Theo Walcott, not a bad little footballer after all

Theo Walcott isn’t the greatest footballer ever, that’s Theirry Henry. Theo Walcott has limitations but every footballer has limitations, except Dennis Bergkamp and Theirry Henry — who were peerless. But, Theo Walcott is also not as limited as the lazy pundits make him out to be.

I’m not just writing this because Walcott had a great game against Reading, but rather because the Reading game was a reminder of what’s great about Walcott. And since I wrote my piece about the game yesterday and highlighted his performance, both the player and I have come in for quite a bit of criticism. Which is fair enough! Criticize away, I can take it.

Most of the criticism has come in the form of tropes or cliches about his footballing ability. “He needs space” being the main one and the subsequent “he doesn’t fit Arsenal’s system” backing the “he needs space” critique. Both of these are about how teams like West Ham and Aston Villa pack the defense and thereby neutralize Walcott’s effectiveness.

Somewhere in his career, possibly at the very start and almost certainly at the hands of someone like Mark Lawrenson, Walcott was tagged as a “speed merchant” damning him with the label for the rest of his career. And it’s true, sadly, Walcott is fast. Maybe he should slow down so that pundits like Chris Waddle have time to catch up to what Walcott is doing.

It’s also true that Walcott, like Thierry Henry, loves it, LOVES IT, when he gets the ball on the counter attack and there are acres of  space and few defenders to beat. Hell, show me an out and out striker who doesn’t love that situation. Thierry Henry was a massive counter attacking threat. Pires or Bergkamp would just play the ball to him and off he would go! Just like Cazorla or Arshavin playing the ball to Theo and letting him run at a defense caught with its pants down.

But Walcott, and you cannot deny this, is probably faster than Henry and has amazing touch for a player that fast. You try to control a through ball when running at full speed and I guarantee you’ll look a lot more like Gervinho than Walcott. So, if the defenders give him space and he’s given a ball to run onto Theo Walcott will more than likely control and have a one-on-one versus the keeper. That’s what we’ve now come to call “a typical Walcott goal.” And I will admit, it’s his speciality.

It was (and still is) a specialty of Thierry Henry and I don’t say that to make a comparison between the two but rather to make a comparison between the two teams. Henry is a special talent. His run and goal against Real Madrid was one of the best moments I have ever experienced as a fan. Henry should be awarded a small fiefdom for his goal against Tottenham because it was simply majestic. Walcott has moments similar to those, but the problem is that this Arsenal team aren’t set up to play counter attacking football. This Arsenal team are a possession based team and that often means that Arsenal will find themselves with the ball, passing around in the opposition half, and looking for a breakthrough.

Which is where Theo Walcott is not very good, right?

Well, I went back and looked at his goal scoring record and watched a number of his goals and assists. My conclusion is that we should continue to give him credit for his pace, touch, and finishing when the opposition gifts him space but we need to back down a bit off this meme that he doesn’t do well against teams who pack the defense.

For example, Sam Allardyce’s West Ham. West Ham went up 1-0 and packed the defense in. After Poldi and Giroud combined to bring the game level, West Ham earned a corner. Arsenal countered off that corner and Theo scored a “typical Walcott goal”, latching onto a through ball controlling, and finishing beautifully. West Ham packed in the defense again and let Arsenal poke around the outside looking for an opening. Walcott dribbled past several defenders, passed to Cazorla who elected to bypass Walcott’s good run and shoot a wondergoal instead. Walcott is credited with the assist. It’s a dubious assist to be fair, and a kind of ugly dribble (not Henryesque), but here’s a player who supposedly can’t score against teams who pack the defense scoring, dribbling, and providing an assist against the king of defense packers.

But let’s put that one down to providence. He was lucky.

How about the 5-3 against Chelsea last year? Do you remember his goal? It was again against a team that was packing the defense. Walcott dribbles, is tripped, gets up, keeps dribbling and with half a chance, finishes.

