The Arsenal v Newcastle match last night was one of the footballing highlights of the season so far. Unfortunately the team ESPN had chosen to analyse it were not even League One standard, John Barnes has nothing to offer any football debate, despite liking the sound of his voice, and Keggie Keegle is best remembered as a player rather than a coach/manager of any stature, that just leaves Craig Burley who has emerged over the last few years as someone whose basic functionality as a player has been surpassed by excellent tactical analysis.
Barnes offering last night seemed to consist mainly of trying to convince himself that Theo Walcott cannot play down the middle whilst Arsenal persist in what is essentially a 4-3-3 formation. Why not? Surely the one thing that we have learned in football over the past five years is that you don't need a 'big man' down the middle to succeed.
I've been critical of Walcott in the past because I think he's one of those players who when he considers options generally considers the wrong one, but last night he showed that when he plays on instinct he can be a success. All those doubters who wrote him off after his two displays against Reading should be made to watch a DVD of the match last night. I don't buy into this 'it's only Reading/Wigan/Newcastle' crap that is dished out on t.v and the radio on a daily basis. There are only five or six clubs who can genuinely compete for a Champions League place each season so surely a player who is going to score 15-20 games a season will score the majority of those against teams from outside of the top group.
Whatever the next thirty days holds for Theo Walcott the one thing he did last night was show people that he is suddenly worth serious consideration, the problem he has is that apart from possibly Chelsea (as a squad player) he won't leave Arsenal for a club who has a more realistic chance of winning anything - although the prospect of a swap for David Villa is interesting.