Was Theo re-signed for the wrong reasons?

Something has been worrying me lately, I take a look at our squad and I look at our formation and I scratch my head…..why the desperation to sign Theo earlier in the season.

theo runningTheo more than any other player divides opinion between fans, his goal tally this year of 20 in all competitions is a good return, assists of 17 equally impressive.

All this is good stuff…..but I’m still scratching my head. Arsene signed Podolski in January 2012 to arrive in summer.

It appears he knew BSR was two steps out the door already, so he signed Giroud in the summer transfer window as well, two centre forwards / strikers (whether Pod can actually play there for us is another issue) to replace one sold and one so devoid of confidence that he can’t be picked.

Then I look at our current formation, with everyone fit and available Wenger picks the following:

Theo Rosicky/Wilshere Cazorla


Spot the odd one out (no not him LB), Theo cannot play anywhere across the midfield, as the others can, the more logical pick is Gervinho, and in the games where he started we carried much more attacking threat and won the ball back consistently higher up the pitch.

Now I’m not advocating Gervinho starts in place of Theo but I am wondering if Theo can actually contribute more than goals or assists, and if his inclusion in the side is preventing us from scoring more by the lack of variety it brings. Move the ball to Theo pass back to Bacary, back to Theo back to Bacary, and then a hopeful cross.

He is now our highest paid player, he and his agent engineered the situation perfectly, there was such a clamour around the club about the situation following the loss of more players through the summer that to let his contract run down would have been PR suicide.

Clearly he is never going to be big enough to play up front on his own in the PL, but is he actually good enough in all aspects of the game to play in midfield for this Arsenal side?

I don’t believe Wenger wants us to be so rigid across the front of midfield I think we have to be if Theo starts, and his new contract presents an obstacle to us moving forward with the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain more suited to the midfield three role.

Yes his goals have been helpful this season, but can anyone see a future for Theo given our current formation? Is he going to become a luxury we can ill afford?

Gooner In Exile

145 Responses to Was Theo re-signed for the wrong reasons?

  1. Fiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrssssssssssssssssssstttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. kgooner says:


  3. kgooner says:

    GiE thank you for raising this issue. It is certainly one that gooners need to pore over. And thanks for stepping up with a post.

    I think signing walcott was necessary for the clb to avoid losing him for free. Personally, i dont think he is worth 100k and since signing he has done little to show he deserves it. (I know) he has scored goals for us, but, i would argue not enough to warrant his pay. I always feel that he doesn’t bring enough (besides the goals of course). If Gervinho cold just come round to scoring goals and spectacular finishes, Theo would be out of the first 11. The Ox as well. He brings more to the game than theo (although he doesnt score as many goals).
    I feel Theo has his position not because he is spectacular, but because others are a bit below expectations. The goals he’s been scoring for us are the only thing keeping him in the first 11.

    This might not count for mch, but whenever i play fifa 13/ PES 12/ fifa 12, i play without walcott and play gervinho instead. I bring in theo in the last 20 minutes of the game.

    This is how i see Theo boosting us in title ambitions. As an impact substitute and for that, he is very valuable. A full game however, is a tactical waste.

  4. kgooner says:

    Oh, and before anyone mentions the number of goals he has scored for us (20) remeber half of these were against lesser teams/ teams out of form. Newcastle, Reading, Southampton, would account for 6 goals i think? You get my point

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    Very interesting topic GiE, thanks.

    I was a big fan of him signing “da ting” as apart from anything else, we then have an asset.

    He is young enough to improve, and so the question is, can/will he? Then, that question could lead on to my next. Is he being coached properly?

    In the context of our front three, I’d far rather let Podolski go than Theo.

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    Good points kgooner.

    “half of these were against lesser teams/ teams out of form”.

    Trouble is twofold. He scored them, the others didn’t, and, if half were against lesser teams, what about the other half, which again no-one else scored?

    Believe me, I am confused when it comes to Theo.

  7. chas says:

    I’m not sure we could afford to let him go for pure footballing reasons, GIE.

    Fact is, we look more dangerous when he’s in the team.

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    Right now, I don’t believe we have anybody better than Theo to play that right sided attacking role.

    So, he remains a first choice starter from the present squad, in my opinion.

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    Right, more context.

    If I pick my current 1st XI, then Theo is 5th in line for an upgrade 🙂

  10. Matthew says:

    I think this analysis was poor. playing Carzola @ the wing limits d urgency and speed of arsenal game play now we hold possession for possession sake. play Walcott and and any other winger and we will improve better.