But let’s put that one down to providence. He was lucky.

Ok, how about Aston Villa last year in the FA Cup? Villa have the lead at 2-1 and their manager is another known defense packer, Allie McLeish. Their defense is set up so deep that some of the players complain of getting the bends when they venture near the half-way line. Theo Walcott, simply, dribbles around half the team and scores from close range after the ball pings around off Richard Dunne.

But Theo Walcott was lucky again!

How about Fulham? Martin Jol is a defense packer and doubleplus packs the defense when his team have the lead. So, anyway, Fulham are up 1-0 after a Vermaelen own goal and it’s getting late but Fulham are packing in the defense. Walcott gets the ball on the right and puts  in a cross. Vermaelen heads home. 1-1 Arsenal.

Lucky, Theo.

Remember QPR? Sparky loves to set his teams up to play defense first and especially if they have a one goal lead. So QPR are up one nil and they have 8 men behind the ball, and it’s just Rosicky, Walcott, and van Persie in attack. But Walcott makes a really smart little run, gets some space, shoots off the post and puts the rebound back in for Arsenal’s only goal.

What a lucky boy.

I could go on and on. In the space of a few weeks, Walcott scored against Villa, QPR and Wolves. Against Wolves he just earns a penalty with a lovely run in crowded space, then gets himself a goal against Wolves who are crowding the box. And I could, I suppose, go back another year and find further examples of Theo scoring or providing assists against these defensive teams.

All probably just luck.

Looking at all of his goals, I have to admit that Walcott is most effective breaking at speed or counter attacking and that Arsenal don’t do this as well as they probably should.

That said, Walcott’s not as bad as some pundits would like you to believe. And maybe he does occasionally score against teams that pack it in.

Perhaps it’s all luck, but let’s remember this is a player who is just 23 years old. He will get better over the next four years as he gains experience. I think it would be a shame to lose him as I think he’s really starting to show what he can offer Arsenal. Thankfully, it looks like Arsenal’s position may be softening, at least their PR position is softening, since they ran an article this morning saying that Arsenal have “urgency” in their contract talks with Theo.

Maybe he’s not the most graceful player to dribble the air out of a ball and maybe he does need someone to provide him with service more than other players (it’s a point I’ve made before), but his finishing is great, as are his runs, his crosses, and his touch at pace.

I was one of the people who was sanguine about him leaving, but he’s changed my mind on that with his performances so far this season and I think Arsenal should keep him now rather than let him blossom at another team.

He’s not a bad little footballer. He’s no Thierry Henry, he’s Theo.

Qq

41 thoughts on “Theo Walcott, not a bad little footballer after all

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    Bravo Tim, I couldn’t agree more.

    I’m just a little scared that Arsenal’s article may be a case of Too little, too late. Frankly, I don’t remember a situation where a player signs a new contract in the last six months of his old contract, usually is way before that.
    Flamini, Nasri, that Dutch Klompen wearing bastard, all of them refused to sign it and adios they went, and probably it’s the same with all bigger players in major clubs. I really wish he would stay, though.
    When Van Persie and Song left, I could console myself with the fact that one of them was old-ish, and the other sluggish.
    But what can you say about Theo, especially after your article today?
    Losing him would be bad.

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    Dammit, Tim. You made me care about him even MORE. What’s wrong with you? It’s just going to hurt that much more when he goes to team up with Suarez or Van Persie.

    Please. Can we just… keep SOMEONE? PLEASE?!

  3. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1shrek2be

    Walcott excels in making runs off the last CB’s shoulder and as you rightly pointed out , he is very good when we counterattack.
    I do feel you exaggerated a few of the goals mentioned above . You’ve described Theo’s goal against Aston Villa. as him dribbling past half the team and score. He took the ball past one guy , stayed on the touchline and then shot at the near post.

    Anyways I don’t want to start nitpicking. Theo has his good qualities and I hope he comes to an agreement with us .

