Theodore James Walcott, it’s time to say goodbye

Is it time for Cheerio?

Is it time for Cheerio?

Theo James Walcott signed from Southampton on the 20th January 2006 and I for one was delighted.

He was young, English, exciting and, above everything, the first Arsenal player I knew of, who was younger than me – by a month, which kind of caught my imagination and gave me a unique supporter-player relationship that I’ve never had since nor will again.

I remember it feeling like an eternity waiting for him to make his debut. Then finally, after half a season and a bizarre call up to the England world cup squad, he finally made his debut for us in the 73rd minute of our first ever league match at the Emirates setting up invincible Gilberto Silva for an equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Villa.

And now has incredibly notched up 10 seasons at London’s finest making over 228 appearance’s scoring 54 goals. My strength of belief in Theo makes this hard to write but sometimes things just have to be said. And the man who now adorns club legend and record goal scorer’s Thierry Henry’s number 14 shirt needs to have his future in it questioned.

Number 14 a burden to heavy?

Number 14 a burden to heavy?

The Barcelona game was the cold slap of salmon to the face, the smelling of the bacon and the wake-up call to realising we just don’t have the same player on our hands.

In a good 40 minutes action, 1 interception, 6/7 passes and no tackles or take ons. Basically making no impact on proceedings what so ever. This isn’t just based on one game either; this is two seasons of concern and now a conclusion of my thoughts. It may seem like flavour of the month at the moment to question Theo and the Ox but it’s not unfounded, there is a real call for worry and especially with Walcott, given we’re now approaching 27 years of age. Questions have to be asked as he comes into his ‘peak’ years.

Inconsistent at 22 yes but at 27??

Inconsistent at 22 yes but at 27??

This season he’s made 25 appearances scoring 6 and assisting 3. Which for 100+ grand a week is not enough – end of. And even worse, since the United home game, yes that beautiful sunny day when everything went so right that it now feels like a life time ago, he has 2 goals and 0 assists in 19 appearances which is rendering him ineffective and given his lack of defensive work and contribution to build up play actually regressive for the side.

But most worrying for me his edge has gone and his edge for me was always his dribbling mixed in with his scintillating pace; he had a great ability to ride challenges when running at high pace making him a real thorn in other team’s sides. Think Liverpool Champions League quarter final or just watch a montage of his 12/13 season. In 12/13 he was averaging 1.5 successful take ons per 90 minutes compared to 1.19 this season and .79 last season.

Where did it all go wrong? Well in true Hollywood fashion his arguably finest hour was his most dire. Playing up front vs the scum from down the road he was electric, everything we wished for, but then disaster struck and he did his ACL. The real ‘Goose hitting the canopy’ moment, the film changed after that and took a darker less enjoyable tone, much like Theo’s career. The moment’s as heart breaking as well. He’s not the only one – you only have to look at Radamel Falcao who went from world star Galactico goal, a game striker, to Chinese fish and chip shop owner. It’s a cruel debilitating injury.

A tough injury to come back from

A tough injury to come back from

Whether it’s mental and he hesitates getting closer to players or doesn’t have the speed in his change of direction I don’t know but he doesn’t have what he did unfortunately.

Pre ACL in 12/13, his best season, he played 37 games getting 15 goals and 11 assists. In the run up to the ACL injury for what I think would have been his serious ‘I’ve arrived’ season 13/14 15 games 6 goals 4 assists. Which is directly contributing to 36 goals in 52 games which is burgeoning on world class. But unfortunately the post ACL stats highlight the decline last season 14/15 16 apps 5 goals 0 assists and, of that 5 goals 3 are a hattrick vs West Brom and when thrown in with this season’s stats make for a grim 41 games 11 goals 3 assists. Playing for a top club as a striker or a winger that isn’t up to scratch.

With this season it’s becoming a real issue. It’s not enough just scoring in big games like Leicester and City, we don’t need a Geoff Horsfield, this team is crying out for a constant stream of goals from up top and out wide. We can ill-afford passengers in our pursuit of what would be a wonderful double. This really is such a pivotal time for the club; we win the league it breathes fresh air throughout the club bringing the fan base to life again it goes the other way it’s going to become unbearably toxic. The Walcott right winger of 12/13 would be a saving grace at this point. But I think that Theo’s just a distant memory now. So the team’s going to have to find something else.

