Bale better than Messi? He’s not even better than Walcott

Arsene Wenger did his usual pre-match press conference and spoke to the collected media ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup match against Blackburn. Naturally, the Arsenal manager fielded a plethora of off-topic questions including the most ridiculous question of the day, “Lionel Messi… better than Bale?”

Perhaps it’s natural for the English press to get excited about a Welsh player who has scored all six of his team’s goals in their last four matches but what isn’t natural is how excited they get. I’m paraphrasing with my quotation above, but the reality is that at an Arsenal press conference Arsene Wenger was asked if Gareth Bale should be ranked in the same group as the world’s best players; Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo.

Not to put too fine a point on it but Gareth Bale is a decent goal scorer and has 13 goals in 23 League appearances for Tottenham. Mr. Ronaldo is also a decent goal scorer and his tally is 24 goals in 23 league games for Real Madrid. And of course, Lionel Messi is not a million miles off Bale’s pace with his paltry 35 goals in 23 league games.

But that’s just the respective league games. Bale had chipped in a whopping 4 more goals in all appearances for Tottenham bringing his total goals haul to 17 in 31 apps. Which is slightly less than half the 39 goals Ronaldo has in 39 appearances and is almost 30 less than the 46 goals in 33 appearances that Lionel Messi has amassed this season.

Then there’s Ibrahimovich and his 21 goals, Falcao has 19 league goals, you know… in fact, in terms of just league goals scored there are 13 players above Gareth Bale, just in the top 5 leagues in Europe.

So, let’s see here… Is Gareth Bale in the top three for all players in the world? I’m going with… no.

Naturally, Arsene Wenger put it more eloquently than I do:

He has the potential to develop and to get close to the players you compare him to, but Ronaldo and Messi? Messi has won two or three Champions League titles. He has won a few championships. He scored more than 90 goals last year. Let’s not go too quick [in comparing Bale to Messi]. You are always very quick here, but let’s slow down a bit.

Part of the reason why Bale’s name came up today is because Arsene apparently passed up the chance to sign Gareth Bale at the same time that he took Arsenal’s star forward Theo Walcott. Both players came from the Southampton academy and both were on Arsene’s radar. Ultimately, he just chose Theo Walcott which naturally leads the press to speculate over whether Arsene made the right choice.

Wenger stood his ground on taking Walcott over Bale. Defending the Englishman, who made his 250th Arsenal appearance last week, by stating that Walcott has improved significantly over the last year.

It’s unbelievable. I believe what this season shows is the remarkable evolution of Theo Walcott. He’s a complete player today and his transformation is absolutely sensational. He improves every week and it shows that he is remarkably intelligent as well, because he understands things quickly, takes them on board and is open-minded. That’s why I believe he is always improving.

And looking at Theo Walcott’s numbers you can see what Wenger is talking about.


Despite fewer starts than last season Walcott has seen an uptick in nearly every category representing a four year high in his developmental arc. The numbers above are all just his League numbers and Gareth Bale is compared on the far left. This season Walcott has 11 goals (a career high), 8 assists (a career high), 5.27 shots per goal (a career best), 1.7 dribbles per game (a career best), career lows in being dispossessed and in turnovers (which you all know I love!), and despite losing Arsenal’s best goal scorer (and Walcott’s number one target for assists from the last three years) now has a career best in key passes per assist meaning that Walcott’s key passes are not just finding players who are in shooting position but finding players who are in turn scoring goals.

But it’s true that Gareth Bale is better than Theo Walcott in a few categories. Notably, he has 13 goals in the League. But did you know that Theo Walcott actually has 18 goals in all competitions for Arsenal and that Gareth Bale only has the 17? Not only that but Walcott has the edge in assists as well with 11 to Bale’s 6.

But Walcott does fall short of Bale in a few categories: Walcott takes fewer shots than Bale, demands less of the ball, turns the ball over less, and Bale also edges Walcott in yellow cards for diving.

Maybe the press asked the wrong question. It’s not whether Gareth Bale is good enough to be in the rarefied air of footballing gods like Messi and Ronaldo, but whether he’s even as good as Theo Walcott?



161 thoughts on “Bale better than Messi? He’s not even better than Walcott

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Chris Brunt

    A couple of years ago I had more assists than Xavi

    So to stats obsessed Gooners this makes me a better player

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Jim

    I have to say, as a Spur, Bale may never be as good as messi, I love messi, especially as he ran away wobbling his head after scoring yet another one when he stuffed you on his own. And when Bale scored against you and made it 4-2 you could hear a pin drop at the Emirates, and looking at your faces and their worried expressions was a picture. I’ll bet you lot are more worried about march 3rd than we are.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    “You are a bunch of green eyed Yankee cunts an know fuck all about football.u have been mid table all year you wank stains.”