    I think in our system , Walcott won’t be a very effective CF. Because he is on the right , it enables him to make a run through the middle if a guy like OG/MC drifts towards the left dragging his markers with him.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Jenkinson

    Let’s see what happens this Saturday.Theo looks world-class nagainst against run-of-the mill FBs but looks very ordinary against topclass FBs.
    He’s up against Evra on Saturday and has never caused him any trouble so far.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      He scored against Evra while they were kind of packed in defense in the 8-2 loss last year. I didn’t put it in this analysis because I didn’t want to open old wounds.

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      Better Walcott @ RW cutting in with Sagna supporting than Ramsey.

      I was hoping he didn’t have to put such effort against Reading. Hope he can show for us. It will help our more muted LW at the moment with the Santos issue.

      + Walcott’s delivery from set piece (corners) was excellent.

      The gaffer got it right putting on Eisfeld (ho looks dead set to compete with Ramsey for Rosicky’s eventual replacement) and going for a 4-1-5/4-2-4 formation. Who knew we could play two big men up top and who knew Walcott could find their heads so well from the corner flag?:D

  5. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    Tim you’re such a blog merchant. Ask you to write some story in a newspaper, and your writing becomes totally ineffective. You must lack a writing brain. This blogging talent must be such a curse.

    Seriously though – you know I’ve criticized Theo on your site many times and I’m still not convinced that he will become an Arsenal great, but I can’t imagine how anyone can think letting him go is a good idea. Forget about where his talents lie. We are starting to lose sight of the big picture here. Theo is now the most established player in the club. Not only that, he is also been our most effective player this season. I’m sure he’s had more goals and assists per minute on the pitch than anyone else – I don’t need stats to tell me that. So again we are coming to a situation where we are letting go of one of our best players. This is exactly the kind of vicious cycle we need to get out of. Try him as a CF, give him a 100K/week – he has earned it. Not because of his performance vs. Reading but because he’s been good enough in the last two years.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Oh, so you save the best one on Walcott assessment for this day Tim. I’m glad that it’s worth the wait. Maybe Arsenal fans request him to be more like Hazard or Ronaldo. You know, player that can dribble and excite people. Both of them is more winger than striker though and Walcott tendency is more striker than winger.

    Anyway, I am super happy now that Arsenal decide to come to my country. At last I can watch Arsenal live in a stadium, well I don’t mind fringe players too. Can’t wait for it…

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1widge

    Thank you! I’ve been saying he should be played up front for ages! I also have never understood when the opposition have a corner/free kick is Theo not positioned on the halfway line or as far up field as possible, the counter attack immediately turns into a goal threat. Opposition teams would be less likely to dive or want free kicks/corners if they know we are going to get the ball to Theo who is likely to score. They would also have to leave defenders further back giving us more space in the middle of the pitch. I feel that if Wenger starts playing Theo upfront he’ll soon toughen up and his training will be more directed to him being a lone striker making him more deadly. I hope to Bergkamp that he signs and starts to get his wish to play up front.

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    I do believe that it was a Spud piece of s**t ex-player turned pundit who started the whole “Theo lacks a footballing brain” nonsense. Theo was barely 20 years old at the time

  9. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    It takes courage to say ” You know what? You have convinced me to change my stance/mind on the Theo contract issue. I think we should keep him ”

    How many of us Gooners are going to show that kind of courage?

    Walcott has handled himself well throughout. He has not written letters to the fans. He has delivered when brought on by Wenger. Respect begets respect

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      It’s not just been him though. I think a clutch of senior castaway players have been showing great hunger and desire for a while now.

      Ditto Chamakh and Arsharvin who have come to conclusion that the best bet for their respective careers is to shape up, leave the pipe at home and play well for us.

