Theo Walcott returned to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in an Everton side that were looking to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat to West Ham the previous weekend. Unfortunately for Toffees fans though, Walcott’s old Arsenal habits also returned against his former side.
The Englishman has been in fine form so far this season, netting two goals and providing one assist in Everton’s first six Premier League games, and with he and Richarlison on either wing Marco Silva’s side certainly carry an attacking threat to be wary of.
In the first half on Sunday, it looked like it would be a long day for the Arsenal defence, who struggled to cope with the two Everton wingers.
Richarlison, who returned from a three-match ban after being sent off against Bournemouth, looked dangerous as he brought a number of saves from Gunners keeper Petr Cech and peppered the Arsenal goal with shots.
The £40m Brazilian was impressive in the first 45 minutes, as was Walcott who had a pass accuracy of 94 per cent throughout the game with two key passes, and it looked as though Everton could be on course to take all three points back up to Merseyside if they could just break the deadlock.
However, in the second half the Gunners turned up the wick and the Everton wingers were pinned back. Then just before the hour mark Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal 1-0 up with a fantastic strike after working the ball back onto his right-foot in the box.
Three minutes later, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the result beyond doubt after Arsenal won the ball back in the Everton half and their quick transition left the Toffees with no chance to get back, although the Gabonese striker looked to be offside as he put the ball into the net.
Like his passing stats, Walcott’s defensive work was not always the best during his time under Arsene Wenger, but the 29-year-old made an impressive three tackles on Sunday. A couple of the habits that haunted his career in North London did reappear though that maybe we haven’t seen since his move to Everton in January earlier this year.
Walcott’s four unsuccessful touches were a throwback to times where as a young striker or winger his first touch would often let him down. In fact, with the score at 0-0 in the first-half, if his touch from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s through ball was better then he would have given Cech no chance to come out and stop his shot.
This was a potentially game-changing moment and the former England international will be disappointed that he couldn’t produce the goods against his old side. If he and Richarlison start firing again soon though, Everton shouldn’t have too much to worry about this season.