Theo Starts, Theo Scores, Theo Signs!

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Sep 25th, 2012
54 Comments

The most protracted contract negotiation ever has finally been sorted and I’m not talking about Theo. I’m now 11 days into married life and after being engaged for 6 years I’m sure pretty much everyone who knows me was shocked to see me sign the marriage contract.

It was a lovely day and I must admit that my wedding enforced twitter and blogging hiatus was refreshing but I’m glad to be “back” and hopefully with a fitting return piece for you to enjoy.

Theo seems to be the news at the moment and his recent comments about wanting to stay have split the camp as much as his contribution does.

For what it is worth I believe Theo when he says he wants to stay and that it’s not about money. When Theo signed in 2009 he and the boss announced that he was going to play more as a striker but that never happened and that is understandably frustrating for the lad. Some will say that he has no business deciding for himself what his best position is and should leave it to the boss but these are the same people who said that they’d prefer two midfielders at right back over Jenkinson so maybe it’s not the boss who decides what position players are best suited to?

I have seen many arguments against Theo, both coating his ability and influence as a winger and his ability to transform into a striker for Arsenal, most of them I believe are actually better arguments for trialling him as a striker.

Theo is often maligned for his inconsistency and this is used as an argument for him not having “proved” himself worthy of playing up front. I say that statistically he stands up against the best wingers in the league in terms of goals, assists and minutes per chance created. Theo can be criticised for his “poor” crossing and lack of crosses reaching team-mates but I would suggest that is more a failing of the team and the formation than Theo’s crossing. How often do we have more than one person in the box? Not very often and this means the person who is in there is easily overpowered by the opposition and attack ends and Theo gets the blame for it.

Just as likely to hit the target as these guys

Theo’s finishing is quoted as an area of improvement before he is giving a shot as a striker but his shots on target percentage stands up against the top strikers in the league.

Player
% Of Shots That Were On Target
Walcott44%
RVP44%
(48% if you only consider last 18 months)
Rooney44%
Aguero41%
Ba
42%
Adebayor
51%
Dempsey
38%
Yakubu53%

I’ve used that table before and whilst I appreciate it doesn’t tell the whole story I think it shows that Theo’s shooting boots aren’t too shabby. He doesn’t score buckets of goals like the others in the table but it must be noted that he is shooting from vastly different angles and that may suit goalkeepers and lead to more saves or it could be that he is shooting straight at the keeper. I can’t say either way for certain but I think he hits the target enough to completely dismiss the false notion that he can’t shoot well enough to play as a striker, in fact I think most of Theo’s best goals have come from him running onto balls in the “middle” area.

More likely to hit the target than the other three

Part of the frustration with Theo I often see and hear is his lack of consistency when running with the ball but I think that strengthens the Theo for striker argument. I believe it says that Theo is better running on to balls instead of with them and what position runs on to balls more than they run with them? You’ve got it :-)

Theo’s touch has been criticised but I can honestly say that I do not remember a time when he has been in a position like Gervinho was against City and had feet full of lead. Is that because he doesn’t have lead feet or just that he is rarely in the position Gervinho was in to show either way? Who knows but surely we should give him the chance to delight or devastate us before we say for certain either way?

In an Arsenal team with Cazorla, Diaby, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey and Wilshere, who all have the ability to play a quality through ball, a striker, yes a striker, like Theo Walcott would excel. Most fullbacks struggle to cope with Theo’s speed and when he is on it he is unplayable and fullbacks in the modern era don’t tend to be slouches so imagine how difficult centre-backs would find it against Theo’s pace. Theo is more than capable of the “Henry finish” but that and pace is where the comparisons should stop. For me Theo is more Thierry Owen as his strength would be running onto balls and tucking them away.

Theo-rry Owen

Theo has the shooting ability and the speed to be a real force for Arsenal and I believe that the question should be “Can Theo play as a lone striker?” not can he play as a striker. I think most of the fans are united in thinking that Theo would be excellent in a two man system and I think him and Giroud would be fantastic together but I am probably in the minority in thinking that Theo could cope with playing on his own if the supply was there which it should be in the team we have. I believe that now is our last chance to play Theo as a striker, he has about 2 years of “development” left and about 6 years of his pace left so now is the time for him to learn the art of striking so he like Henry and Owen can still be effective when his pace has gone and the Capital One Cup is a perfect place for him to prove his credentials. Most of our young players have used this competition to prove their worth to the first team and maybe this is Theo’s second chance to show us what he can do as a striker.

