Burnley is a massive game for one T J Walcott.
Desperately out of sorts and out of form, our English forward only remained on the pitch in favour of Olivier Giroud against Chelsea because the manager chose to set up for counter attack only to see it blow up in his face almost immediately. He hasn’t scored since mid-December and hasn’t really looked like scoring in the interim either.
Put short, he’s not the Theo Walcott we saw back when the season was still in its infancy.
He’s no longer first choice.
In fact, Burnley comes at the perfect time for our wannabe striker.
It’s a game against a side who, although no pushover, will theoretically have a weaker defence than the usual premier league fare, and against who – with all due respect – we really should be turning over.
It’s a chance for Theo to rediscover his mojo, get a run out up front instead of his more recent haunts nearer to the touchlines, and hopefully get on the end of a chance or two so that he can put an end to his goal drought.
Championship sides tend to have either good defenders who lack pace or quick defenders who lack skill – after all, if they had both attributes then there are plenty of Premier League clubs who would happily snap them up as improvements over their current squads!
Burnley are unlikely to rotate their defence too much judging by their previous FA cup outing, but even so you would expect Walcott to have the beating of their backline on grounds of both speed and nous.
The Clarets would be mad to play a high line against Walcott, particularly if there’s additional pace on either side through the likes of Alexis or Campbell, but equally Theo can still have an impact if he’s up against a more deep-lying back four – it’s all about getting the timing of his runs right and being on the same wavelength as his teammates.
Theo Walcott thrives on big games, and although it’s for a very different reason, Saturday’s game is massive for him. Let’s hope he rises to the occasion as Burnley will surely be sent packing if he does.
Now let’s get our Theo back.