An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!

An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!

I only see him fitting in to the team now as a striker but only on the basis the whole team behind him is perfectly balanced and on point a la United and Bayern at home and even then I’d argue he’s not clinical enough. And for the club we’re aspiring to be we need more and Welbeck’s superior to him as a ‘9’ in every department bar maybe composure.

If you’re not going to get involved with play and work as a striker you need to be a penalty box killer like an Ian Wright, Javier Hernandez or even Jermaine Defoe but unfortunately Theo doesn’t have them primeval instincts to be in the right place at the right time 9/10 times.

Time to wave goodbye?

Time to wave goodbye?

I really hope he strikes back and proves me wrong but approaching this junction in his career at the end of the season I think it’s time for the club and Theodore James Walcott to go their separate ways and leave me to say goodbye to one of my favourite ever players.

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7 Responses to Theodore James Walcott, it’s time to say goodbye

  1. PV4 February 27, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I’ve said for a long time now that we have to dump ‘project Theo’as he clearly is never really going to click. Yes, he has flashes of brilliance – but as you point out, at £100,000 a week, that is a piss take too far. Time for Arsenal to get tough with all of the under-performing little rich things.We need massive change and a set of players who give it their all every game . Sadly, until AW is replaced with a newer, hungrier model, I can never see this happening.

  2. Nigel Benson February 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    I’m a New Zealander who had to wait 30 years to see The Arsenal. The second match I saw live was a 7-0 win over Slavia Prague in the Champions League. I never got to see a match at Highbury either. But I have a brick from the East Stand on my mantlepiece at home. Nige NZ

  3. Tbag February 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    I am with you 100% on this. Theo is the most frustrating player in our squad right. And it is more frustrating when he is actually keeping joel campbell out of the team, a player that is more creative than him. The ox lacks an end product as of now but ability wise he is a great player and there is a high possibility it will click for him sooner or later. I can’t say the same for theo. He has to go.

  4. Omar February 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    never! he usually scores in big game, and is unplayable on his day. True that he doesn’t get involved in some games like he should, but thats the case with alot of wingers, not just theo. when we thrashed leicester and united early this season, we played at a frightening pace with theo upfront. Not sure about welbeck being better, the timing of theos runs are exceptional… Just a shame that when he plays wide he doesnt have the freedom do make those runs, hees too busy defending and helping the team… If vardy or harry kane play on the wing, they wont contribute 20 percent of what they are doing now

    • Confused February 27, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

      Theo too busy defending? Not sure I’ve ever seen this….
      Welbeck is twice the player. Time to give up on Theo, it’s a travesty that he could have a testimonial. 10 years of nearly, sometimes not even that. Harsh but true imo

    • DEW February 27, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

      I fully agree with you Omar. The author has some good observations on Theo recent performances (for example he didn’t get closer to players, and his positioning in the box at the moment is not good). But what he missed is Walcott sign the contract to play as striker more often. He played more often on the wing due to the injury crisis after Bayern game. In games when he starts as striker he brings movement, good link up, speed to the game and he was 80% magnificent. And the whole Arsenal team performed very well. the results, the number of goals etc by the team were great. you can easily see that if you have the stats for the number of Arsenal goals and Arsenal wins per walcott starts as central striker. We should recognize that.

      Walcott has physical problem of combining attacking and defending, because of his pace I think. But he has already said that on public, he wants less defending duty. Arsenal extended his contract knowing all these.

      The last but not the least one is the final third game played by Arsenal players is not really suiting him. They are more of individual solutions as Per said, there is less team efforts, and in this system you will not get 100% from walcott.

      (My best front attacking three for arsenal is Welbeck and Alexis in the wings and Walcott at the center as a catalyst.)

  5. Martyn February 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    I’d rather have Kane and Vardy instead of Welbeck and Walcott.

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