He’s done his time on the wing and were it not for us changing to a lone striker system I think Theo would have been playing as a striker in a 442/4132 a few years back. I also believe that Theo’s effectiveness, yes effectiveness, on the wing has held him back as a striker as his contribution was too great to let go of, especially when we’ve been having trouble getting into the top four.

I think Theo’s first team absence now has a lot to do with him changing positions or at least I hope it is.

In my opinion Theo is a striker and not playing him as a striker is to our own detriment. If playing him as a striker is what it takes to re-sign him then that is what we should do. We have lost many players over the years and it may shock a few of you to know that Theo is our third longest-serving player. If we consider a players service to Arsenal from the day they signed and/or from the minute they made their first team debut then Djourou is our longest-serving player having made his debut in October 2005 against Man City in the then Carling Cup. Diaby is our second longest-serving player having joined the week before Theo and if Bendtner returns from loan then he’ll be our second longest-serving player having made his debut in 2005 also in the League Cup.

Is he really our longest-serving player?

If we want to build successful teams we need players who are around for a long time and not be constantly rebuilding the team.

Our team is showing signs of being something special and I’m personally very pleased for Per and Carl for the plaudits they are getting. I have been unwavering in my support for them and suffered a lot of ridicule for that support and with the defence looking so solid and the midfield claiming the riches of options that they have now I think we can afford to give Theo a run up top starting with the match tomorrow night against Coventry.

I believe that Theo will sign if he gets a few games as a striker and I think that re-signing Theo is of the utmost importance.

I hope that Theo starts tomorrow night and if he does, with the right service, I believe he will score and that should really give the boss more belief to trial him in the league. He’s played Gervinho in the league with only 45 minutes of playing striker in preseason (I’ve checked the games and it was only against Man City he played striker and when Chamakh came on in the 2nd half he moved to the wing) so I see no reason why he can’t take the same risk with Theo and Theo, for me, is a lot more dangerous in front of goal than Gervinho will ever be.

He starts, he scores, he signs. Happy days.

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About "" - 217 Posts

South London Gooner born and bred now living in Bristol. Trainer enthusiast and aspiring author.

54 Responses to “Theo Starts, Theo Scores, Theo Signs!”

  1. Danny says:

    Congratulations on your marriage! I would agree with the article & would like to see him stay as a striker, but my comment is more of a question: given Giroud needs games, isn’t he more likely to start in the striker role? Perhaps Theo might be given more of a roaming role to come in from the wing. Had Giroud hit the ground (& the back of the net) running then Theo may well have played as the central striker.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I’m not sure Giroud would play in the COC for a few reasons. Firstly it would send the wrong message. He’s been brought to be our main striker and playing him in our “youth” cup doesn’t seem right. Secondly we have Chelsea on Saturday so Wenger may want him for that. Thirdly, if Giroud played against Coventry and didn’t score then it would heap pressure on him as they are lower league opposition. Last, I think Theo’s absence from the first team has been more to do with him being considered 4th choice striker than 3rd choice winger so expect him to play as a striker, either alone or possibly in a 2 man system with Chamakh which is something Wenger has hinted at recently.

    • Okolo Emmanuel says:

      My fear about theo being a striker is just that he losses the ball easily and i think that he cant hold the ball and wait for support.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      That’s not what his game would be about. He would be about latching on to chances not holding up play and brining in other players.

  2. Sav from Australia says:

    Nice post. I agree that Theo can play striker. He is a different sort of player from Gervinho or Giroud, and more options are always good to have. He seems like a nice boy, so I hope he stays and does well and helps the team to do well.