    “Just like when the rapist rvp scores every time bale scores a little part of you die”


    It’s difficult to imagine a more emphatic announcement of imbecility.

    What an abject failure you are. I’m so very sorry.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    Just so that you know, the auto generated gravatar next to each comment is unique to each user’s IP. so, you can put 8 different names and pretend that you’re 8 different people, but EVERYONE can see that you’re the same sad guy.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1joey

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! WHAT A JOKE OF AN ARTICLE! I think arsenal fans know deep down that bale is better…after all theo was in the last year of his contract and no one was really interested, whereas every team in europe seems to want bale. Stats can be misleading. Walcott scores and assists in these 6-1 romps of reading and southampton and newcastle. We all know bales better. Please deal with it and move on….cheers lads.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1My Heart Is White

    It’s so fantastic it makes me cry with laughter. There may have been articles written that I hadn’t seen, but I don’t remember articles about Walcott not being as good as Messi or Ronaldive. Us Spurs fans couldn’t give a fuck about your squad, your players or your manager. We’re just enjoying watching you slide down past us as we rise up past you. This is a statement, therefore any clever or idiotic comments back at my statement are pointless. I’m neither bothered nor interested in what you have to say.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Joe

      Ronaldive have you seen bale play we have heard all this before remember last year and the silly 5pu2s fans and the the mind the gap talk. Just because you make a statement does not mean it’s true you could also make a statement that you can fly this would not be true.
      Try jumping off a tall building to find out it’s not true. Also your bothered enough to come on to an Arsenal to Spout your dribble.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1My Heart Is White

        These are exactly the sort of half wit comments that I expect from you, this is why I’m not bothered by your comments. Not interested in all your mind the gap bull, never took part in all that, I just enjoy good football. I was referring to how much you lot keep going on about our players, like you secretly want to be Spurs fans, but wait it’s too late now to change you’ll have to stick with what you’ve got, never mind, there there there. I just think that most of you keep referring to the past desperately hoping that you’ll keep finishing ahead of us each season, but really deep down you all know it’s coming this season, the next who cares. You’re getting weaker while we keep strengthening, you know. Perhaps if I don’t look it won’t happen, good luck with that.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1My Heart Is White

        Perhaps I should have been more in keeping with your comments, like….. run into my fist to see how stupid you are. Like I already stated, I’m not bothered, more amused at your fascination of our club, players, manager etc. I bet you’ve got a Spurs kit in your closet, that you put on when no-ones around!

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        “Like I already stated, I’m not bothered, more amused at your fascination of our club”


        He says as he continues to post on an Arsenal blog, offering a nice example of just how stupid he is.

        Very amusing!

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        The cognitive dissonance is strong with them. I especially like the part where they call us obsessed with their club.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1rob

    As the saying goes there are lies; there are damned lies, and then there are statistics, even if they do show that in the same amount of appearances Bale has scored more goals and made twice as many chances; an assist could come off of the player’s arse without his even knowing after all. More minutes? Then either Walcott was playing poorly or Wenger is clueless.

    Walcott has had a really good season this year. The fact is though that everyone is talking about Bale, who is a shoe in for both player of the year awards at the moment. It’s kinda sad that Arsenal fans feel the need to write articles like this about the opposition rather than discussing their own team. I haven’t read a Spurs article all about an Arsenal player ever.

    Yes the tide is gradually turning in our favour and you can see it as well as Spurs fans can, but it is not necessary to advertise how much it is eating you up inside with articles like this one. It’s kind of embarrassing from an Arsenal fans point of view, I would have thought. If we were behind Arsenal and I read an article like this trying to belittle Arsenal’s best player using arguable statistics and reeking of sour grapes I know I would be embarrassed and would call the author a bell end.

    As for Bale being as good as Messi, of course he isn’t. Don’t be so bloody stupid; why is Wenger even bothering to address the subject? Likewise though I don’t expect to see AVB talking down any Arsenal players any time soon. All just rather sad.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Have someone read the article to you and then have them explain the arguments. Then come back and read your comment. Or just continue living in your fantasy world.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    The best part is that TalkSport is probably shitting themselves on how they are going to spin those results. I love when life imitates art.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    Walcott is better than Bale…in terms of overall game play..and it always has been so…
    walcotts inability is in imposing himself in the game.. Even in games where Walcott scores a hattrick, he never have taken the game by the scruff of its neck and made it his…

    Bale on the other hand lies dormant or runs like a headless chicken for most games…and in one of those games he scores in a seemingly great goal…gets the media call him welsh messi and cream all over… He is rarely involved in the overall game play… but gets in those wonder goals once in a while which makes people believe he has changed the game..