      Arsharvin is an underutilized asset. Instead of playing Ramsey (ineffectually last couple of games) out RW, we should have played AA centre with Santi RW. His weight of passing is superb and vision probably better than Santi’s. Where he lacks is his retention and some pace but he was looking hungry and fitter last League Cup match so I’m not sure why we are not maximising his benefit for us.

      similarly, I mentioned before this game that we will likely benefit from Chamakh firing until such time we can take on a replacement (or he finds a club interested) down the line. It was great to see him work his socks off and get the goals he deserved (both well taken and will do him a heap of good)

      If we get 10 goals each from Giroud, Walcott, Podolski, Chamakh, Gervinho , 10 from defense and 10 from midfield, (and crucially shut tighter in defense), we should be in great shape this season.

  10. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    I would also like to commend Theo for his professionalism in the face of being essentially demoted over the fact that he wouldn’t sign terms that he disagreed with. He simply got on with his job and now leads Arsenal in goals scored in all competitions. Contrast his season with that of Carlos Tevez and you can see what kind man Theo Walcott is.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1tino

      Agreed! Theo has been very professional in his performances. You bring up Tevez, but I say Nasri was just as worse.

      It’s also strange reading your argument that Theo can play well against deep, packed defenses and still not come out quite convinced. Gervinho is out for a while so, I’ll keep a keen eye.

      I can’t help but say that his ‘absence’ has made us much more fond of him. We can agree that he has done well over the past few years, has improved and should continue to do so.

      I hold no bitterness when I say that if he stays, he can turn into an exceptional player, but if he leaves I have doubts that we’ll see the best of him as a player. I am sure he’ll score many goals against us though…

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    I fear we are in a quandary with this one.

    Honestly, we should have sold him in the summer and got ourselves someone who could play with a bit of technicality out wide in concert with Santi (As we have quite a number of pacy wingers – Gnabry, Chamberlain, Gervinho, Ryo)

    But Walcott has come good and now combines pace with precision and control. He was very dangerous in concert with AA going through the middle but that’s with the luxury of space afforded by Reading.

    Still, I don’t see the sense with him continued in isolation on the periphery at the moment.

    As mentioned, along with AA, he is an asset underutilized by us at the moment. I say use him to the max at least till Jan.

    he certainly will help us out wide (as oppose to Ramsey) and cutting in, particularly with this weekend’s match against United in mind (and with sagna supporting) It would at very least help the deficiencies we are experiencing on the LW at the moment with Santos.

    As far as the contract situation goes, this excellent form of his will only entrench his side’s position further. We will either have to fork out or move on. I don’t think a compromise at this stage looks likely and as we continue to approach the mythical DDay, it will likely be further and further away.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1matthew

    i bought his jersey two years back. enough said. keep this guy eh? on another note-AFC just announced the indonesia tour. Will they ever come across the pond to the US I wonder?? hmmm

  13. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

    Tim wrote a great post some years back about how Arsenal fans are some of the weirdest fans in world sports, fixated not solely on sport but simultaneously on accounting, media conspiracy and bias, filled with mistrust and cynicism. i wish i had the link but can’t find the story (a testament to his prolificness). That we are even arguing about keeping a gem like Theo, who is an asset to any team in world football, of whom Messi said Barcelona were especially cautious of every time we played them, who is our current top scorer, as well as, for God’s sake, a professional and non-controversial well-mannered young Englishman, is sheer nuts. What the hell is wrong with this club and a portion of its supporters who are constantly finding the odd weakness in our players’ game-skills when it becomes obvious that our romney-vampiric board is out to short change an employee, underpay them and then try and emotionally blackmail them into accepting a lesser contract? There is nothing, no sense at all, in the idea of selling Theo Walcott. To do so would weaken the team today, and for the next 4 years. there is no reason whatsoever, except the glaringly obvious: the ownership (whoever that is…) wants the money. and a portion of arsenal supporters have stockholm syndrome. minus 1 this if the first thought reading it was: “but his first touch is useless!” or “he’s constantly running into blind alleys.”