    Congrats on tying the knot. I am too afraid to get engaged to the missus myself, because then the countdown begins lol.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks mate. I was engaged for over 5 years before we set a date and almost 6 when we finally got married so don’t worry too much about popping the question ;-)

  3. tadedhardwood says:

    a great write-up; a very lucid analysis!
    i believe Theo is definitely up to it, and a better proposition for the team-shape: Theo a point-man as against a winger!
    and who says we don’t have d team good enough for silverware? even dis season, OMG!

  4. Presvigo says:

    THEO IS MORE DAN CAPABLE 2 PLAY AS A CF, AND I WUD LUV 2 SEE HIM PLAY AS A CF VS CHELSEA, CUS HE HAS HAD SUCH A GOOD SCORING RECORD AGAINST DEM….ND ALSO I KUD REMEMBER DAT WAS IT FA OR CARLIN CUP FINAL WE PLAYD AGAINST CHELSEA, DAT THEO PLAYED AS A CF, ND HE DID SCORE, BT WE LOST 2-1 THOUGH. Plz wenger shud GIVE HIM D CHANCE..HONESTLY I THINK THEO WUD FIT IN PARFECTLY AS A CF ANYTYM ANYDAY. [[C~A~S~H O~F~F~I~C~E]] I L~O~V~E T~H~I~S C~O~L~D W~E~A~T~H~E~R.

  5. Franco says:

    Theo may leave if we dont play him as a striker, but will his new club play him as a striker ? Unless its a midtable club. I think he is jus holding for higher wage or a lucrative bosman

  6. Zama says:

    First up congrats on signing that all important contract & hope it is one that lasts for a lifetime. Onto Theo, I really like him as a player & the way he comes across off field. But I for one second do not believe that money is not a factor here, it may not be the main hurdle as many believe but it definitely has had a bearing on his decision making so far. As far as his ability to play as “striker” is concerned – his success, however erratic in our current system as a “wide forward” shows he’s capable of finishing off whats put in front of him, and as you alluded to he tends to come into “central striker zones” but having someone drag the defenders with them makes it possible.

    But starting him as the central striker in 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 would make it a tad simple for defenders to marshal him off the ball and because of his lack of height the only option for teammates would be to play it on the floor in behind the defence for Theo to run into the ball. His lack of dribbling ability ala Gervinho also robs him of another arrow from the quiver. What that leaves is a player opposition can easily work out and defend as such. Of course if all their attentions are diverted towards Theo others could very well take advantage a bit like our former captain. But unless we see him play in that position we cant really judge him so I like you hope that Wenger does give him a chance tomorrow to try & settle the argument.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks for the comment however I disagree with many of your points. Firstly, dribbling is a lost art, not many players let alone forwards dribble these days so I don’t think a lack of dribbling skills holds Theo back at all. Secondly, playing the ball on the floor or over the top for Theo to run on to is exactly what would make him so dangerous, his movement and speed would devastate most defences. Lack of height I think is a bit harsh when you consider the size of Tevez, Aguero, Owen, Ian Wright, Phillips, Defoe, Hernandez… the list goes on…. all players who are on the shorter side and all have scored many goals in the premier league, the last 5 being great examples for Theo.

      Money may be a factor and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a discrepancy because all people want to get paid more for what they do but I don’t think it is a decisive factor. If we doubled his money to stay on the wing he’d probably take it. If we offer him a modest increase and a chance up front then I think he’ll take it. If we offer him a small increase to stay on the wing he’ll reject it.

      Thanks for the comment, I enjoyed reading your views even if I didn’t agree with them.

  7. Red Islington says:

    Theo Walcott is simply not good enough for any task at this level and that is the ugly truth . Same for Gervinho . Whether a striker , a winger , or a goalkeeper . Those guys have had more than a chance to impress and they havent . Tables and statistics , C`mon . We need a proven striker . A top class frontman who scores regularly . Someone who when in one on one with the keeper will put the ball where it should be with eyes closed . Walcott is far from being such and never will be . Not in this level anyway . And once again the same goes for Gervinho . I truely hope Giroud will man up . In any case , Arsene should look into the number9 position comes january .

