Chelsea legend: Theo Walcott isn’t natural finisher but key for Arsenal

Pat Nevin explains why Arsene Wenger just start Theo Walcott

Arsenal must start Theo Walcott ahead of Olivier Giroud, according to former Chelsea man Pat Nevin.

The England international scored the north London side’s equaliser in a 5-2 victory over Leicester City at King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The most important thing for Arsenal is that he stretches defences because everyone is scared of his pace

Pat Nevin

Walcott has enjoyed a run in the Arsenal first-team at the expense of Giroud, resulting in a return of three goals in five appearances in all competitions.

And former Scotland international Nevin believes Walcott brings so much more to the Arsenal side than just assists and goals thanks to his searing pace.

“I’ve been saying all along Walcott is the man you put up there. I’ve not had many people agreeing with me – yet,” Nevin told Newstalk’s Off The Ball.

“He’ll score a decent amount of goals purely because of his pace. He will get in there time and again.

“It’s not just that. The most important thing for Arsenal is that he stretches defences because everyone is scared of his pace.

“When you do that, you’ve got three guys behind who get more space. It isn’t complicated. It is simple stuff.

“People will look at the goals and assists and make a complete judgement at that. I would say don’t do that. Look at what everyone else is doing behind him.”

Walcott signed a new long-term deal with Arsenal earlier this season after reported interest from Liverpool.

While Nevin doesn’t believe the Arsenal striker is a natural finisher like Manchester United signing Anthony Martial, the ex-Chelsea man explained why Walcott doesn’t need to be prolific to thrive for the Gunners.

“He isn’t a natural finisher,” Nevin added in his interview with Off The Ball.

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“It is an odd thing for me to say if I’m saying have him up front. But the percentage of chances that he’ll get because of his pace, don’t worry, he doesn’t have to score every chance. If he is doing one out of three, he is doing perfectly well.

“In the end, it will help Arsenal all round.”

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