Theo Bashing Starts Today …….. Integrity Costs Nothing

Shortly after the game last night the knives were already out for Theo but if Lampard had converted the chance created  by him in the opening five minutes it could have been an entirely different story.

We’ve seen how Theo is a confidence player and as he started the game intelligently the goal could have changed how he performed the rest of the half.  He faded badly but in his defence he wasn’t included in the game as both Brown and Lampard seemed to forget he was there.  England started to tick when Crouch’s first goal went and sadly Theo had already left the field.

It would seem that Capello likes Theo and is prepared to give him chances in the same way as Wenger does.  For Theo to be included in the World Cup squad he needs now to produce some form for us and I’m sure that he’ll get that chance.

In his pre-match interview, Fabio Capello blamed the off-field problems of some of his England stars on the vast wealth they have accumilated as young men. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would realise that paying  a starting wage of £1k a week at 17 rising to anything from £20k to £160k is going to lead to a lack of judgement and a culture of irresponsibility.

The current  scandal involving  Wayne Bridge and John Terry has undermined the England team spirit. Previous embarrassments caused by Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney and the antics of Ashley Cole have revealed these young men to be selfish and self-indulgent. They think they are untouchable and beyond reproach.

Fabio Capello has urged them to concentrate on their football. To consider whether it’s football or scandal that they want to be remembered for. He wants them to recreate a collective spirit and  to focus on the performance of the team and the style in which they play and not on what happens off the pitch.

I hope the current crop of young lions,  including our Theo Walcott (who reportedly earns £60k per week) are  learning  how to behave. But I have to ask the question – where are the advisors? Capello is clearly unimpressed with how these pampered millionaires handle themselves and cites the same problems in all countries where  football is big business. He has asked the players to be careful in their private lives and to remember they are role models for children and for all fans.

At Arsenal, we have a wage ceiling, but our young players also earn obscene amounts of money.  Luckily we don’t have scandalous behaviour apart from the occassional misdemeanor with cars. Is this due to the guidance of  a team behind the scenes or are our players just more sensible? I would like to think that Arsène Wenger makes sure that his charges get the right advice but maybe hes just lucky.

The agents are only after their own slice of the pie but are they not morally obliged to help manage the wealth that these players with a  8-10 year career are likely to accumulate?

Back to the World Cup, I love the way our country goes nuts when England are in an International competition and if Theo finds his way onto the plane to South Africa and into the squad I’ll be very happy for him. He showed last night that he still knows how to be creative, I feel the criticisms of him are unfair – he hasn’t started a game for England for 8 months and he’s only been fit to start for Arsenal a handful of times. There’s still time time for him to fly the flag for Arsenal – Come on Theo prove them all wrong.

56 Responses to Theo Bashing Starts Today …….. Integrity Costs Nothing

  1. Morning kelsey, alfa and London – I’m going to move your comments onto the new post

  2. Rasputin says:

    Morning all,

    Good post peaches. At this time when everything Arsenal stands for seems under attack, it comes as no surprise that the press see Theo’s performance (or lack of it) as the main talking point.

  3. kelsey says:

    The Walcott debate continues, and obviously I was looking to see how he would perform last night. One of the commentators said he looked rusty, whilst others said he didn’t enhance his chances of going to the World Cup. Apart from a great cut back to Lampard (who should have scored) he was fairly anonymous partly because the reluctance to feed the ball out to him, and even allowing for his various injuries and limited playing time this season, he isn’t improving. His first touch is poor, he hardly ever tackles and is easily dispossessed. Maybe not going to South Africa may benefit Arsenal in the long term, as I still feel he is under huge mental pressure to live up to his price tag and potential that was talked about some four years ago. His stats for crosses this season is 11% is poor by any standard.

    We obviously don’t agree, though I don’t think SWP is the answer either.

  4. Alfa says:

    Hi peaches, no problem. Good post – Theo is going to be a key player in SA.