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I couldn’t disagree more and I really hate the “buy someone proven” line. Who can we buy? If we want proven goalscoring then we have to buy from the premiership. Falcao and Llorente are no more likely to score goals that Giroud because there is almost always an adaptation period. And if people only ever bought proven goalscorers then there would be no players left to buy as young players would never get a chance to prove they can score.

    • alex says:

      While I agree that a striker does not need to be signed can I say that suggesting that Falcao (and to a lesser extent Llorente) is no more likely to score than Giroud is up there with the most braindead shit that I’ve ever read – the guy is the best pure striker in the world right now, there’s no doubt he’d be scoring for us now (hell he’d probably net 20 in a season for Stoke). Giroud isn’t scoring because he’s without confidence and he hasn’t played mcuh, not so much because of this adaption period

      Anyway, Theo isn’t cut out to be a striker for us and here’s why. Teams play deep against us. Therefore we need more than a quick poacher as a lone striker. Full backs push higher up the ground than centre backs so there’s more space for Theo to exploit. The best passer in the world can’t play someone like Theo in reliably against a deep line because his first touch and dribbling ability is mediocre more of the time.
      Theo could probably go to Villa on loan this season and score 20 goals this season with some luck. But he’d be getting closer to 10 goals a season with us as a striker. Remember that he plays in the same position that Podolski does, effectively. Podolski has been cutting inside and scoring despite his preferred foot being on the same side as the flank he’s on. I’d suggest that he won’t score any more goals if we played him in the middle. Theo is the same. And of course Poldi actually offers something in the buildup.

      Although I do agree that we should start him as a striker against Coventry. Just to say, “mate, if you want to play as a striker you can compete with Chamakh for a CoC spot.”

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Braindead huh? Bit rude.

      Firstly, no striker, no matter how good is guaranteed to score and that is a simple fact. Secondly, when a player moves to a new league there is usually an adjusting period, 95% of all players have this in one form or another. Thirdly, when moving to the premier league, the most physical league in top level football, players from overseas sometimes struggle to adapt to the pace and physical nature and are shocked at what it actually takes for the ref to blow his whistle. Again, no player is guaranteed to score regardless of who they are so in that sense Falcao and Llorente are not guaranteed to score. Simple as. If you can’t understand that then I suggest you refer to your own comment.

      You say Giroud is without confidence and that is why he is not scoring. Are you saying that Llorente and Falcao are immune to that? Torres wasn’t and at one point he was the most dangerous striker in the league.

      Dribbling ability… not really needed as striker and very very few players these days dribble, it’s why Wenger bought Hleb. Theo’s first touch is better than Gervinho’s and he can play striker for us.

      Theo does not play the same role as Podolski at all. This year we are playing a more conventional 433, last season it was more 4141 which has wingers not wide forwards.

      Fullbacks do push higher up but fullbacks are usually much quicker than centrebacks.

      If Theo doesn’t play striker for us, at least in the cups to prove he can do it in the league then he will leave and he’ll do it for someone else and we will all rue the day we let him go.

    • Red Islington says:

      Didnt mean to upset you dude . However , a player like Falcao would most probably score on his debut . May it be the premiership , bundesliga , or fourth league in Romania . When I say proven goalscorer I dont mean someone who isnt young , I dont even mean someone who`s a regular in a top flight premier league club . You seem to not have read my comment through or misunderstood it . I mean someone who is a natural striker . Someone who has the confidence and skill required for this position . Someone who SCORES regularly . We had many options during the summer transfer window with the likes of Kevin Mirallas etc . and for some reason the players Chelsea bought didnt seem to require an ”adaptation period” . Why wont gunner fans admit where we have quality and where we dont . I love this club like my life . Theo can go back to Southampton where the level is suitable for him

  8. Satnam Singh says:

    I wish Theo to stay because its better him in our squad then not .
    Theo is good on his day but very rear does that day come.
    Arsene knows whats best because look what he did with Henry .
    Arsene believes Gervinho is next and not Theo .
    Tired of players dictating to Arsene and Arsenal .
    If its not about money its about which position to play.
    I haven’t heard him say , sorry i haven’t played no where near what i should be at my age. I have not progressed as i would like.
    Arsene track record on players which become world class front men .
    Henry and Van persie ,
    So i think Arsene knows better then Theo.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I disagree he hasn’t played to the level he should be at because his stats say otherwise. Sure he can be frustrating in games but at the end of the day he is contributing at a similar level to Bale, Mata, Nasri, Young, Valencia, Nani and VDV have been.