  11. kgooner says:

    @ Mickdidit89 absolutely agree with your 10.07. We dont have much choice and options. The way i see it, if Theo does not improve significantly in the coming season/next while others (signed or from within ) show better form, he’d be sold in an instant. Atleast he’d have 2 years and offer a better price on the market. There are lots of teams out there who he could work wonders for.

    I just wish Gervinho had his finishing skills.

  12. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, I understand where you’re coming from but I cannot discount his goals and assists and I believe we needed to send out a message that the days of us selling off our assets are over.

    Theo’s goals would be a good return for a striker, his assists are a bonus because he plays out wide. If you add his goals to his assists (=37) then he has hand in more than 1/3 of all the goals we’ve scored this season.

    What concerns me more is that it looks like we’re going to sign Jovetic who has a gpg of about 1 goal every 2.5 games. He is not an out and out striker, he’s another No. 10 type – so where will he fit in the system? …. in place of Podolski.

    If we had a natural goalscorer in the side perhaps Theo would be less important, but based on his contribution this year, I would say he is worth £100k a week (I have no idea what he earns, this is just a much touted figure)

  13. Manthan says:

    Hi GIE,

    Great post Mate!! When Theo contract was going back in december i guess everybody wanted him to sign da ting. I had heard people saying in AA including me “please pay extra money if he wants but don’t allow him to leave”. Wenger never wanted to pay more money to him but because of our history regarding player leaving us he was in pressure and at last he gave money what Theo wanted. 20 goals and 17 assists in one season is quite impressive but I am still not convinced that he is star player :D. He don’t know how to beat defenders neither he is a great dribbler only one thing he knows is run with the ball as much fast as you can. His finishing is improved a lot but still I feel OX is better then him. If gervinho improves in final third then even he is better then Theo.

  14. jay says:

    Good sides know exactly how to stop Wacott,he is a one trick pony ,just relies on pace to get behind defenders.He cant actually beat defenders with trickery,playing for England he hardly gets a kick every game.

  15. He was resigned cos Arsene didnt want to loose him on a free. He will be sold next summer. Mark my words. 13-14 season he will be used lesser – allowing the likes of Vela / Campbell to start over him. Just u wait and watch!

  16. Rasp says:

    Theo has developed some tricks recently and is definitely stronger than a few years ago. Successive England managers have chosen him in front of the likes of Lennon. You cannot discount the effect Theo’s presence on the pitch has on the formation of the oppositions defence – they’re going to be far more cautious about playing a high line.

  17. Manthan says:

    I agree with you regarding jovetic. I don’t see him playing in center for PL at least but I think I can assure that may be he won’t get same goals and assists what theo or poldi has but due his skills he will be reliable then both of them on wings.

  18. Manthan says:


    Vela is playing for Real Betis for your kind information not for arsenal.

  19. Manthan says:

    One thing I agree with you is he is better then other England wingers 🙂 🙂

  20. Rasp says:

    Morning Manthan, 😛 he is also good at delivering the low driven cross into the danger area in the box. As a team, we are pretty appalling at delivering high crosses which I guess is why our players tend to hang back for the cut back rather than attacking the goal.

  21. Manthan says:

    Agree 😀

  22. Sav from Australia says:

    Very good point, Mr Gooner In Exile. Theo got the winning goal in the weekend and he has scored goals over the course of the season, but he really does not seem that bothered about team effort. With Theo, it seems its him first, team second, and thats a worrying attitude.

  23. Red Arse says:

    Already GIE has proved a point.

    Look at the discordant views on Theo’s worth, reflecting the fans’ divided opinions, based on just 20 responses.

    Theo has scored 20 goals and it would be curmudgeonly not to give him credit for that, but I bet they are not all Premiership goals.

    It should not be forgotten that some goals are ‘opportunity’ goals and could be scored by other players in the same position, if they had been included in the team ahead of Walcott. [Saturday’s winner was an example — beautiful through ball to his feet from Arteta, turn and shoot – score.]
    (Theo just toe-poked it, and the keeper got his hand to the ball, and rather than palm it into the net he should have saved it.)

    The other side of the coin is the contribution that a player should be making to the team overall. Tracking back and helping his full back; breaking up play higher upfield; or at least interfering with the opposition; 🙂 as well as crossing the ball and tackling, are all key elements of any players game, and Theo is sadly lacking in all these aspects.

