Tag Archives: Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott’s time at Arsenal set to end

I know I am in the minority, but for years I have been a fan of Theo Walcott.

Injuries aside, he is one of the most underrated players, not only at Arsenal, but in the Premier League.

His issue is that he is not a pretty player. There are no step overs, he does not make the highlights reel, he is a very basic player who relies on pace and finishing.

Over the years, I have seen people rate the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andros Townsend and Yannick Bolasie above Theo Walcott. These players are a lot better on the eye then Walcott, and someone like Bolasie shows more tricks in a single game than Walcott does in an entire season.

But then a trick, a bit of skill, is only worthwhile if it leads to a goal – whether it be a goal for the individual, or contributes to a team mate at the end. A bit of skill that leads to nothing is pointless. It is showing off. It is something for the highlight reel.

Take Bolasie. He shows incredible skill, step-overs, fakes, dummies, yet he has just 10 Premier League goals to his name in 103 appearances. That is less than 1 goal in 10 games. What is the point of having that much ability if it leads to nothing?

Sadly, in the Banter Boys era of football, where fans get excited over a GIF of a player nut mugging an opponent, someone like Bolasie becomes vastly overatted, to the point sides are willing to spend £30million+ on a player who does not score, does not create, yet looks good on YouTube.

Theo Walcott, meanwhile, is not a player for YouTube, not a player for FIFA. He is much derided, called useless by many, and is currently struggling to make the England squad.

Walcott averaged 1 goal in 4 in the league, 1 in 3.5 in all competitions. These are statistics that very few wingers in the Premier League have battered in the last 10 years. Walcott has a better goals to games ratio than Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg.

Last year, Walcott scored 19 goals in 37 games. That was more than the likes of Raheem sterling, Marcus Rashford, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck and Jesse Lingard. Yet these players are often put above Walcott as being better, being more influential.

Saying that, I feel Walcott’s time at Arsenal is quickly running out. His issue is not his own talent, he is still a clinical finisher, although his pace has dropped a little, but where he fits in within the current formation.

With Arsenal playing 1 up top, and a narrow two behind him, Walcott does not have the attributes to play in any of the current 3 attacking positions.

Despite early protests that he was a striker, Theo Walcott is not an out and out striker. Whilst he can be dangerous through the middle, he does not have the hold up play to be up top on his own.

The current holders of the two behind a single striker are Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Walcott is no where near as good as these players. And in that position, he is also behind the likes of Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.

Walcott does not have the technique, close control or passing ability to perform in the tight areas that Ozil and Sanchez thrive in.

He is at his best with a bit of space to run in to, off the shoulder of the last man. That means playing out wide, drifting in the space between the opponent full back and centre back. The current 3421 that Arsenal are playing does not allow for a player to site out wide, off the shoulder of the last man.

Against Norwich, playing behind Olivier Giroud, Walcott was awful. He only looked a threat when he drifted outside and found some space – leading to a few marginal offside calls.

But in the 3421 formation, you can not afford one of the 2 behind the striker to want to spend 90% of his time advanced, on the last line. You need them to get involved in the build up play. To drop deep and create. This is not using Walcott to the best of his ability.

A bit like shoehorning midfielders into the wrong position, playing Walcott in the position he did against Norwich felt like a case of having to give Walcott game time rather than playing your best available players in their best position. The likes of Joe Willock or Reiss Nelson would have done a much better job in behind Giroud. Or push Jack Wilshere alongside Alex Iwobi in that position.

Playing behind a striker is just no Walcott’s game – I remember England tried this once to disastrous consequences.

None of this means Walcott is a bad player. 19 goals last seasons shows he is a good player. All this shows it Walcott is struggling to find a place in the current team, and if 3421 is going to be a long term formation, then Walcott becomes surplus to requirements – in the first team at least.

Where Walcott will still be important is he is still our best right winger. Better than Welbeck, Iwobi, Nelson and more. If we are chasing a game, and are looking to change formation from 3421 to 433, Walcott is the option to bring on at the right hand side of the front 3.