    • Satnam Singh says:

      Totally disagree with your comments saying sure he can be frustrating in games. the problem is its most of the games, he doesn’t work hard enough , i see him week in week out ,
      He loses the ball and doesn’t want to fight to get it back.
      Bale and the OX (at 19years old) are far better then him.
      He is a good player but just hasn’t got the footballing brain to think in real time.
      Theo You are not good enough to dictate to Arsene .
      You must work much much harder in every game,
      Just concentrate working hard in training and try to get in the team .

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I watch the guy week in week out too and I would never say he doesn’t work hard enough. Statistically he contributes just as much to Arsenal as Bale does to Spurs and only 4 players in the prem have made more assists than Theo in the past 2 years.
      Theo is much more consistent than Gervinho but I don’t see many people giving him as hard a time as they do with Theo but I guess there always has to be one player some fans have to give stick to no matter what. It was Eboue, then Chamakh, then Ramsey and now Theo.

    • Satnam Singh says:

      Dan you got it bad son
      It Must be Love .
      Gevinho has just completed his first season with African cup campaign in between.
      He has been brilliant so far a bit erratic but overall good for Arsenal .
      Theo has had 7 seasons and cannot get in the team .
      He had a good season last season but not brilliant.
      I want him to stay and fight for his place not to dictate. .

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Theo has been in the team for 6 years. It’s only this season he hasn’t and that may be because he is considered 4th choice striker rather than 1st choice winger.

  9. RothbardRed says:

    I rarely disagree with your on Arsenal and your thoughts on this a blog, but on this occasion I also do not disagree:P We have nothing to lose by playing him as a striker, especially as Giroud looks like taking time to settle and find his feet. If it works out, and he bags 20 goals a season, then Arsenal will be strengthened remarkably. If we let him go, and do not try it out, then he moves on to another club and flourishes as a striker, we will be kicking ourselves. The fact he is at Arsenal at this moment means we should try it. Interestingly psychologists have determined that humans swing more to depression over a financial loss than the equivalent pleasured gained from an ever larger financial gain than the loss. For me this is the situation with Theo. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The fact the player wants to play as a striker, means he will have the bit between his teeth to prove everyone wrong also. Life and its rewards loves a trier. He has always been very level headed, but he will even more mature now, and I think could deal with the responsibility. RVP saw himself as a number 10, yet flourished as a striker. Many Arsenal fans, myself included were not sure if he could lead the line, I always thought he needed someone to play off. That wasn’t the case. At the end of the day, does not matter what I think, but I hope Wenger will introduce him as a striker.

    One more point, With our more solid shape and defense, our ability to soak up pressure, and “sit back” more could mean a deadly counter attacking option with Theo “Henry” like pace, bursting on a few slick passes one touch out of defense from an Arteta/Wilshere/Cazorla. Especially when teams are only a goal behind us and chasing the game. Theo would be the perfect out let, and would give another striking dimension that Podolski and Giroud do not offer at least blistering pace wise. Fingers crossed.

  10. Plenty of comments and I’m probably going to say what’s already been said, but great post again Daniel. For my two penneth worth, I don’t think theo will start tomorrow night. I think he’ll be used as a winger tomorrow and it will be an opportunity for Chamakh up top. Whether or not that is the right decision remains to be seen, but I suspect that Wenger is looking for a stronger and maybe taller player to hold the ball up at the apex of the front three rather than a player to be fed balls in behind the last defenders. Also, if Theo did play in that role as a central strikers, the problem he might find would come on those difficult to break down teams that sit deep.

    I don’t share your optimism on his future I’m afraid Dan. I think the PR machine of his agents is already whirring and preparing for his departure, which is a real shame because he is a talent, as you rightly point out.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I haven’t seen any PR from his people setting up a move, I’ve only seen Theo saying how much he wants to stay. I think Theo will either start up top, come on as a sub up top or possibly even play in a two man system which has been hinted at recently by Wenger.

