Walcott display shows Arsenal don't need to buy a striker

Arsenal's 2-0 win over Tottenham saw Theo Walcott hit the headlines – mostly for the wrong reasons, but also for starting up front.

The Gunners eased past their local rivals with goals from Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky, but the win has been somewhat marred by an unsavoury incident late into the game.

Walcott was stretchered off with an injury, and proceeded to incite Spurs fans by pointing out the 2-0 scoreline, and the visiting supporters threw a number of missiles in the direction of the England international.

While Arsenal await the results of Walcott's knee injury, the former Southampton man staked a strong claim for more playing time as a centre forward with an impressive display against Spurs.

Frenchman Olivier Giroud missed the game through illness, while Nicklas Bendtner was also sidelined by an ankle injury picked up in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Cardiff City, leaving Walcott as the only player available who could fill in.

Walcott has been desperate for a chance to feature as a striker, and made a plea to manager Arsene Wenger in 2012 for more playing time there before signing his new contract at the Emirates Stadium.

"It is a case of having trust in me up front," he said at the time. "I was signed as a striker and it is about time, I want to play up front. I have learnt my game on the wing. When you look at what I did last year I think I can do even more. Hopefully I will be given the opportunity. I am desperate for it."

With Giroud and Bendtner unavailable, Walcott impressed with his pace and direct running, causing Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches problems all night in the heart of the Tottenham defence.

Arsenal have been linked with a number of strikers recently, including Diego Costa, Dimitar Berbatov and Jackson Martinez, but the performance of Walcott in yesterday's FA Cup tie could save Wenger from entering the transfer market this month.

Of course, much depends on how severe Walcott's injury is, but the 24-year-old offers a different dimension to Giroud – in fact, the aerial and hold up ability would be the perfect compliment to Walcott's pace – and this has to be encouraging for Wenger as Arsenal bid to lift their first silverware since 2005.

With Daniel Sturridge out injured, it also bodes well for England as Roy Hodgson looks to get the most out of his squad. With Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and now potentially Walcott available to play ahead of Wayne Rooney, the Three Lions will have a number of pacy options up front.

image: © wonker

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