    I suspect we have all had this conversation many times, and it comes down to subjective opinion, but for me, if AW bought a ‘proper’ winger and not someone who always hankers after being a centre forward, I would be happy to see Walcott go.

    On the other hand, all the above applies to the erratic Gervinho, and I would be happy to see him go to.

    Oh OK, just call me the “Player Slayer”, but that is a genuine assessment from yours truly! 😀

  24. Big Raddy says:

    I just don’t know.

    The stats say one thing and my eyes say another (not that my eyes talk that often).

    Theo flatters to deceive, yet he scores goals no-one else can. His positional sense has improved hugely – QPR – He no longer uses just pace to beat a man and he lasts the full 90.

    BUT Theo continues to be a poor crosser which is a wingers stock in trade, and he has little awareness of where his team-mates are. Add to that his favourite tactic – the ball back to Sagna followed by the spin around his full-back expecting the through ball from Bacary, which hardly ever works.

    He is definitely worth his place and IMO will continue to improve. Then we sell him to Barca for 30m.

  25. I’m with the ‘Player Slayer’.
    Walcott’s main problem, however, is lack of consistency. Always has been.

    See also: GoonerAppa (@VishalBorker), at 10:19 am… first sentence only.

    As for Gervinho, I simply can’t be bothered to write anything about him at all, apart from this one sentence.

  26. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    Well certainly a talking point GiE,.

    According to all the press reports Theo wanted to play as the central striker, Wenger, according to all the press reports, promised him he would give him the chance. Whether you believe all the press reports or not, it is obvious that Wenger has no intention of playing Theo in the central striker role on a regular basis.

    I believe that the new contract was a PR exercise, Arsenal couldn’t be seen to sell yet another top player.

    Theo’s most important asset is his pace, unfortunately our tiki taki passing game ignores that pace, he seldom gets a pass that he can run onto, too often the slow build up allows the defence to get back in numbers and so our flying winger is crowded out he seldom has less than two defenders on him yet he has still contributed 20 goals and 17 assists.

    Gervinho, Podolski or Walcott? Walcott every time!

  27. Rasp says:

    The problem with the interaction between Theo and Bacary in an attacking sense may have more to do with BS. He cannot beat a player any more, the half a yard of pace he lost after his double leg break has seriously curtailed his attacking threat – he’s never been a great crosser of the ball. One of the best performances from BS this season was at centre back, if we keep him, I would expect him to be a utility defender as Jenks poses a greater attacking threat.

  28. Red Arse says:

    Theo’s goals this season, to date.

    Premier 13, Europe 1, FA Cup 1, League Cup 5. = 20 goals.

    The Premiership goals included a hat trick in a weird 7:3 game against Newcastle.

    The League Cup goals were scored against Coventry and Reading.

    I think 10 of the 20 goals he scored were against teams who are in relegation trouble, or in a lower League.

    I don’t suppose that proves anything one way or the other — but …

  29. Norfolk Gooner says:


    Quote “the ball back to Sagna followed by the spin around his full-back expecting the through ball from Bacary, which hardly ever works”. Is that all down to Walcott? Or does Sagna have to carry the can occasionally?

  30. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Big Al,

    I’m with you on Gervinho, waste of a squad number.

  31. Walcott’s GOALS stats, produced hastily please note…

    13 goals … Premiership League
    5 goals … League Cup
    2 goals … FA Cup
    1 goal … EUFA Champions League

    Note: Walcott has played in 30 games (if the data is up-to-date).
    So, if my maths is correct his League ratio is :
    1 goal every 2.3 games.
    That’s better than many strikers.

  32. Sorry Red Arse…
    I was preparing my stats as you posted, obviously.

  33. Rasp says:

    The breakdown of all of Theo’s goal and assists stats are in the side bar above …. I don’t know why I bother 🙄


    1. Robin Van Persie … Manchester United … 25
    2. Luis Suárez … Liverpool … 23
    3. Gareth Bale … Tottenham Hotspur … 20
    4. Christian Benteke … Aston Villa … 18
    5. Michu … Swansea City … 17
    6. Demba Ba … Chelsea … 15
    7. Romelu Lukaku … West Bromwich Albion … 14
    7. Rickie Lambert … Southampton … 14
    8. Frank Lampard … Chelsea … 13
    8. Dimitar Berbatov … Fulham … 13
    8. Theo Walcott … Arsenal … 13
    9. Wayne Rooney … Manchester United … 12

    All strikers except:
    Bale, Lampard, Walcott are midfielders/wide midfielders.
    Rooney hasn’t featured in all games as a striker.

