Walcott & Gervinho? Why Poldi & Ox Are Arsenal's Real Wide Boys

Last season it was Gervinho and Walcott feeding Van Persie. Now it's Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain flanking Giroud. Here's why it's better for Arsenal...
Publish date:
Updated on

It is great that Arsenal have four established internationals vying for two places in attack, with Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joining Theo Walcott and Gervinho to form our very own wide boy quadruple.

Even behind those four we have other options on the wing, with the outcast Andrei Arshavin still lingering around the Emirates, along with the versatile (but currently injured) Thomas Rosicky. We even have Ryo Miyaichi on loan at Wigan learning his flank trade and Nicky Bendtner is technically still on our books.

Anyway, it's fair to say our wide options are looking as good as ever. Last season our wing wizards were Theo Walcott and Gervinho, who racked up 46 and 37 appearances respectively. Gervinho missed some of the second part of the campaign due to the African Cup of Nations and a subsequent loss of form, but Walcott was pretty much a constant.

Replacing RVP up top is French hunk Olivier Giroud, but he seems more likely to score off the pitch than on it at the moment

This season, with Robin Van Persie's bitter departure to Manchester United (I'm still not over it), our entire forward line has changed. Replacing RVP up top is French hunk Olivier Giroud, but he seems more likely to score off the pitch than on it at the moment.

As a club we must appreciate Giroud needs time to settle and find his shooting boots among the boxes of possessions he has shipped from the south of France, but at least in Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain we have arguably the most exciting wide pair in the league.

Podolski has not quite set the division alight since his £11m switch from boy-hood club Koln, but I feel he is getting better with every game. The one-two he played with Santi Cazorla (he's just wow, by the way) against Liverpool before piledriving a left footed effort past Pepe Reina proved he has goals in the locker to go with those consistent hard-working performances.

Also the German's addition means we now have two members of the Joachim Low's international squad in our current first-team, and their efficiency in defence and attack is something all our fans will come to love.

And in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, we have probably the most tantalising English talent in the game right now. Jack Wilshere's imminent return from injury rivals that, as does precious starlet Raheem Sterling's start to the season, but in the Ox I just see endless potential.

Chamberlain himself has had a slow start to the term - disrupted by injury and slightly out of sorts at Anfield - although everyone in football recognises what talent he has and what sort of player he can become.

Able to do nearly anything with a ball, clever, not afraid to shoot or tackle and holding a desire and determination to beat his man are traits that make him an all-rounder so to speak, although for now I see him being utilised from the wing.

He may one day become a central midfielder, but with Cazorla, Arteta, Diaby and Wilshere (soon), we are currently well stocked in those positions.

What pleases me most about Poldi and the Ox over Walcott and Gervinho, is that our current wide men seem to have intelligence in and around the box (apologies for the cliché) that the contract rebel and the man with the most receeding hairline in the world just don't seem to possess.

As Chris Waddle and Alan Hansen argue, Theo lacks a 'football brain' and whilst I will not wholeheartedly agree with this mindless punditry, the point remains that he struggles to show conviction in the final third and now looks out of his depth without the fantastic movement and finishing of Van Persie to show him who to pass to.

Gervinho has a box of tricks and the pace to beat full-backs, but also lacks purpose when it really matters in front of goal and has a frustrating tendency to shoot like a girl.

As Chris Waddle and Alan Hansen argue, Theo lacks a ‘football brain’

Whilst this season will unfortunately not hold in store for Arsenal the league title, we do have a genuine chance to challenge for other silverware. And with Poldi and the Ox keeping Walcott and Gervinho on the bench, the goals to cater for RVP's absence are set to come from the wings.

The fact that Chamberlain has already spoken out in the press on Podolski's wealth of experience and their sharing of opinions only solidifies my belief that these two are the men Wenger must go with on the flanks.

Walcott and Gervinho offered just 12 goals between them in the Premier League last season. What are the chances that Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain beat that figure and some more?

In my opinion good, which is why I'll be lumping a few quid on both to score against Southampton. Come on the wide boys.

Follow James on Twitter

Other great articles about Arsenal...

Does Fabregas Need Wenger To Reignite His Career?

The Greatest Goal I Ever Saw: Ray Parlour V Chelsea, 2002 FA Cup

Who Will Take Over From Contract-Shy Arsene Wenger at Arsenal?