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1shrek2be

      I agree with your point that TW is an asset and shouldn’t be let go . But we underpaid Walcott? We were paying him £60k/week when he was not being so productive . He has improved since the last one and a half years. If Walcott demands market rates and we cave in , whats to stop other players in the team from demanding it ? Cazorla would be earning around £130-150K /week if we paid him market rates . Our wage structure does need correction but we can’t change it overnight .
      Credit to TW that he has been professional and not thrown a strop . I would also say he is being advised very well to say the right things in public.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

        I remember an opening goal in a league cup final, a brace in a crucial match against birmingham, a tie-saving goal against barcelona to set up our comeback, an incredible surging run through the middle to set up adebayor in a cl quarterfinal, none of those happened within the past 1.5 years. Walcott has always been around, and 60/k a week is, in this perverse world in which Arsenal used to compete, a bit of a bargain for such a talent. whatever we’re offering him now, on the basis of his breakout with RvP last season on top of his previous contributions, is derisory. insulting and disrespectful. if we won’t pay market rate, then you’re conceding that we do not deserve to keep a player of his caliber, and if we try and short change Ox whenever he’s in the final year, or even Jack, we won’t. we eat at the top table, we are still borderline elite, and we’re throwing it away by thinking the same rules that dictate player movement do not apply to us. of course we can’t compete with City or Chelsea here, but we’re talking about losing out to Liverpool in this case, as well as a rumored war chest that, however large it may be, is certainly enough to pay the contract of our English striker. embarrassing.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1shrek2be

    Yes he has had some great moments , no doubt about that . He has also been very inconsistent in those earlier years . So at that stage we had paid him a lot more than what other clubs would have . Walcott isn’t world class (yet) but he is reportedly demanding world class wages ( in Arsenal terms at least ) . Who says we’ll end up losing Jack or the Ox by the time their contracts come up for renewal? By that time there’s a good chance we’ll have more money to use . Market rates at least in terms of wages paid to English players is over the top.

    On one hand we want to correct our wage structure and on the other we want to make a player who has done well only over the last season and a half . We were willing to make RVP our best paid player because he had developed into a world class player. Walcott is not close to that for now.
    I do think we can go a bit higher than the £75K/week that we have reportedly offered though.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

      We did pay him more than other clubs would have, as we did and still do with young prospects like torral and bellerin. when they become older and experienced, it is then that we start to underpay them relative to “market rate” as you call it. i call it “true value our competitors are willing to pay.” i’m sure Peter Hill-Wood believes there is an intangible honor in being the top earner at Arsenal FC, even if it amounts to the lucky holder of this title being paid millions of pounds less than he could earn elsewhere. I’ll tell you who doesn’t believe this: players or their agents. We apparently have a boat load of cash, and God knows we’re not signing AAA players anytime soon, so we should stop whining about the cost of things (there is only one) and pay the man the money he is worth, evinced by the bloody fact that he is going to get it elsewhere if not from us.

      1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1shrek2be

        “True value” our competitors are willing to pay ? Our competitors are willing to pay crazy salaries to any player they poach from us. Nasri and Adebayor are being reportedly paid around £140k – £170k from their original salaries of £60k-80K. Does that mean we should start matching them now ? We have never had any hesitation in rewarding a guy like Cesc who was truly world class with a salary of over £100k/week.
        Players and their agents will believe a bunch of things about what they are entitled to . It doesn’t mean we should start catering to every demand.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

        We can’t compete. i agree. we are now a fringe club, and good on you for embracing this. when we win a league cup or an FA cup in the next 5 years, our top earner will have deserved it. Probably Jenkinson by then.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1shrek2be

        A fringe club? When have I ever accepted that ? We will never be able to compete with City and Chelsea’s spending . Quoting a great guy from twitter Ricky G ” Its easy to say ‘spend money, win trophies’ harder in reality. If we spend more, Man City spend more & it becomes a whose dick is bigger party.”
        I do think we can be a bit less conservative with our spending though and start being a bit more braver . And Wenger will get tired of the board and abandon Arsenal? Clearly you don’t know anything about Wenger. He has said openly that he will never break a contract .