  11. Top_Gooner says:

    Great post. One of the most convincing arguments for playing Theo as the front man I have ever seen. My only problem with the idea is this. If we play Theo as a striker and he plays well over the next 3 months, does he really stay at Arsenal when he can leave on a Bosman and make significantly more money elsewhere? And if we play him as a striker and he plays poorly then the team suffers as a result. So either way playing Theo now as a striker, whether successful or not, probably ends in heartache for Gooner fans. Just a thought.

  12. Edmond Dantes says:

    Since FIFA 09 days , i have always played manager mode with Arsenal , n I have always sold RVP after 1 season & developed Theo into a rampant striker…its just a pleasure to give thru-balls to him & see him race past clueless CBs … I have always read reports on how Theo trains extra working on his finishing,penalties,etc….He should get 8 – 10 games as a CF n then judge him…there is time 4 tht, with Giroud not yet settled , with cazorla – wilshere – diaby capable of releasing Theo into acres of space… hope it does happen soon…

  13. Jonny says:

    Good post mate, agree with it all. Another factor you could mention when he gets hammered for his “poor final ball” is the difficulty in getting the pass perfect when you’re running so quick.

    Lennon is another example, and sometimes their pace can be a detriment to themselves.

    Another point I’d add is that IF Wenger permanently puts him up front, we’ll need another winger.

    Play him up front tomorrow and he will score.

  14. lanesra says:

    I agree, Walcott up front is certainly an option, let’s face it, he isn’t gonna do a worse job than Gervinho!

  15. Ok ,First of all is Podolski a “winger”? No,he is not .He is a wide forward .As is Theo.He plays wide right because it suits his limited skill set best.
    If Theo did not have lightning pace ,he would be unlikely to be a professional footballer.
    Ok ,he does have pace ,so it must be a factor when assessing his value.But he cant hold the ball up .his close control is average ,he is poor with his head,He has no obvious creative vision,and given time to think his finishing is poor.
    In short ,he is a million miles away from what is required to be a striker in our current set up.

    • mohammed kah nuh says:

      You sir have not watched Arsenal play when Theo is on he is used as a scapegoat for an attack which was lazy so he was basically asked to make something happen out of nothing. And after making RVP look so good last season by unbalancing defences. He has great footballing ability plus everyone can’t play the same how boring would that be?

    • if you have a point ,please make it.But saying Theo made RVP look good is a stretch,to say the least.More likely RVP made Theo look effective.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I couldn’t disagree more George. Podolski plays wide forward because that best suits him however last season and most of the seasons before that, and seeing as Theo has played very little this season this is what we must judge him on, our wide players have played very wide indeed. You are calling Theo a wide forward I assume because we played 433, am I right? Either way that doesn’t matter because we played 4141 which meant that our wingers were in fact wingers. Walcott’s job was to get the ball to van Persie and he did that marvellously, remember he and RvP had the best combination in the league. Theo is also 5th on the past two seasons assists chart which in years that had RvP, Rooney, Cesc, Young, Mata, Silva, Aguero, Tevez, Nani, Bale, VDV and many more I haven’t mentioned playing then I think that is pretty good going.

      With regards to his pace, so what? Many players make a career in football out of having one specific talent and it’s because managers see something in them (in this case a certain Mr Wenger saw something in 16yr old Theo and surely you aren’t questioning his judgement ;-)) – Messi would not be playing football if Barcelona weren’t willing to look past his height. Delap wouldn’t have a career if he couldn’t throw the ball really far. Pace got Theo into the game but a modicum of skill has kept him in it, and at the highest level for one of the best teams I might add.

      True, he cannot hold up the ball but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a striker. His job would be to whizz past defences, latch onto through balls and bury them. This he can do.

      His close control looks average because he is constantly trying to hold up play so the rest of our team can catch up, more often than not this goes tits up because he tries to buy time by doing something he can’t do but as a striker his job would be to score not to pass.

      Goal poachers do not need creative vision plus we have 5 or 6 players with plenty to spare to allow Theo to ripple the net.