No matter what you might think of him, Walcott is more likely to get a goal than Welbeck or Iwobi. So Walcott still has a job to play within the squad.

The problem then comes to when we play the B team in the Europa League and League Cup.

Do you play Walcott out of position, to the detriment if the team, giving him game time so that he remains sharp and ready to perform when called upon for the A team. Or do you give the B team the best chance of winning the League Cup (or Europa League) and drop Walcott completely and just hope that he does not rust up due to lack of game time?

What is for sure is I would be very surprised if Walcott is at Arsenal for another longer than another 18 months. He has just become surplus.

Keenos

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Arsenal International’s and Congratulations Ivan

Well that was another dull international break wasn’t it?

With Theo Walcott mysteriously left out of the England squad once again by Gareth Southgate for inferior players, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now at Liverpool, and Jack Wilshere not selected due to lack of games over the last 6 months, there was nothing of real interest in either England game. And the game itself were as boring as anything.

Oxlade-Chamberlain proved what most people with half a brain have been saying for years. That he has the ability to beat people for fun, but does not contribute much else.

3 occasions against Slovenia (or was it Slovakia? Or Serbia? All these Eastern Bloc countries are the same to me) he showed the world what he was about.

In the first half he brilliantly won the ball, shrugged off his opponent and drove forward, only to pass the ball 5 yards directly to an opponent.

A minute later he brilliantly beat a couple of men, before curling a ball high and wide. You can not even say it went over the bar, as it didn’t. It was an atrocious shot. Finally at one point he found himself in plenty of space on the left, cut back in on his right foot to put a cross in. Goal kick. It’s the story of his life.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is average, and proved for England what Arsenal fans have seen for years. ZERO end product. Arsenal did brilliant to fleece Liverpool for £40m, the annoyance is he was not replaced. Although if we return to 4 at the back, he is essentially 5th choice RB (Bellerin, Debuchy, Chambers, Mustafi, Ox) and 5th choice winger (Sanchez, Walcott, Welbeck, Iwobi).

I had to laugh at the Boring James Milner twitter account mocking Oxlade-Chamberlain throughout:

This after the deadline day tweet:

If you find yourself playing Malta, and end up on the right wing with Jake Livermore in central midfield, then the next game find yourself being shunted to the left wing for the next game, maybe you are simply not as good as you think you are?

Thanks for the memories Ox. Although I can not think of any at this moment in time.

There were goals for Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey against Malta and Moldova respectively.

Arsenal players stepping up and scoring against minnows. I am going to stick a tenner on us to win the FA Cup and Europa League this year.

On the Europa League, Cologne is all booked. Gonna be a top trip. 11 of us going out there. Staying at the Ibis near the station. Should be a good drink up.

Mesut Ozil also put in his top performance for Germany.

Personally I do not care how many goals and assists he has for Germany, I care that he performs for Arsenal.

A load of fan boys came out saying look at how good Mesut is. If only he played with top players at Arsenal. You might be right, but also remember he is a top player at Arsenal. A top player who too often lets his team mates down.

Thinking about Germany, Joachim Lowe is set to leave after the World Cup. Will we let another top manager find a job elsewhere?

With regards to other players playing across the globe for their country, I do not really care how they performed, nor have I taken any notice.

I look forward to Saturday. A day of redemption.

finally congratulations Ivan on the new job…

Keenos

How is Theo Walcott not in the England squad?

England play tonight and I for one am baffled as to why Theo Walcott does not get into the squad.

Now before you all jump on the comments and say “he is sh*t”, put your dummy back in and be sensible.

Yes, he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, he might not be the most naturally gifted when it comes to dribbling or vision, but he gets goals and assists, something which a lot of the current squad struggle with.

Look at stats from last season:

It baffles me that England think they are so good that they have left at home a player who outscored all but 2 of the current squad last season, with the second best games to goals ratio.

Keenos