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1Cocqueface

    Well done again,Tim. You’ve had a good run of form yourself recently. Beyond your usual high quality.

  16. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    Good post, Tim, and as someone else mentioned, admitting that you’ve changed your mind is a credit to you.

    I’m still not entirely convinced by Theo, but still think it’d be a real shame to lose him. Especially if another manager works out a way to unlock his potential, by developing a style of play that gets the most out of him.

    I think Arsene needs to tinker with his system a bit so that the two wide strikers, Theo and Poldi, can get more shots at goal. They are our two best finishers, yet don’t really get enough chances to shoot. Now that we have two great creative players in midfield (Wilshere and Cazorla) and a target man who can create chances for those around him (Giroud), there should be a way to make it work.

    Perhaps we do need to re-introduce that counter-attacking element to our game… at least have a better balance between that and our possession-controlling game. Giroud aside, we have some good personnel for the counter-attack. I think the answer might lie in a creative use of formation, such as in the era where we were dominant. Ostensibly we played a 4-4-2, yet our most central attacker (Bergkamp) was rarely our furthest advanced.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

      The problem with Walcott is not really walcott. Arsene has his system, wrong or right, and forces his players to adapt rather than tailor his system to suit the best talents of players at hand.

      They are arguments both for and against this style of coaching but it is what it is. That’s why players like Arshavin and Walcott will never truly showcase their talent at Arsenal under Arsene.

      A coach who can utilize his assets of speed and clinical finishing without presenting him with massive defensive duties may well find a 25-30 goal scoring machine on his hands. Arsenal probably wont.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

        Arsenal has changed his system before – that of the Invicibles era was very different to the Fabregas era. It’s about time for some rethinks, methinks.

        With the players we have at the moment, it’s our best bet. Our key centre-back, Mertesacker, is not fast enough to play the high line that comes with a Barcelona-style pressing-and-possession game. Our two best finishers play on the wings and do best in an open game.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

        Got to disagree with this mate…

        Arsene always makes the system which brings out the best from most of the people he has…Obviously everyone does not get their best out.. But see some one like Song, Toure etc….I dont think Toure started as a great centreback…nor one could percieve Song as a such a versatile midfielder good enough to play for Barca. May be Arsene nurtured them into it..same is happening with Walcott..He with his earlier limitations and talent was a lot fit for wing play where he developed his reputation. Imagine how much he would have got bullied had he came across the Huths, ShawX, Dunnes of PL is he started as centre forward..when even the left backs where giving him a torrid time…Arsene nurtured him in such a way, that now he is confident enough to be a centre forward..

        Just look at the c*nt Nasri…Arsene managed to get the best out of him and how he is only worse at City. And this is a player who aspires to be in Ballon’dor list. Or even Flamini…cannot say his best years were in systems outside of where Arsene built..Same is the case with Nick Bendtner…who is so great a striker that he outgrew Arsene’s system..

  17. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1AussieGooner

    I hope he signs, I also changed my mind over the last few months. Theo Walcott is very good in some parts of the game. However you have to consider the whole Theo Walcott.

    The amount of goals he costs us due to bad decision making when the team is in a goal scoring position. (I do concede these have started decreasing)

    The amount of games that seem to just ‘ghost by him’. Where he is worryingly anonymous.

    The amount of times when you knew what he was going to do before he even received the ball, out wide. ie receive the ball, look up at the packed defence and then pass the ball straight back.

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

    Well, I agree that for a variety of reasons, Theo has earned a shot at starting as well as maybe even a new contract on his terms. He’s demonstrated reasonably composed finishing which is something we’ve lacked this season. Plus, by all accounts he’s maintained a professional attitude, continued to work hard, and most importantly, played well when given the opportunity. How often have other players thrown their toys out of the pram when faced with similar situation?

