Theo Walcott’s amazing pitch-length run was a joy to watch but whilst it was an incredible moment of skill, pace and finesse, Ryan Babel’s contribution over the 12 minutes or so he graced the pitch was phenomenal.
Both players show immense potential but in many ways the three years that Babel has over Theo in terms of age are showing now.
Let me make this clear, though. I am a big fan of Walcott and he is getting better and better all the time. Babel has, however, already made over 100 top-level appearances and therefore looks more like the finished article.
Walcott can be infuriating and lose possession too often. he can also go for one trick too many; this is to be expected from a player just beginning to find his feet at the top level. Arsene Wenger will be wise to continue to shield him from constant first-team attention but maybe next season he will play week in week out, mainly because Eboue is so damn frustrating but also because Walcott has what it takes to turn a game on its head in a split second. He did it minutes after coming on against AC Milan and came achingly close to doing so at Anfield.
Both players frighten the life out of defenders, but whilst Babel bulldozes his way past players, Theo has a grace that is astounding and both players are as exciting as hell to watch.