Theo Walcott seems to save his best cameo performances for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The former Southampton forward is quite simply one of the biggest enigmas in English football. Walcott’s incredible performance for Arsenal after coming on as a substitute for Bacary Sagna in theÂ 66th minute against Barcelona tempted many to ask why he had not started the match. But, his goal was just his third this season and Chris Waddle’s opinion that he “doesn’t have a football brain,” has a credence of truth.
Psychologically, Walcott may have turned the whole tie as his express pace caused doubt and fear in the Barcelona defence. He scored Arsenal’s first goal within three minutes of coming on after he had already beaten Maxwell for pace and then crossed for Nicklas Bendtner to head down to Cesc Fabregas in the build up for the penalty.
With Andrey Arshavin ruled out of the second leg, Arsene Wenger has a big decision to make over whether Walcott should start in the Nou Camp or come on again as an impact sub, which seems to bring out the best in him. The Arsenal manager may even use Walcott in a central role where he can attack the centre ofÂ Barcelona’s defence that has been shorn of Pique and Puyol.Â
Pep Guardiola will also be thinking how to contain Walcott next Tuesday as he has the option of restoring Eric Abidal to left back instead of Maxwell. And following a week where the nation has worried over the fitness of Wayne Rooney, Fabio Capello can also ponder how best to use WalcottÂ in the World Cup.
Theo Walcott’s individual match highlights v Barcelona can be seen on this video.