Arsenal

Theo Walcott names the two Arsenal stars he simply ‘loves watching’ this season

Former Arsenal fan favourite Theo Walcott was a speedy winger during his playing days, and he has now spoken about the two current stars lighting up the flanks.

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have both been excellent, and having both come through at young ages at a similar time, with Saka coming through the academy and Martinelli from the Brazilian lower leagues, their development over the years has been amazing to watch.

Both are now the undisputed first-choice options in their positions on the wings, and both offer a blend of flair, creativity, speed and decisiveness in front of goal.

Walcott was a prodigal talent like the pair during his early years at Arsenal, having joined as a teenager himself, and he has now praised both attackers.

Theo Walcott praises Martinelli and Saka

Speaking to Arsenal club media, Walcott explained that he prefers wingers who utilise their speed properly, and highlighted Martinelli and Saka as two players who do this well.

The manager (Arsene Wenger) said to me to change the game, to use my pace, do what I’m good at,” he stated of his performance in Arsenal’s famous victory away at AC Milan in 2008.

“It frustrates me still when I see wingers not using their pace. It’s your main weapon, exploit it. That’s why I love watching Martinelli and Saka now. Defenders hate you running at them.”

Although neither winger were as lightning-quick as Walcott was at his best, both players offer a lot of speed on both wings, and both have differing attributes which makes them such a well-rounded pair.

Whilst Martinelli likes running into space, and can use his pace to get in behind defences and terrorise fullbacks, Saka often hugs the wings and uses his excellent technical ability to beat defenders.

Both players are often double-marked, as teams aim to nullify their threat from out wide, but the pair still produce incredible output in front of goal.

Martinelli’s goal away at Sevilla was a good example of his pace being used, as he latched onto Gabriel Jesus’ through-ball to round the keeper and score, and it was a goal similar to what Walcott used to do 15 years ago.

With Arsenal now facing deeper defences, and struggling to score early goals, the next step will be to help maximise the wingers’ output again, and Saka has already admitted that he is eager to find a way to produce against low block defences.

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