  5. alfa says:

    Morning kelsey. I see it this way. The problem with Theo is that all of us, especially club fans, are looking for a good all round player. It seems to me that the best managers, especially at national level, look for a player who can do one thing exceptionally well. Remember Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina? A goal like that is priceless and it doesn’t matter if the player who scores it doesn’t tackle or cross well – you can sub him or drop him for the next game if we are playing a different kind of team. On the other hand a good all round player would never have the pace to have scored that goal.

    Arsene and Capello both know that Theo could turn a game on the right day and not many players can do that. He needs to get his confidence and work on his touch and crossing of course.

    Of course, if you can be good all round and exceptional at somethings as well, then you are one of the greats.

  6. kelsey says:

    Morning Alfa,

    I accept what you say but I get a little confused about Theo. He has always maintained his preferred role is as a central attacker or striker . One moment of magic can of course win one a game, but all I see with theo is pace, at least for the moment.

    By the way no injuries to report as yet from last night. Nic scored a header, Cesc played half a game and Eboue played a full game.

  7. London says:

    Morning P&R

    Good Post. It surely has to be our collective hope that Walcott makes the World Cup squad…..The young man is in dire need of experience and what better place to get it than in South Africa and at England’s expense rather than ours which will make a change when you think of the injuries he has picked up while on England duty robbing us of the more developed player he really should be by now.

  8. kelsey says:

    Morning london,

    The only benefit is if he is played,not sat on the subs bench, as he is nowhere near an automatic choice.

  9. dandan says:

    Morning all. Like all mornings after the night before the inquest will carry on until the headache has gone,that will be Monday after the Sunday Rags have dispensed their collective, bile, wisdom and preferences and the weekend league matches take preference again, quickly followed by the Champions League

    There are 98 days and Christ knows how many games to be played before the World Cup,until then, injury, chance and club form will all play a part in deciding the mix that departs for South Africa.

    Look how many times we have been written off for the league in recent weeks and where we are now. Theo will be needed by the club and for that reason alone still has the chance to impress, I hope he does, because if he does we will have been the beneficiaries.

    But should he not make it, he will have a summer and pre-season to look forward too, hopefully as the winner of a league champions medal.
    Now wouldn’t that be nice.

  10. London says:

    Morning Kelsey

    I feel the fact that he went to the last world cup benefited him even though he didn’t play. I feel the same about this one.

  11. Rasputin says:

    Morning dandan,

    Arsène and Capello are two of the best managers in the world and they see something in Theo that maybe hasn’t surfaced regularly enough to date. Going to the WC at 17 and scoring a hatrick perhaps created an unwelcome burden of expectation. He is a pretty clinical finisher in front of goal and can do things that other players can’t by virtue of his pace. He just needs to be used by Arsenal and England in a way that exploits those strengths.

  12. dandan says:

    Off to see the next Generation of Arsenal stars. my grandchildren. LOL see you later….

  13. Rasputin says:

    Bloody great!!! Vela apparently had a fantastic game in the states yesterday as Mexico beat New Zealand and he scored a great goal – but could not finish the game as he was injured and limped off….FFS, when will it ever end?

  14. Have a nice day dandan – catch you later

  15. DrunkenHobo says:

    Theo produced England’s best 3 chances of scoring in the first half. It looked like the only way England was going to score was a ball over the top for Theo to chase & cross. For some reason he was bi-passed with balls into the centre instead of the better pass out to Theo on the wing. How can he make more of an impact if he is ignored by the other players?

  16. Steven says:

    Theo, if left out of the WC squad will have a huge chance to really IMPROVE his game.Being dropped from the national team should never be seen as a curse but rather a blessing for him.

    The truth is that his first touch, his ball control,his crossing and his final ball all need to improve.And all these vitals are all within his power to sharpen as they are all down to practice, practice, practice.

  17. Alfa says:

    Hobo, that was true even of Crouch’s first goal – great goal, but Theo had gone wide and pulled a defender away, even so was probably the more obvious option.

    The goal justified missing him out on that occasion though, but its happened over and over again over the last three seasons at the Emirates, we’ve all been yelling ‘give it to Theo’ as he creates yards of space over on the right.