  35. Rob Lucchi says:

    I think the most important thing that Theo have is the homegrown ticket. It’s 15 mil for Zaha or 3 mil for resigning him. Honestly I pick him over Zaha..

  36. […] seuran parhaiten palkatun pelaajan asema ei ole tilannetta helpottanut ja tietysti ei pidäkään. Tässä yksi artikkeli aiheesta. Henkilökohtaisesti en ole mikään Walcottin suuri fani, mutta tehojen puolesta mies on paikkansa […]

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    I can speak and write Double Dutch but I never completed my Finnish courses?

  38. Rasp says:

    This is google translate’s version of the comment from Finland…..

    the club the best paid player position is not the situation eased, and, of course, should not be either. Here’s one article on the subject. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Walcott, but the powers on behalf of a man is true .

    …. I think we can get the gist 😕

  39. charybdis1966 says:

    Hi N5 – that Finnish translates via google as “the club the best paid player position is not the situation eased, and, of course, should not be either. Here’s one article on the subject. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Walcott, but the powers on behalf of a man is true” – I think you can get the basic idea.

    Afternoon , for me 20 goals and 17 assists will do fine, if he does better in 13/14 we are laughing, otherwise we can flog him – everyone’s a winner 🙂

  40. charybdis1966 says:

    Ha, Raspers beat me to it.

  41. LB says:

    Brilliant post

    “Is he going to become a luxury we can ill afford?”

    And one that clearly refers to the future; even so, many bring up Walcott’s stats for this season which as I see it have nothing to do with the point of the post.

    The attack is not good enough.

    Maybe good enough to come forth but is there anyone who seriously thinks it is good enough to win the league? I think not.

    In my opinion, the club did well to re-sign Theo even if for the simple reason that we avoid him being able to walk on a free as many have already pointed out.

    I have no problem with the club selling him so long as he is replaced with someone who is more suited to our style of play.

    I still think Suarez would be just about as perfect as it could get. Yes he comes with a lot of baggage but with a change of diet I am sure he could be persuaded to stop biting people.

  42. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Well that’s great! They’re not exactly setting the world on fire are they?

    Do we want any of them back?

  43. GoonerB says:

    Great article GIE and a real debatable subject. I think you have touched on an area that is a very important issue for the club and will be key to its ability to compete at the top level next year.

    It is interesting to look at Theo individually but I also feel he needs to be analysed in relation to the attacking unit (in our squad) he forms a part of. I would therefore have to include Giroud, Podolski, Gervinho and the Ox in any assessment like this, so if I was being pedantic (forgive me GIE) I would say your statement about whether Pod can play the number 9 being another issue, is actually very much a part of any issue when individually assessing Walcott.

    For me there is something missing in our attacking unit and I don’t feel that Walcott is the key issue. In fact I feel that if the main deficiencies in our attacking unit were addressed that Walcott would become even more potent a threat. He still has his deficiencies when running from deeper and getting stuck in 2 minds but even with this he seems to have improved, and his runs or dribbling ability now look a lot more confident and with a better certainty about them.

    There were strong rumours of Guardiola at Barca, Chelsea and even Utd being interested in Theo if he didn’t re-sign with us. I feel some of those rumours may have had some merit. I would also ask myself the question that if I was offering any of those teams, or another top team, the chance to have any of Theo, Giroud, Podolski, Gervinho or the Ox from us, my gut feeling is that the overwhelming majority would plump for Theo. I think in the right set up his deficiencies would become negligable while his strengths would become enhanced and other clubs recognise what a dangerous player he potentially is.

    Podolski is maybe our most natural finisher but I feel Walcott is our second best and not far behind him. I do however feel that Theo seems to be finding the better positions and space in the box and is therefore giving the midfielders better options for the pass. I also think that we need (as some have mentioned) a better overlapping FB so that when Theo pulls inside he has an option to get our RFB behind their LFB. I think Jenks with his pace, great engine and crossing ability will grow into this role nicely.

    I actually think our main issue is with the number 9 role. Big Al’s table of scorers at 11.57 tells us all we need to know I feel. Giroud for me is a worthy 2nd choice number 9 while it remains uncertain whether Pod has what it takes for this role at the top level. Combinations of our domestic and European rivals will be snapping up Falcao, Lewandowski and Cavani and unless Podolski suddenly blossoms in this role or AW can pull something out of the hat for next season, I fear we will end up well behind our main rivals again next year.

