Opposition defences always scared of Theo Walcott, says Mertesacker

The defender says his now infamous celebration with Walcott shows that this Arsenal squad have something special.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker says opposition defences are scared of Theo Walcott if he plays in a central striker role.

The forward has spent the vast majority of his Gunners career playing as a winger, since signing from Southampton as a youngster, but has long aired his desire to operate down the middle.

He has been given that chance by manager Arsene Wenger so far this season, and has largely impressed with several goals and a number of top performances, linking up especially well with Alexis Sanchez.

And Mertesacker says if he plays in that position, opponents will be wary of the considerable threat he poses.

“It is a different position that what he played before on the wing,” Mertesacker told arsenal.com.

“In the centre he is always one against two, so he needs to find his way and his spaces and the pockets where he can be dangerous. They [the defence] will always be scared, if Theo plays up front, of the space in behind.”

The Arsenal defender also believes his now infamous post-match celebration with Walcott is one of the small details that make Arsenal’s squad special.

The giant German and his speedy team-mate have taken to celebrating big victories by jumping and bumping backs on the pitch, with the celebration last being seen after the 3-0 win over Manchester United.

Mertesacker says that it wasn’t a planned routine and came about spontaneously, and believes it highlights the tight bond which exists within the Gunners camp.

“I have no idea how that came about, it is just a small idea and we have just put it into practice, like a good habit,” he added.

“It reminds us always that [games are] hard work, but we enjoy ourselves, we enjoy playing together and trust each other. Small details makes this squad a special one. We are looking forward to having some good celebrations after the game.”

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