  18. Alfa says:

    Steven, agree with a lot of what you say. I’d like to see Theo in SA as I have a feeling he will be significant, but it would be great for him to have a normal pre-season for once.

  19. Mike says:

    Theo may have not created any chances that resulted in goals, but if you notice, SWP only came on in the 57th minute, by that time Theo had run the defence ragged. Most of the time he had two defenders onto him , so I think in fairness, he had a decent game and helped “soften” the Egyptians for the subs to make their mark – as they should – football is a tactical team game after all!!!

  20. Rasputin says:

    Excellent point Mike. I think Capello is a wise enough manager to have appreciated Theo’s contribution exactly as you have described.

  21. Rasputin says:


    You are not the first to point out that some players (Gerrard and Lumplard are two of the worst offenders), seem to deliberately ignore Theo when he is in excellent positions. Credit to Rooney, he does try to bring Theo into the game and Beckham also feeds him the ball at the right time.

  22. Rasputin says:

    Another point about Theo that should not be ignored is that when he is in full flight, the fullbacks can’t overlap because they can’t catch him. All he needs is players getting into dangerous positions in the box to receive his cross/pass.

  23. London says:

    Roma prepare raid for Gallic gunner

    This is one of a slew of headlines emanating from NN. Do they think we are that stupid? I don’t remember seeing Roma in the top twenty richest clubs in the world in fact I think Newcastle somehow managed to get themselves higher in the rankings. The idea that Roma have the financial muscle to force Gallas away from us against our will is laughable.

  24. London says:

    It seems I got that wrong Roma are in fact twelfth in the rich list with a turn over of £146 million while Arsenal are at fifth with a turnover of £263 million. Nevertheless, we still dwarf them.

  25. Alfa says:

    London, in any normal business scenario they don’t but they will borrow to get Gallas if they want him and we won’t borrow to keep him, so surely it’s possible.

    If he does go I think it will be just like Flamini – end of any serious career for him.

  26. Rasputin says:

    The Wales team wore special t-shirts in Wednesday night’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Sweden at the Liberty Stadium wishing Ramsey a speedy recovery.

  27. Alfa says:

    London, I forgot that Ranieri is the Roma manager so knows Gallas. Let’s hope it’s just wishful speculation on his part.

  28. London says:


    Why do you think we need to borrow to keep Gallas?

  29. Rasputin says:

    I don’t think Gallas will be hugely motivated by money at this stage of his career. Didn’t he talk about going back to France recently? I think lifestyle may be more important to him.

  30. London says:

    The length of the contract will be the all important thing in the same way that we couldn’t compete with Juve’s massive five year deal….for Vieira at the age of what? 31..32.
    That said I don’t believe that Wenger wanted to keep him any longer or perhaps he would have insisted that the club match the Juve offer.

  31. Livers says:

    In some kind of strange way, I like the Campbell / Vermaelen combination..

  32. London says:

    Hi Livers

    I don’t believe Gallas is injured I think he is just being given a rest so he is ready for the run in….I bet my season ticket he is playing in the Porto home game.

  33. SharkeySure says:

    Theres nowt strange about that Liver !!!!

    Big Sol has been a revelation so far….I’ve even forgioven him for his part in ‘The Great Back Pass Cock Up’

  34. SharkeySure says:

    I think Arsene was happy to see Paddy go…he’d spent a lotof that last season in thetreatment room, and certainly did not look like he plsyer of old.

    I actually took it as a personal affront to see the mugs queuing up to take him on. Those same mugs who had avoided him like the plague only 18mths earlier.

    His time in the PL was deffo up in my eyes….

  35. Livers says:

    London I agree Gallas will be back for Porto and at least having Sol looking over his shoulder may give him a kick up the behind.

    Loved Sol after the 3rd goal last weekend and he seems to have resurrected the Invicibles huddle.

    I think we’ll see a very different atmosphere at home sat for Burnley than we did Liverpool after those defeats 🙂

  36. Rasputin says:

    I agree wholeheartedly guys. Sol has injected power, history and passion by his presence. I can’t wait for the game on saturday, 3 points and we’re level with the chavs.