  44. Rasp says:

    Hi GoonerB, what do you think of Dzeko if he’s let go by city. I know we can’t get near his current wages but he may wish to stay in the UK.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    What about Hernandez at MU?

    Dzeko ….. why not? But is he intelligent enough in his passing. OG is very good at spotting players in better positions.

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m not into transfer speculation and I feel that AW will be his typical self and surprise us all, so lets hope it’s a positive and not a negative surprise.

    My hopes of us securing a CL spot are really low, if Spurs win at Chelsea we are as good as scuppered as they will both be a point ahead of us and we will all have 2 games left………..

  47. Red Arse says:


    I do not think you were being pedantic, at all, and I understand your premise that you cannot assess Theo without assessing all the other ‘forwards’.

    In any work environment it is normal to assess how teams or units are operating. If a team is meeting targets, or objectives, normally that merits a tick and the manager moves on to more pressing matters.

    It is not unknown for a team to perform better than the sum of its individual parts, possibly because a ‘weak’ team member is carried by the others because his or her contribution to the team helps it to gell or improves the general morale or whatever.
    Can this be the case in football?

    However, if a team is assessed and is deemed not to be working, the manager will then look at each team member or component.

    If someone like Theo (in the above example) is deemed by management to not be up to scratch, (and that is not the case with Theo, despite the views of myself and many others) 🙂 he would be offered training/coaching to help him improve, and if that fails he should be replaced.

    It is possible that a course of training, or replacement is all that is necessary for the team to ‘click’, again. If not, then other team members would be individually assessed and the same process can be instigated.

    Of course, this process can be contiguous with all team members being assessed at the same time.

    I think your point is valid. But the one ‘discrepancy’ for those of us who find Theo wanting in some areas is that …………………. AW does not agree with us, so end of! 😀

  48. goonermichael says:

    At the time i wasn’t bothered if we’d sold him. I think he’s fairly average.

  49. goonermichael says:

    Just booked tickets to Japan and my trip conveniently coincides with the 2 friendlies 🙂 I’ve never been to Nagoya

  50. LB says:

    Now that is what I call serious away support.

  51. lance says:

    I could manage Arsenal if all that is required is the acquisition of gifted players.
    Judging by the responses Wenger is not doing a very good job at managing a Team with limited resources.

  52. GoonerB says:

    Hi Rasp, I have been away for a bit. Dzeko i am not sure about. part of me has liked him in the past and until recently his stats have been good. I am starting to wonder whether he is in that “next tier” of forwards which includes the Benticke’s of this world. He is certainly behind both TH14 and Judas Van Cloggen in quality, so we would still be behind what we have enjoyed recently. My worry is that he could be behind Lewandowski, Falcao and Cavani as well, and I could possibly see 2 of these ending up in the EPL next season, and not for us.

    What about Benzema. His technical link up play matches those at the top level. His goal-scoring stats maybe not so much recentl,y but could Aw bring that side of his game to the top level. I would also be interested if anyone knows anything more about a couple of those in Spain. What about Negredo? Could Adrian Lopez be ready to be a number 1 striker at a top club and step out of Falcao’s shadow?

    Thank you for your kind words RA. I think you were just trying to match me for length of comment but you have unfortunately come up slightly short. Just keep practicing and you shall succeed.

  53. JM says:

    We need a “second striker/inside forward” to supplement our main striker in our staggered 4-2-3-1 formation.

    Any combinations of Giroud, Podolski, Walcott & Gervinho for the above 2 positions.

    Followed by playing with 2 creative midfielders/wingers (e.g. Cazorla, Rosicky, Wilshere, The Ox) in our centre attacking midfield and the other attacking left/right flank, with the remaining 2 midfielders sitting between DM & CM zones (Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Coquelin, Diaby etc)

    AW is fine-tuning our side’s positional play closer to what BM and BD are fielding in their 1st teams:

    Main striker: Mandzukic, Gomez, Pizarro
    Second striker/Inside forward: Mueller, Mandzukic

    Creative midfielder: Kroos, Shaqiri, Mueller
    Creative winger: Ribery, Robben, Shaqiri

    Holding & Transition midfielders: Schweinsteiger, Gustavo, Tymoshchuk, Martinez


    Main striker: Lewandowski, Schieber
    Second striker/Inside forward: Reus

    Creative midfielder: Goetze, Reus, Bittencourt
    Creative winger: Blaszczykowski, GroBkreutz

    Holding & Transition midfielders: S.Bender, Gundogan, Kehl, Leitner, Sahin

  54. Red Arse says:

    No, no, thank you, GoonerB, you could not have said anything to me more welcome than that my comment was not long enough, however undeserved the praise may be.

