Walcott scored Arsenal’s opener against the German side who had beaten the North Londoners 2-0 at the Emirates last month.
Arsenal desperately needed a result and the performance go with it, not only to keep their place in the Champion’s League, as they currently sit second place in Group B – but also to silence their numerous critics in the backlash against their poor display at Old Trafford last weekend.
The Gunners started well – Walcott’s 18th minute strike earned them a welcome lead against the home side, he is now Arsenal’s top goal scorer with 7 to his name, despite being utilized mostly as a substitute this season.
Arsene Wenger has taken a bold stance in the on-going contract saga that looks set to see the Englishman sold in January. He has refused to sign a reported £75,000 a week deal at the Emirates, and is demanding £100,000 which he could likely claim elsewhere.
With just months remaining on his current deal, negotiations appear to be going nowhere fast – the manager has voiced his desire for the 23-year-old to stay, the player has outlined his hope that it can be ‘sorted out’ (read “offer more money”) and now Jack Wilshere has pleaded with his teammate to stay.
“Theo has been great,” said Arsenal’s good-as-new number 10.
“His future is down to him and the boss to sort out. I hope he does sign. He has been great for us. He’s an English lad and great to have around.”
Walcott’s England career appears to have also stalled in recent seasons – with the emergence of his young Arsenal teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott now finds himself on the bench for both club and country.
Some have suggested a move to Liverpool would see him regain access to regular first-team football and the potential for him to explore his ability as a striker – something that Arsene Wenger has yet to experiment with.
The long-awaited return to fitness of Jack Wilshere from his 17 months out injured is a huge relief for both Wenger and Hodgson – his availability, however, may see Walcott slip even further down the pecking order.
But the youngster is backing the winger to stay put and the manager has echoed his calls for the situation to come to a conclusion – one way or another.
“There is urgency, how much I don't know, but there is urgency. We want to sort it out before Christmas, one way or the other."
image: © Ronnie Macdonald