Done And Dusted

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There was nothing doing in the week, so I laid off the keyboard a bit, as you may or may not have noticed. You may have laid off the screen reading too for all I know, which would have evened things out nicely.

Now though, of course, some words need to be said because Theo Walcott is an Arsenal player, and I think it’s safe to say it’s quite exciting. Yes, he’s only 16, yes, it’s true he might never reach the heights some people are hoping, but it’s a gamble the boss has been prepared to take, and as we all know, Arsène Knows. Besides, the outlay is only £5m so far – with the rest on performance – so if it doesn’t come together, it’s not quite the gamble people are suggesting.

High hopes though: having just watched a round-up of his goals and skills on Soccer AM, I can see what the fuss is all about.

He’ll wear the number 32 shirt this season, with a view I presume to inheriting Dennis’s number 10? At last, Wenger has released Lee Dixon’s number two shirt to new boy Abou Diaby, leaving just the numbers five and six twiddling their thumbs. We can’t live in TA’s shadows forever, so I wonder who’ll take his shirt, when that time comes?

Over the years, I’ve advocated a slightly higher balance of English players in our first team, but as Wenger says, if they are good enough, they will play. Now it’s happening – in addition to Cole and Campbell, we can now look forward to seeing Walcott and Gilbert, the latter whom has impressed so far and may well get the chance to do so again today. Three of our English players are out on loan too – Smith, Bentley and Hoyte, though whether they come back is another argument.

In fact, through necessity more than anything else, it’s been a season of blooding young players, and it’s great to see our youth system bearing fruit so spectacularly. Fabregas, Djourou, Gilbert, Senderos, Eboue, and to a lesser degree, Larsson, Quincy and Song have all been given games. Walcott, I assume, saw this and felt his chance would come sooner or later too.

Tough game today, especially given our away record and our hosts’ recent resurgence.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.