Jenkinson and Walcott must stand and deliver, plus: why Arsenal need Llorente
Only four seasons back, Carl Jenkinson was plying his trade in the lower divisions of the Conference league. He is now a reliable right-back option for Arsenal.
Reliable? Of course he is. Last season, he made 14 league appearances for the Gunners and he looked very solid in defence. Yet, he played mostly as a deputy to Bacary Sagna, the first choice right-back.
He is only 21 and though there is a lot of time left in his career to stamp his own impression, one cannot help but feel that he should be used regularly by Arsene Wenger. The player has matured enough to earn that place.
Against Sunderland away to Stadium of Light in the last match, he put up yet another strong performance. With Sagna shifted to the centre, due to injury to Per Mertesacker, the youngster was deployed at his usual position.
The best thing about Jenkinson is, he is very good with his position and is very compact in his defensive duties. In the entire match, he didn’t have to make any interceptions or tackles, but won two aerial duels and made an important clearance in the box.
But, going forward he impressed most. Out of 66 passes attempted, 27 of them were in the attacking third. He attempted seven crosses in the match, with one of them found Aaron Ramsey inside the box from which the Welshman scored.
Time has come for him to take this confidence to the next level and force his manager to make a decision between him and Sagna.
Likewise, this has been an important season for Theo Walcott as well. The England star will benefit the most due to the arrival of Mesut Ozil. In the game against Sunderland, we saw, how Ozil picked his runs perfectly and threaded him two glorious passes, which he squandered and should have scored.
His fable of inconsistency (scorer of last night against Marseille) has become a sort of folk-lore. But, after years of persistence with him, this is time where he must step out of his shadow, and deliver match-winning performances regularly, rather than being flashy on every alternate occasion.
A lot of Arsenal’s success will depend on his performances too. With his menacing pace, he can be devastating at times, but maturity is all Arsene Wenger will ask from him this season.
On Llorente situation:
It’s no secret that the Gunners need a solid striker. They have tried on few occasions with Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez in the summer and were linked with Karim Benzema too.
They are but thin in that forward zone and are relying heavily on Olivier Giroud to deliver. A striker in the January transfer window is essential and the best possible option available could be Spain’s Fernando Llorente, who has become sort-of-outcast at Juventus.
His future has been speculated in the media and reports emerged that the Turin giants could be willing to listen to offers too. For some reasons, things didn’t work out for him at Serie A (that doesn’t mean the chap is a poor player) and Arsenal could give him a platform to shine here. He won’t cost much though.