    Walcott’s inconsistency has got to do with his physical development..which has been more than challenged by being thrown into the mix at an early age…

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1Pat


    Love your work here and the glorious stats you provide on Arseblog. It’s too bad that not alot of real discussion on the comparison between Bale and Walcott is taking place in the comments. I do find it funny that so many Spurs fans are coming to an Arsenal blog to bash your typical solid work and have a pop at Theo and all things Red. Tis the internet I guess, but I appreciate that you took on this “BALE IS AMAZING” narrative and deconstructed it. Keep up the good work!

    Fellow American Gooner

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Ole Gunner

    Would I swap Bale for Walcott? Honestly I won’t. Walcott does more for the team. The blogger here made the mistake of comparing only this season. In fact, virtually every season Theo gets more goals and assists. That is what we have wide men for. To score and to assist.

    It’s amazing that so many only judge players by their hype. Walcott has been quite sensational this season sometimes. See his performance against Newcastle for example.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikita Mokhov

    It’s funny how spurs fans always say how Bale imposes himself and can lead a team and is the stand out player and all that dribble. It’s funny then to think that despite him being more imposing and involved that he is being beaten by Walcott how can be invisible for a whole match yet score and a goal. It’s like saying van Persia is always involved in the build up lay but never actually scores

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Chris N

    I like Bale. He’s a great player with Rooney-like self belief, but it’s silly comparing him to Messi. Perhaps Ronaldo is a better comparison, but even then, until he becomes a consistent 20-30 goals a season player it’s an ambitious comparison. He’s very comparable to Theo, I guess, but you have to ask would he have been able to put the wind up Barcelona like Theo did? Maybe , but the brutal truth is he hasn’t. Spurs have not been playing the top European clubs every season since he was a teenager and he’s not had the chance. We will never know.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1Commonsense

    Bale is playing on a level far above that than Walcott has yet to achieve. The only point that can be made in Walcott’s favour is that he has been more consistent.
    Even Wenger has stated that Bale has the potential to be as good as Ronaldo or Messi, but not at the moment.;
    The comparison with the above two players are from the rabid press in this country not from the Tottenham supporters, why are you so determined to knock a player who is at the moment just about the best in his position in the prem.
    Latest news: Bayern Munich are proposing a £50m bid for who oh it’s Bale. Press again but then Bale and his performances are regularly in the papers in every country with a major league in Europe, Walcott and Wilshire are not.
    Try looking at the player for he does and not who he plays for you buffoon.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Commonsense

        The fallacy of Tim seems to be the fact that common-sense is not so common and it has by-passed Tim.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Commonsense

        Pointing out the fallacy, or your character flaws, made in this article seems to be quite pertinent in this case, a you seem to be aggravated by the fact and it is fact that Bale is at the moment considered by many managers, players and commentators in the game to be the best player in the league.,
        Good players are a joy to watch no matter what team they play for, the fact that Henry played for Arsenal did not hide to me the quality of the player’s game, nor that of many other players for teams other than Spurs.
        Enjoy his qualities for what they are because at the moment they are the best on show.
        They may not be in our league for long, and I am sure that will be welcome as far as you are concerned, even though it will be a loss to football lovers.
        Pointing out the one-eyed approach displayed by you in this article is fully understandable.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    Congratulations on winding up the neanderthals down the road, Tim.

    We all know Bale is a quite good player, as is Walcott. Frankly, neither is world class, and Walcott has done quite well this season, a big improvement on the last. Who’s a better player? The numbers say Walcott. The media says Bale. Frankly, I’m happy for Bale to get all the hype, and for Walcott to quietly improve. I suspect that Bale won’t be around that dump for long (whereas Walcott has just signed a nice new contract with us). Spurs fans had better be wary when defending their man to the hilt – he probably won’t be banging them in for them much longer. It’s okay, they’ll replace him with an inferior version, as they did with Modric (Holtby) and Van der Vaart (Sigurdsson and Dempsey*).

    And before the RVP argument comes up, we replaced him with 3 players who’ve all contributed quite nicely – their total goals+assists figure is more than that of RVP and Song of last year.

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