    Theo’s strength is certainly on the counter attack where he’s able to exploit his pace. But, even against teams which sit back, there will be opportunities to counter. If you think about, every time there’s a change in possession, there’s a decision to be made–break quickly to try to catch the opposition out or keep possession and consolidate your position. Opposing teams usually have an easy decision to make because they’ve already decided that they’re not going match us in possession and so they’re always looking to counter quickly. We, on the other hand, seem to rarely look to break. Which is why having a player with pace and who can finish is important. When we do break, we absolutely need a player who can put away those chances because, especially against better teams, good chances often come on the break and they don’t come too often.

    Personally, I wish that we would look to break more often. One of the best ways to beat a deep, compact defense is attack before the opposing team can get numbers back and organized.

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    Theo can be the “franchise” player a la NFL for Arsenal. Wilshere is already the unofficial franchise player

  20. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    Sorry to Link to the guardian… But I think this is an Article that should be read to understand how much staying under Arsene’s tutelage has helped Theo…become the person he is now..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/mar/07/newsstory.arsenal

    One of those times when someone who Arsene couldnt get best out of…David Beckham Mark II aka David Bentley advised Theo after making his first start for the English Lions…

    I bet any of us can out of the hat know for which team David Bentley is plying his trade and this is a player who age wise should be playing the best football of his life…

  21. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Black Hei

    Theo is great, but let’s remind ourselves of his weaknesses. He has zero hold up ability. Yup everyone else on the Arsenal team barring Jenkinson holds up the ball better. Which is why pundits say he is useless when the defence is tight. Theo needs to recieve the ball at pace and while running into space. He can’t recieve the ball when tightly marked or if you shut down the space in front of him, or just close down the midfield quickly. If Arsenal’s midfield get closed down, Theo does not have the technical ability to track back, recieve the ball and give the midfield some space. I think Walcott is better off playing in the middle as a false 9 like Gervinho through the middle. Play deep so that you can run up to recieve the ball and force the opposing backline to play higher up (or seat behind and concede possession between their midfield and defence)

  22. Vote -1 Vote +1Greg

    Agree with the post. Theo’s treatment by pundits, the media and a big section of the gooner faithful is pretty damning evidence of how upfucked a lot of the noise surrounding the game is. He doesn’t have the sublime skill of Henry, Bergkamp or van Persie but that’s not his style anyway. He offers different qualities and he’s getting very effective and – just as important – increasingly consistent.

    One other point about whether he stays or goes: if he goes it leaves a big hole in the vision for the club. Theo, Wilshere, Ox, Ramsey, Jenkinson and Gibbs are the players who should be staying with Arsenal for the rest of their careers, as long as they are good enough. A core of dedicated, happy and loyal players is very important if we want to be sustainable, and is something Wenger has been trying to build for a looong time.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

      Arsenal are not willing to pay for a player who is their top scorer, nor are they willing to pay for a player who has the most assists. furthermore, they’re eager to sell their third-top assist maker and second-leading scorer from last year, as well as their top scorer and assist maker.we’re being conned. and we deserve what we get, it’s not like it wasn’t obvious. when Wenger leaves us for PSG, we will be in the hands of Kroenke and Gazidis, alone. Arsenal is going to have a long rivalry with Everton soon. watch Usmanov buy Fulham and make them relevant again while Arsenal is mercilessly asset-stripped by the owner of the RAMS and the Nuggets. our fanbase deserves this misery, because it was stupid. we can’t do anything about this now. look up travel options for far eastern europe, gooners, because we are now a spectator at the feast. And you won’t have Wenger much longer. he is sick of this middling shit, and will go for Paris soon, rather than be exploited by the dinosaurs who run this club which exists to train players for City, Barça, and now United,

  23. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Gunman

    I partly agree with Jaymin that Theo is a huge asset yes and could be a great player for Us and we obviously want to sign him up as soon as possible. But I think only looking at his few moments of magic is like looking at a youtube compilation of his best tricks/goals/assists , it never gives a true picture even Bendtner Adebayor etc would look great there . By saying i dont mean to say hes not good , in fact he is very very good but hes not Irreplaceable by any means. Now, its obvious we want to sign him up but there are 2 issues ..