    I have tried to precis my responses, so that readers do not glaze over, curl up and experience a near death feeling of ennui from reading my efforts.

    However, time and time again, despite my best efforts, I find my comments, and the number of words used, just perfectly match what I want to say. 😀

  55. goonermichael says:

    I’ve just looked at the league tablt Wigan and Newcastle are fighting each other to stay up. Two tough fixtures I think

  56. GoonerB says:

    I agree GM they will be tough fixtures. I am not sure I see 2 wins for us. I could see a win and a draw so for me it is important that the Chavs win tomorrow so that we will only need a win and a draw.

  57. Kgooner says:

    Interesting thoughts there @JM
    that would make a great post. I’m not taking over Evonne’s ruses to get you into writing one (we love for that evonne) . Just pointing out your comment is deserved of a post

  58. “Arsenal target…”
    “The Gunners linked…”
    “Wenger prepares to swoop…”

    I said it a few days ago… each and every player you name will (almost certainly) not be joining Arsenal.

    Who were Wenger’s first signings?
    Vieira, Garde, Wreh, Boa Morte, Anelka…

    Easy, peezy, lemon squeezy, they were obvious choices! 🙂

    Look through the A-Z of the rest of Le Prof’s signings.


  59. Goonermichael, and GoonerB

    Saturday 27 April 2013
    Newcastle 0 … Liverpool 6

    btw, Suarez didn’t play 🙂

  60. RockyLives says:

    Nice one GiE

    Football is about results first and we can’t ignore the results of what Theo has contributed this year.

    He has improved considerably this year in terms of strength, as well as the ability to beat people with skill, not just with speed.

    As for scoring against “lesser” opponents: thank goodness he has been doing exactly that and long may it continue!

  61. Gooner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, been some great comments today it was as many have realised a discussion piece, I’m not sure I know what’s best for Theo or what’s best for the team.

    To deal with some tactical points made, GoonerB I agree the Pod question is probably relevant to a debate about what Theo brings to the team, I think it telling that Wenger has left him out (to cover striker spot?) but not Theo. I was also going to do another post about Theo and Pod and their roles in the attack and why maybe they are not suited to their most frequently played positions.

    JM lists some sides above and their formations with 2nd strikers, however for me neither Reus, Muller, Goetze or Kroos can be pigeonholed as second strikers or attacking/creative midfielders, they combine both roles working off a striker who takes up good positions and holds the ball well.

    For us to get the best out of Theo and Pod they would need to play I opposite flanks, especially from a defensive view point, as to be in position to score goals with their preferred foot they have to be narrow from their current positions, this means they can clutter the area too early as they move into scoring positions.

    Take a look at Messi, a left foot wizard who plays on the right, he can keep wide until the key moment as when he is attacking the goal he is on the best foot to give him the most shooting options, curl, power, across the keeper, near post. Who did we have that did that best? TH14 of course.

    Now the difference between Messi and TH14 and Pod and Theo is their ability to control the ball with their weaker foot and to pass with that weaker foot. Hence why Pod and Theo can’t start on their best sides the way we play, far too many balls would go astray.

    Gervinho, Ox, Cazorla, TR7, Ramsey, Arteta and to a lesser extent JW, are all capable of playing the ball with either foot. Look over at West London ( I know it’s a horrible view) and you’ll see three gifted two footed players in Mata, Hazard and Oscar.

    This variety leaves defences unbalanced, with Theo in the side our variety is only on the left and centre.

  62. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just read the story on BBC that Dortmund have had 500,000 requests for tickets.

    Their allocation? 24,000 in a 90,000 arena. What an absolute joke football has become. Assuming Nunich have same allocation that’s 42,000 non fans at one of the biggest finals in German football history.

  63. GIE
    It is(?), was pretty much the same story for our FA Cup Finals.
    I remember even back to 1971, and ’72 also, where the allocation per club was pathetically small. In a 100,000 arena at the time.

    More recently…
    Liverpool and Chelsea have been allocated just 25,000 tickets each for their FA Cup final … many wondered where the remaining 40,000 tickets for Wembley would be allocated … the governing body stresses that the remainder will go to the wider football community from the grassroots of the game to the 763 clubs who entered this year’s competition. Some 17,000 go to Club Wembley members who are effectively season ticket holders at the stadium, with proceeds from the sales of these being invested back in the game.

