Two things happened against Manchester United that not many people seemed to have noticed.
The first was an attempted stamp by Ashley Young on Aaron Ramsey after the Welshman had fouled him late in the game.
The second happened before that as Ramsey entered the pitch.
To us viewers at home it seemed as if Theo Walcott was going to be introduced along with the midfielder when the Ox pulled up with a hamstring problem after initially looking like it would be Walcott alone who would come on first.
What changed in Wenger’s mind is not clear, but Theo was told to sit back down.
He did not appear to take it well.
We’ve postulated on this site recently a number of reasons as to why Theo isn’t being played by Wenger but whatever the truth, Theo now faces a very real dilemma and a cross-roads in his footballing career.
While it is easy to say that the club are using him sparingly because of his injury, that doesn’t hold up any longer as they are not really using him at all.
With contract negotiations expected to take place this month, Theo has a decision to make.
Stick or twist?
It is clear that the wideman has fallen down the pecking order at the club with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck being preferred ahead of him and it’s not hard to see why.
Theo can be lethal going forward but, not unlike Lukas Podolski, his work rate going the other direction leaves a lot to be desired.
In this new-look Arsenal, effort and teamwork is being prized by Wenger above all else and this becomes even more important when you consider the youth and inexperience of the right-back currently playing – Hector Bellerin.
Against sides who make Arsenal work hard for a win, Wenger needs to know that he has someone in front of the young Spaniard who will help to protect him. Unluckily for Theo, as the season ramps up, this means in most of the remaining games Wenger will opt for the more industrious Welbeck or Ox.
We all knew that if Walcott couldn’t get picked against QPR there was no chance Wenger was going to trust him at Old Trafford.
So what does Theo do?
Well, he has a few options.
He can accept where he is and put his head down, work harder and start truly challenging those ahead of him. This would clearly be the best option.
Arsenal would get an improved player and the player himself would also greatly benefit from being more rounded and effective.
The next option is to just carry on as he is and accept his place down the pecking order, but given his contract tantrums last time around, that doesn’t seem very likely.
The other is to ask to leave.
Liverpool would take him in a heartbeat and pay very handsomely for the privilege as well. They’ve tried to sign him a number of times and even asked for him plus £50m for Luis Suarez if reports are to be believed.
Theo certainly cannot afford to take a similar stance with these new contract negotiations as he did the last time.
His bargaining position is much weaker than it was in the season after Robin van Persie left and with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and others starring in the side, he is no longer the talisman.
That doesn’t always have to be the case.
Theo could be the undisputed star of this team.
If he wants to be.
The question is, is he wiling to do what it takes to get there?Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Daily Cannon