    1. Wages . Obviously if giving him 100k per week means he stays objectively ill want to keep him . But then u ll have to pay Cazorla Arteta Verm etc. atleast the same amount as well which increases our Wages manifold.

    2. Playing Upfront. Firstly It has to be said Theo has behaved very professionally given the situation and has been giving his best inspite of not starting games which makes me believe him when he says that its not about the money but about him wanting to play upfront. Now the thing is Tim has mentioned so many of his goals /contributions so has jaymin and they have all come from him playing on the right . I think Wenger is using him in perfect way – ie he drifts in from the right AND BECOMES A STRIKER vs teams playing high line or when the game opens up ( vs chelsea ,spurs , udinise or vs west ham when game opened up etc etc ), and he uses his pace on the right vs packed defenses to make space for himself and cross the ball. Only other way he can play upfront is we play 4-4-2 but I dont think it ll be right to change the system for an individual . Although I do think if he moves on , hell be deadly for any other team as hell get more space to exploit as teams wont be parking the bus against them as they do vs Arsenal.

    So I dont see him playing upfront unless we play 4-4-2 which clearly wont happen. I think Wenger needs to make him understand hes playing upfront already except he needs to drift to the right against packed defenses where he can use his biggest gift ‘pace’ effectively.

    Having said all that I have resigned myself into believing that he wont sign , but i really really hope he does coz hes a very good player and a model professional.

  24. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    What nonsense! Thierry Henry? Everyone knows Nicklas Bendtner is the greatest footballer who ever was or ever will be.

  25. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    There have been some great moments for Walcott. No doubt. But there have been many, many moments where he has made no impression at all against packed in defenses. I watched most of the highlights, and most of them were against teams that were caught out. There was very little where he beat more than one player off the dribble. Whether they packed it in for most of the game or not, Theo’s impact came when they were caught out, which does happen even against packed in teams, but he has to be efficient (Wengerism!) to take advantage of those moments in order to balance the fact that most of the game he isn’t going to be the guy who is unlocking the defence with his passing game. This season he has been truly effective because he has been efficient. Last season he had some great moments, and some days when his limitations were exposed by teams that made an effort to restrict the space around him. He got a lot of assists because he was coupled with RVP, the efficiency master and grade A douchebag, but he didn’t have a great deal of key passes. Theo creates great moments, but not lots of good moments, so it’s key that a high percentage of those moments turn into goals.

    If he can keep finishing the way he has been, he’ll be worth the money. If this is a hot streak fueled by him being fresher than his opposition because of his role as a super-sub… there will be plenty of whining about one more over-paid, under-achiever who we shouldn’t have paid so much.

    I like Theo, I will be truly sad if he goes. I think he has the potential to be excellent and I’ve always loved his attitude. He has shown both his potential and his professionalism for years. He has also been inconsistent, mainly due to teams shutting down his space and doubling or sometimes tripling him,and fouling him before he can get moving. His passing has never been good enough to have an impact when he is closed down that way… and yeah, I know, who is good enough to have an impact when they get that treatment. Well, basically the other guys Arsenal have paid 100k or more for have been. If Arsenal are going to expand their wage structure, make 100k the high tier for multiple good players, then it make sense to pay Theo somewhere around that. If they keep it where it has been, where 100k is for the key couple players like RVP, Fabregas, or Henry, Theo isn’t that guy yet, and may never be. It would be a big risk to pay him that kind of money if that’s the kind of budget they’re facing.

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