  64. GoonerB says:

    GIE. Excellent analysis on playing them from opposite flanks and it is a point I have made re Theo and Pod before. TH14, Pires and Overmars have done this well for us and Messi and Ronaldo are obvious current examples. How many goals has Bale scored recently driving in from the right to get the shot off on his left?

    I also prefer seeing the Ox from the left and despite having a thunderbolt right footed shot he is also a bit more 2 footed than Theo or Pod. So what is the answer? I feel Theo has a bit more ability on his left foot than Podolski does on his right but he hasn’t been tried too often from the left. When he has played there I seem to remember he has scored a couple of corkers driving in at pace from the left flank.

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    That was the rough allocation when we played Barca in Paris.
    I remember being surprised at the non-reaction to any goal from about 50% of the stadium and the lack of atmosphere given the occasion.

  66. mickydidit89 says:

    Maybe the solution lies in better tactics.
    For example: if we’re playing a team with a particularly vulnerable RB, then play Theo and Pod simultaneously down the left and no-one on the right 🙂

  67. Gooner In Exile says:

    Micky that’s proper thinking out of the box hehe.

    BigAl the FA Cup has always had that allocation issue. Every season our club would have a raffle for the pair of tickets, always a useful fundraiser. Other clubs would give them to supporters who always attended the games (unfortunately he could never take his normal companion Fido).

    But I never saw it as a negative as it was English football fans attending the final of a competition their team took part in. (Even if it was only in the 1st Qualifying round)….closest I got to first round proper was going out in the second to last qualifying round….our FA Cup campaign normally started in July!

    The Champions League final will be dominated by corporate seats and that is the crying shame

  68. GunnerN5 says:


    Your suggestion @5:28 is not so radical as it might sound.

    Although is a different sport American Football teams frequently “overload” one side of the field to cater for either their strength or the oppositions weakness.

  69. Big Raddy says:

    Like it. You have found a position for the Ox – auxillary right winger.

  70. RockyLives says:

    Our players are quite small. How about we try sneaking an extra one onto the pitch?

    Then Theo and Pod could play left, with Oxo on the right 🙂

  71. GunnerN5 says:

    Maybe they could hide in BFG’s shorts?

  72. jnyc says:

    Nice post and discussion GIE. Basically, i agree with all of RASPS comments on this subject. And he will remember that i was originalky anti- theo, wanted to sell him last year. But as it came time to lose him for nothing, and hear everyone talk about the Arsenal exodus again, i was in favor of keeping him.
    MOST importantly because i liked the agressiveness in scoring he showed in pre season and early as he tried to make a case as a striker. Once he signed, i felt he lost his hunger to prove a point, and it showed in lack of ATTEMPTS on goal. He seems to be out to prove himself again. Besides his goal last week, he had a couple near misses. He is actually a decent poacher, which i think is under rated in value. I also agree that sagnas best days are behind him. Looking forward to more Jenks next year.

  73. Gooner In Exile says:

    Anyone worried that the reason Sagna still gets a game is because Jenkinson and Theo don’t see eye to eye?

  74. Gooner In Exile says:

    GN5 get on to the kit makers, knee length shorts next season, though for the BFG I would be worried that it would increase drag.

  75. RockyLives says:

    In a word: No

  76. RockyLives says:

    And in several words: I think too much was made of the couple of occasions where Theo and Jenks had a bit of a moan at each other. I’m sure they get on just fine.

    With Jenks’s energy and crossing he could really enhance Theo’s threat.

  77. RockyLives says:

    So… what’s the best result for us (if any) in tonight’s Wigan game?

  78. Gooner In Exile says:

    Wigan win…..then they’ll back themselves to be safe by beating Villaat home on last day. Lose and they’ll be scrapping next Tuesday.

  79. RockyLives says:

    I think they’ll scrap anyway GiE.

  80. Gooner In Exile says:

    Probably right Rocky I’m just clutching at very thin straws.

  81. Shard says:

    I only skimmed through the article as I don’t have much time, but I think you might be right GiE. Every time that I think of next season and the players we might need, another wide player/striker always comes to mind, but that’ll be one player too many for that position. I can only imagine that Gervinho might be the one to make way in the squad rather than Theo, because of his new contract. However, his contract does make him worth more, so we might replace him.

