January 20, 2006.
This is the day a fresh-faced (and he remains fresh-faced, and lovely, and the kind of guy my Mammy would love to see me bring home for dinner) Theo Walcott signed for Arsenal from Southampton for a then British record fee for a teenager. SIX YEARS ago, can you believe it’s six years ago?
Since then it seems we can’t make up our minds as to whether Theo is good or not.
We all like Theo, he’s such a nice boy. But that’s all well and good off the field, we want someone who doesn’t leave an inch on it.
Over the past six seasons, Theo has started 113 times for Arsenal, and made 76 substitute appearances. In this time he has scored 35 goals, and to be honest a lot of them have been impressive. Now the problem with Theo is that for every superb goal he has scored, he has missed two sitters. For every amazing run he has made that has had a end product (that run against Liverpool in the Champions League to set up Adebayor), there have been ten that have seen him run down dead alleys or over the endline. For every decent cross he has hit into the box, ten have ended up in row z.
One thing is for sure – Theo is fast, but its how he uses his speed that’s important. Has anyone else banged their fist off the table in anger as you watch Theo breeze past a defender only to keep his head down and not pick out a pass, or a decent cross? I know I often have, but not lately.
Not wishing to get carried away, but there has been a tad more maturity to Theo’s play this season. He seems to be getting his head up more after he makes himself some space, and his crossing has improved. He’s also putting in quite a shift in the defending side of things. What was most impressive was his performance against Chelsea. While RvP got the plaudits for his hat-trick, it was Theo that terrified the Chavs all afternoon. Think what you may of Ashley Cole as a person, but he has undoubtedly been one of the best left backs in world football over the past few years, and Theo ripped him apart last weekend.
Added to that his determination to get to his feet and score the goal that put us into the lead, and you’ll see Theo is beginning to use his head more.
Well, at least I hope he is, because I’ve said this a couple of times before “We’re seeing what Theo’s worth now” Hopefully this time Theo will make it stick.
Written by Irishgunner