  37. Livers says:

    Let’s go for a 4 goal win then to be above the Chavs and it’ll put the frightners on Man U’s game after…

    Saying that I’d take 1-0 right now

  38. Alfa says:

    London, I mean that our wage structure is capped by the need to stay within our financial limits. We live within our means (and those have been quite tight over recent years) whereas other clubs don’t and make up the difference with borrowing. Roma pay about 50% of their revenue out in salaries and have made a profit in recent years but huge losses before that, so I don’t suppose they can afford more than we can in salaries unless by living beyond their means. They are largely owned by a family so presumably they put in the money.

  39. London says:

    So we are agreed that it is unlikely that Roma will be able to pay more in wages than we can. Although, perhaps the fact that our we turn over more than one hundred and twenty million a year than they do might give us the edge. Just a hunch.

  40. Alfa says:

    London, just an addendum, as far as I can tell from the last accounts just published, my Italian being a bit limited, Roma made an operating loss in the last 6 months and are 76M Euros in debt. They sold some players which helped the nearly break even. They reckon they missed out on 14M Euros by not getting into the Champion’s League. Shows how important that 4th place is.

  41. London says:


    Great spot, the “Invincibles Huddle” you have coined it 😉

  42. Alfa says:

    I take your point, but I see it another way. They already can’t afford the wages they are paying, so if they really want Gallas they might go even further over the top.

    It’s like people who’ve maxed out 3 credit cards deciding they’ll take out another one. For a while they look like they’ve got more money than someone who has one card and pays if off every month. And if they have a rich uncle who will bail them out, they just keep going.

    I don’t think he will go, he is much better off at Arsenal in most senses of the word and probably all of them.

  43. London says:

    The analogy is clear but the very same applies to Arsenal, although, with an additional one hundred and twenty million annual turn over I suspect we can do it a little better than they can.

  44. Alfa says:

    Yes, but we’ve consistently said that we won’t (rightly). Our top earning players earn a lot less than theirs (Totti presumably).

  45. London says:

    But we could if we wanted too and that is the whole point.

    It would be interesting to know how much Totti gets paid.

  46. London says:

    I’ve just worked out why Theo had such a tough time last night. Look at the picture above. How is he supposed to put in a decent performance when the Egyptian number six is trying to grab his knob. That is down right cheating.

  47. dandan says:

    Peaches I have Just emailed you, hope that is ok

  48. kelsey says:

    I just read on sky sports that Sol is doubtful for Saturday with, yes you guessed it, a groin strain.

  49. Hi kelsey – it wasn’t me 😉

    Alfa – if you’re around I’ve put another top blog thingy into the widget but I can’t see how to centralise is – can you have a go. Thanks 🙂

  50. London says:

    So aren’t we lucky that we have the experienced back up in the form of Silvestre…….probably the most underappreciated player at the club.

  51. London says:

    Silvestre: what a clever little insurance policy Wenger took out all those months ago.

    Who would we play on the weekend if he wasn’t at the the club…..Bartley? Oops, no he is on loan. Song, silly me he is banned…..well I supose, this game being so important that it could be said that without Silvestre we would be well and truly flucked.

  52. London says:

    Is there anything worse than a smug London? 😉

  53. Rasputin says:

    We could have got better insurance at 😦

  54. Big Raddy says:

    Thank goodness JD is on his way back!

    Arshavin could play CB if he is fit 🙂

  55. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    A couple of points. Have you noticed that Bedntner and Vela both perform consistently better for the national sides than they do for us. I know Vela has only ever been given one starting appearance in the PL, but yet again this week he is the star of the show for Mexico and then invariably gets injured.If he isn’t injured he is jet lagged, isn’t it time we turned away from buying Central and S.American players,even though we don’t have an abundance of them.

    With regards to tomorrow, there appears to be a lot of maybes.(Sol,Eduardo,and Diaby) and then Gallas is definately out.Denilson and Arshavin are fit and Song is suspended.I suppose Silvestre may come in,which is about the only alternative but for sure the team will be much changed from last week.

  56. Rasputin says:

    New post …….

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