Walcott; Arsenal’s most dangerous and reliable attacker?
It’s strange to think that Theo Walcott, our longest serving player, is just 28 years old. Although it does mean we are just 2 years away from the Three-o Walcott headlines.
I’ve always got the Three 0h Walcott millions.
Jeremy’s planning to sell the headline “Three Oh Walcott” to a tabloid newspaper when Theo Walcott turns thirty, and we’ve agreed not to argue whether that’s a good plan.
It is a good plan.
For a polite, unassuming character off the pitch Theo Walcott has always been a divisive one on the pitch. Despite over a decade at the club it cannot be said that Theo Walcott has a particularly large fan base within Arsenal. I am part of what often feels like a small, rather esoteric group of Arsenal supporters who have always believed in Theo’s ability, and importance to the Arsenal cause. Perhaps in a smaller group still, Theo Walcott is probably my favourite Arsenal player in the current squad.
To many this confession may seem like madness considering the oozing class of Mesut Özil, the killer mentality of Alexis and the devastating looks of Monsieur Giroud. However, on his day Theo is almost unplayable with an underrated ability to show up in the big games.
The issue for many seemed to be his overall contribution, commitment and desire. I once claimed that Theo would never be the sort of player to chase the ball all over the pitch and to your average English crowd this made him less favoured than the likes of Ox, Campbell, Welbeck or Alexis who “put in a shift”. English football will forgive many a poor performance if you are considered a hard-working player. Whereas technical ability, positional awareness and plain old effectiveness will not shield you from criticism if you have a label for being “lazy.”
Walcott has always been an effective player overall and history has shown that when fit and given a consistent run in the same position he rewards us with goals and assists. Last season was probably the worst in his time at Arsenal. He started the season strongly at centre-foward with 5 goals and 3 assists in 9 games before picking up an injury. He returned to the team to replace the injured Alexis and his first 9 games in that unfamiliar position saw at least 7 of his top ten worst performances for Arsenal. It was a run that seemed to all but erase what an outstanding player Theo had been when fit from the minds of the supporters. Gone were the memories from 2011-2014 and his first 9 games in 2015/16 culminating in the humbling of Manchester United in October. Theo’s exceptional numbers, and why the manager and fans were so eager for him to ‘sign da ting’, were tippexed from history.
I have never seen a player induce so much contradiction and flip-flopping than Theo Walcott. In the last 24 months along we’ve gone from people lamenting his absence to the same people calling him the invisible man and claiming he’s never had a decent game for Arsenal to then singing his praises once more when he discovered another layer to his game and got more involved in defence.
Sometimes it is easy to forget his many contributions or that he has over 100 goals for Arsenal playing primarily from the wing. People often don’t like stats when they contradict their opinion but statistically Theo Walcott is the best goals-per-game winger we’ve had under Wenger, possibly even since Joe Hulme although I’m sure some notable Arsenal historians will know better. You can see a selection of Walcott’s Arsenal contributions on this post.
I’m at a loss to describe how anyone can look at Theo’s career objectively and come to any other conclusion than when fit and consistently played in one of his two best positions he is one of our most dangerous players. Player after player from the world’s biggest, most successful clubs pour praise on Theo and cite him as one of the most dangerous players they have faced. Walcott has the respect of the footballing community and that says everything about his quality.
Happy Birthday, Theo.
Thanks for reading! Please comment on this post, subscribe by email, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan). Please check out the official NLIR Facebook page http://facebook.com/northlondonisredblog for news, views, freebies and more.
Don’t forget to tune into the funniest Arsenal podcast around “Goonersphere Podcast“
Advertise your business here! Click here for details .