Pace, skill and great finishing: Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry had it all.
The two of them formed arguably the best strike partnership Arsenal ever had and one of the greatest strike partnership of all time. At their best there were few who had the technique, skill and quality of the two. They spent seven seasons together and every bit of action was a joy to watch and behold.
Bergkamp would fit into the second striker role dropping in between the midfield and defense of the opposition. Thierry Henry would fit into the striker’s role and the duo was extremely successful for Arsenal winning several trophies in their seasons together.
The dynamic duo won two Premier League trophies and three FA Cups together.
Van Persie and Theo Walcott may not be exactly a like for like pair when compared to Henry and Bergkamp.
But there are a few similarities.
Thierry Henry used to often drop deep and contribute to scoring goals as well. He would often drop into the midfield and allow the midfield players to venture forward and used to often move into the wings as well.
Robin van Persie too often drops deep, allowing the midfield players to venture out forward and creates space for the other attacking players with his smart decoy runs and movement.
When Henry was at his best he could contribute up to 15 to 20 assists in a season. Over the last couple of seasons, van Persie has evolved as a player and has created several goals for his teammates. His tendency to drop deep makes him slightly different from a traditional striker.
Until Wenger’s change in tactics, Henry too was not always an “out and out striker”.
But when presented with an opportunity both are brilliant finishers of the ball and have a lethal shot.
Dennis Bergkamp and Theo Walcott do occupy different roles with the Englishman playing in the wings. But he has expressed his interest in playing with the striker upfront.
But the essential similarity between the two pairs is that both have talent, pace and have lethal finishing abilities in them. Walcott offers Arsenal electrifying pace that can beat the best defenders and in van Persie Arsenal have one of the most lethal finishers and at his best there are few who can control the Dutchman.
Walcott and van Persie have created several goals between themselves.
Walcott has progressed a lot this season and his decision making has taken great strides over the last few months. He has put in several good balls into the box and is extremely unselfish. Very often when presented with a good goalscoring opportunity he chooses to pass it to a teammate than go for goal himself.
Walcott’s searing pace in the wings has created several goals this season. This season Walcott has eight assists to his name. In the matches against Wigan, West Ham and Newcastle, Walcott helped van Persie score.
But it’s not just Walcott who is creating all the goals, even van Persie has created some for the Englishman. In the match against Blackburn, West Ham, van Persie helped Walcott get on the score sheet.
The two have all the ingredients to be a great hit. Both have an unselfish style of play and at the same time are lethal finishers especially when presented with a good opportunity. The two of them are quick and their movement would help the other get into great goalscoring opportunities.
If they can stay fairly injury free especially van Persie and if Walcott can continue his progress, then the two of them can emulate Henry and Bergkamp.
Often great teams are built around duos that dictate the game, creating and scoring goals. Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry did it for the Invincibles.
Arsenal fans can only hope that Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott can lead the Gunners to further glory. The signs are bright for the duo.