his dominance, that Gareth Bale was rendered a non-factor, save for a brief second-half spell.

Emmanuel Adebayor's sending-off did spark the Gunners, but Walcott's pace and delivery down the right proved decisive.

Whether Walcott wants to acknowledge it or not, that's where Arsenal need him now. With Olivier Giroud developing into the powerful front man Arsene Wenger coveted, the Gunners need service and lots of it.

Delivering crosses to maximize Giroud's aerial proficiency is now the new dynamic of this Arsenal squad. Certainly the 19 crosses they fired in during the first half against Spurs are ample proof of that.

Walcott has improved his general contributions from wide areas. The quality and precision of his delivery is higher than in recent seasons.

It's clear that Walcott has benefited from the assisting role he played for Robin van Persie last season. There's visibly a greater level of confidence when he collects the ball wide.

He added another assist to the two he delivered against Fulham last weekend. In tandem with Bacary Sagna, Walcott is now Arsenal's primary attacking outlet.

The pairing is so effective that Wenger's biggest task is finding the balance and production to match on the left.

A late goal through the middle against Spurs is not evidence for a switch from the wings. Movement remains the key to Walcott finding goals from wide.

Contract negotiations continue to drag, but any solution has to involve Walcott continuing to do his damage down the right flank. That's where his true value to Arsenal now lies.

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