      His finishing is not poor at all. He is just as likely to hit the target as many other strikers who are considered “world-class” and shooting from wide angles is particularly hard and I also remember Theo burying a lot of chances where the keeper has no chance of saving it which is more than we can say of Gervinho who is probably better suited to a wide role than Theo is.

      In short I think you are a million miles off and are being extremely harsh on Theo.

    • Well one of us are wrong.And as he never plays as a striker and Arsenal dont seem to bothered if he stays or goes,I will leave it to Arsene to decide which of us is nearer the truth

  16. Uche Nwichi says:

    Hi Dan,
    I love your objectivity and your ability to pull the curtain away from your eyes. Keep it going bro!

  17. conCree says:

    Great write-up, dude. I share your call for justice for Theo but I would feel alright if he is to leave us. For me, Theo used to be a great option when we sit deep under pressure, waiting for counter. His speed often offered a way out of pressure and yielded decent return. However, with our new look midfield, I can see why he’s not getting in the team right now, for footballing reason. Gervinho is a clever runner and in particular, his runs tend to open up space between the lines. I’m with you on that dreadful touch last weekend but I’m happy with him overall. When Jack is back, I would like to see him and Mikel playing in front of our back four, with Santi and Rosicky/Ramsey slightly higher up as two wide playmakers. I’m rooting for Giroud to play as the target man coz I love his movement and holdup play. As for the last piece of my puzzle, both Poldi and Gervinho should do fine there, although I would love Arsenal to have a Suarez type of player..\o/ Anyway, as far as Theo is concerned, his chance is limited coz we sit deep now in a totally different way and his range of form rules him out as a supporting second striker role. And congrats mate, may the contract never ends!~

  18. Onyekafrank says:

    Yea i luv u theo n am real very happy to hear that my theo is playin up front 2morro n surely i mst watch d match n watch my theo,i hope n pray he plays 2morrom

  19. I have long wanted Theo to play up front. I also think it may be time to go to a 2 man front as a change of pace. Giroud is so very good at winning the long ball and holding the ball. He needs to be on the field
    Heck, I would like to see him out on the wing just to mess with the opposition.

    While on the treadmill tonight I watched the MC game again. Watching the “film” analytically and knowing the outcome I noticed this:
    1) Ramsey played even better than I thought. I still think that once he scores he will score regularly.
    2) Podolski looked more jaded than I recalled. He worked, but wasn’t sharp at all.
    3) Giroud constantly set up too close to the ball. His size and power means he should set up os the far post and charge towards the ball.
    4) The zone marking was not the problem, it was the set up of the zone marking. In any type of zone one eventually marks “man” On the goal, that didn’t happen. Mr. Bould will sort that out in film work this week.
    5) You know, at times Cazorla and Arteta had such control of the ball, Arsenal could have called “plays” like in bball. It was really strange to watch the replay and observe the time on the ball. It clicked that that also happens with the lesser teams in the EPL. Hey, maybe AW should set up some plays…Podolski on 3 you run to the near rubbing off the CB and Giroud run through a double screen by Diabey and Arteta and receive the ball at the near.Shot and score.
    6) Jenkins can play. Needs a better understanding, but he can play. Your National Team in the near future?
    7) Kompany is a stud. No news there, but he is a stud.

  20. Well I couldn’t agree more with Daniel.. Our team is one that has held “beliefs” for a very long while some turning on us & biting in our back @ the end i.e Bentner, Chamack, Squillacci to mention a few but we carried our “beliefs” on the deadwood. I strongly back this option of trying Theo as a CF & could he be worse of than Gervinho? Premiership is where it is now because of the ligtning pace & physic it brings into football & yes lightning pace he has, experiance & statistics that show he os a perfomer,,dribbling is for leagues in Zimbabwe, Malawi & the like.. Give the lad a chance of which honestly he deserves & yes we the fans need to support players who actually love our club & want to stay or could it be that we have turned into that bitter old spinster who has been brockenhearted one too many times… Besides our Giroud is still unproven & pull out a Chamack, Bentner or Squillacci on us ther is no force that say its impossible.. That boy is an ambassador for the club on & off pitch give him a chance…

