A break from the Arsenal feels needed, so I’m going to enjoy these next 11 days before Liverpool, because I feel another sh.t storm coming once that one hits. Got the job done on Monday night just about and now face the prospect of a big semi-final at Wembley. Something to look forward to at last, and possibly a last hurrah after all for Arsene? Or a familiar crumbling in a big game against a rival, this time at Wembley? Time will tell.
Anyway, Theo hit 100 goals for the club on Monday, so let’s evaluate his time at the club. 100 goals in 10 years, 10 goals a year, that’s calendar year, not season. Is that good enough? Has he reached his potentially. For me, not even close. Who’s to blame? Let’s take a closer look.
Theo arrived after breaking on the scene at Southampton, had abundance of pace and seemed to be able to finish well too. He looked like a kid when he signed for us, but the expectation was massive, he was England’s new hope and next big thing. Sven took him to the World Cup immediately, without even playing for the club. Did that in the long run harm him? I don’t think so, he didn’t play so wasn’t exposed and must of got an incredible experience there, under the guidance of some top class players too. Yes, the pressure and expectation on him grew, but as a top footballer that should be normal.
A Winger or a Striker? Wenger always seemed to say Theo was “learning his trade out wide” before he would eventually be moved into the middle to play upfront. That was the plan, but it never really happened like that. He failed to consistently impress out wide. It is as if his feet have always been quicker than his brain. He struggles to take on men, he struggles to dribble with the ball and his overall game intelligence his poor. But he can certainly finish. When he doesn’t have time to think about it Theo can be deadly. He makes good runs in behind, and when played through your normally confident he can put it away. Could he have worked as a striker? I am not totally convinced he could run a line on his own, and with Wenger’s stubbornness of only playing 4-3-3/4231, Theo has struggled to find his best role. He’s not tricky enough to be a winger, and not smart or strong enough to be a striker. It’s a huge dilemma, but one Wenger should of made it clearer from the start to give him clear direction on where his career was going. I do feel Theo has been led down the garden path a bit there.
So I ask, where was the coaching? You know he can finish, but struggles with knowing how to use his pace. How many times has Theo knocked the ball passed his man and ran around onto it? I can only think of a few occasions. How can someone with that much pace use it so little? Has he improved in any area of his game? I don’t believe he has, he’s shaved off his sideburns and bulked up a tad, but it’s still the same Theo Walcott that’s been doing the same thing for years. Of course injuries have not helped, but I still think he should of scored way more goals for this club.
Theo himself has always been given a fairly easy ride too. Maybe he wasn’t pushed enough. He seems to always have his place in the team no matter how he performs. No pressure to play well, always been on huge wages and has never really been challenged for his spot. I think he became too comfortable, and that comes from self-motivation as well as the demand from the manager. He probably benefited from other Arsenal ‘stars’ leaving in the seasons before his contfrct renewal. The fear of the backlash from fans perhaps giving his agent a strong negotiating position.
One hundred goals in 370 games. 1 goal every 3.7 games. It is not bad don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked to think with better coaching and more motivation form the player, we would have seen much more from Theo.
What do you all think?
25, from Essex. Season ticket holder since 1998. Home and Away week in, week out. The “Idiot” with the banner. Only ever want the best for our club. Some say pessimist, I say realist.