  21. Tots says:

    I don’t agree that dribbling is a lost art. A lot of players still do it to devastating effect (falcao, quagliarella, suarez, etc.).
    I do agree that walcot would flourish as a CF and i personally think he’s one of the best finishers i’ve seen. However, but he would be more suited to a system were the front three constantly interchange positions making them impossible to mark, thus causing havoc in defences.
    In the end, the decision should be based on what works best for the team, and not the individual.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      It is very much a lost art in the sense that only a few players do it. You have named 3, 20 years ago you could name 3 per team.

  22. Master J says:

    First, congratulations for signing that important contract – the marriage, I hope, sooner than later, Theo emulates you.

    Everything begins with a trail, and as long as we cannot risk EPL or UCL as a trial ground for Theo upfront (as many-a-times, his final finishes has been dismal), there is no better time than now, and no better place like the League Cup and this evening, for me should be the right time for Theo to prove himself worthy for the position he is demanding for.

    I believe Theo can do it alongside another striker, preferably, Giroud, but definitely not as a lone striker – as that could be precarious.

    Theo wants the position as his parameter to sign the new contract, but he has to prove himself this evening, but then we have to reverse our formation to 4-4-2 or 4-1-3-2 for him to have his way in the team, just as I said before, he cannot play as a lone striker.

    Finger crossed, lets wait and see what happens next.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I disagree that he cannot play as a loan striker as many small speedy players have played loan striker to great effect for other teams. Hernandez on occasion for United and Defoe for Spurs as examples. I also disagree on the basis that we haven’t seen him in a strikers role so cannot say for sure either way.

    • Master J says:

      I never mentioned that we have never seen as a striker, of course, he has been playing as a striker, but never as a loan striker. So, i still disagree with you that he can play as a loan striker.

  23. Peter says:

    It’s hard to umderstand those who say Walcott can’t score. He’s scored several times from different and difficult angles, often very close to the far post. Like a TV-man said: “He must have some kinda RADAR between his foot and the far post, if you consider how often he places the ball there”. Walcott knows where the goal is, that’s for shure!

  24. I think Theo should be given the chance to prove himself. He will better be a striker than a winger. Theo should be in the middle admit it Arsene Wenger.

  25. Satnam Singh says:

    Having taken into consideration all the points of view of you and your legion of leming like following, i am far from ready to join the Theo Walcott appreciation society .

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Unnecessarily rude.

    • Satnam Singh says:

      Dan we are on the same side mate .
      Just want Theo to work hard and play with some consistency
      To be like Henry you have to fight for every ball and play the best you possibly can week in week out .
      Theo You are not good enough to dictate to Arsene .
      That is a fact , we can say that can we not Dan.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I think your comments about my readers being lemmings was harsh.

      Also, Theo hasn’t dictated to Arsene, read this piece by You Are My Arsenal http://bit.ly/Q4KZHw.

      But even so, he is entitled to say where he thinks he is best suited. As a fan do you think you have the right to question Theo’s skill or the managers tactics or his substitutions or the way the club is run? If yes to any of those then you must accept that Theo has the right to say whatever he wants. The manager doesn’t have to listen.

    • Olushola Darlings says:

      i don’t know if any of you guy can remember the match against Chelsea in the Carling cup couple of year ago,we lost 2-1. Theo scored from a strikers position then i knew he had the potentials as a worthy striker. PLZ AFC coaching crew give this lad the chance to prove himself…..

    • Tyler Knopp says:

      led in assists as a less than productive winger… lol he looked good last night in the cup…

  26. [...] While Arsenal were searching for an equalizer against City, there were a few moments where multiple players were in the box and Gervinho simply dallied outside of it, trying to dribble his way past one of their defenders. Had it not been been 3:00 AM Aussie time, and had I not been exhausted, I’m quite sure I would have been screaming at the television. My small moans of despair had to do. I’ll move on to Giroud now, but for more on why Walcott would probably make a wonderful splash up front, check out Daniel Cowan’s North London is Red post on the matter. [...]

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