    We must keep continuity in mind too though. Theo Walcott is still quite young, and as noted by Wenger recently, he has improved in his finishing. If he can keep adding to his game every season, he might turn out to be a very good player. Are Arsenal patient enough for that? I think we might be for a season or two more. The 3 and a half year contract seems like the perfect length to see how it goes for a season or two more, and then evaluate where we go from there. For both parties I might add. I guess, I think we’ll be keeping Theo Walcott, but hopefully he’ll have to fight for his place a bit more.

    As to his relationship with Jenkinson, I don’t think it’s to do with their personalities. Merely their strengths as players. Walcott leaves Sagna quite isolated, and I think although Jenkinson offers more going forward (based on a very small sample size) he can’t deal with Theo’s lack of cover as ably as Sagna can.

    Plus, a Wigan win might be good because it might force Sunderland to keep fighting for their lives against Spurs.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Wigan will give 100% on Saturday whatever the result tonight. I hope they win and either Newcastle or Sunderland go down.

  83. Shard says:

    I can’t believe it.. We have Mike Dean for the Wigan game, in addition to him being the ref in the Spurs-Chelsea game!

  84. RockyLives says:

    The same Mike Dean who did a little jump for joy when Spuds scored against us at the Ems?

    I sense a stitch-up coming…

  85. Shard says:

    And Wigan’s win percentage under Dean apparently is good enough to win them CL football. The perfect (sh**)storm

  86. RockyLives says:

    Mike Dean…

  87. Shard says:

    Rocky..I was there that day!!! That’s the only game of the last 10 or 12 that we’ve won with MikeDean in charge.. There was a penalty for divey Bale after that goal as well. More and more, I can’t belive that there isn’t a fix.. Does anyone know that ManU hadn’t had a red card (or a penalty) given against them for 560 days before Webb conveniently broke that record (partially..still no penalty) in the game against Chelsea? So many weird stats seem to occur when it comes to ManU.. Are they THAT good? Not even the Invincibles were.

  88. Big Raddy says:

    If Spurs win tomorrow, there is definitely something rotten in the state of Denmark …

  89. Shard says:

    Dean is from Wirral..Which I’m told is not far from Wigan.. and Foy, also from the region, doesn’t do Wigan matches.

  90. Football is riddled with corruption.

  91. RockyLives says:

    Someone should write a Post on this…

    (sorry – not me 😦 )

  92. RockyLives says:

    Defeat for Wigan.

    If Toon and Sunderland win at the weekend Wigan are all but down (they’ll be six points adrift with a worse GD).

  93. I hope they do go down. Why do people rate Martinez?

  94. RockyLives says:

    The Mike Dean thing has really got me worried 😦

  95. Gooner In Exile says:

    I have already written a post about the skew of referees in the north some time back. There is such a number of Lamcashire based refs you’d be hard pressed to get an official for each game involving a Lancarshire ref who wasn’t from there or next door.

    Not one ref from London….only one from the south at all (Lee Probert, Wiltshire)

    4 from Lancashire and Gt Manchester, 3 from Yorkshire, 2 from Merseyside, 2 from North East, 2 from Midlands

    PL consists of 6 London clubs, 3 Lancashire clubs, 2 North East clubs, 2 Merseyside clubs, 1 Welsh, 1 East Anglian, 3 Midlands, 1 south, 1 Berkshire.

  96. Gooner In Exile says:

    If we can’t beat Wigan we don’t deserve CL, there defence was awful.

  97. Untold Arsenal has dissected the referees every which way.

  98. Gooner in Exile says:

    They have opened up a new site now plainly called Ref Watch and they analyse many games not just Arsenal ones, the guys over there forced PGMOL to take down its own website and stop publishing their scores, you can now only access the area with a username and password.

  99. Loads of empty seats in the oilers game

  100. Bayonne Jean says:

    Actually think that Wigan losing could be a good thing. Arsenal have to win the Wigan game no matter what. By Arsenal winning, it keeps Wigan at 35 points with one fixture left. That means Toon only need a draw at QPR to make them safe, so they then can pack it in for their finale against the Gunners. And if you’ve seen the way Toon have played in 2013, when they haven’t turned up for anything, then they are not likely to turn up for a match that means nothing to them.

  101. Shard says:


    I can ill afford the time, but I was so worked up that I spilled my anger onto a word document (since you said someone should write a post on this) I don’t know if it’s post worthy, and I probably didn’t make as much sense as I would like.. Still..it’s something which I spat out in double quick time.. Should I send it to arsenalnuts?

  102. RockyLives says:

    Hi Shard
    I think Peaches and Rasp would be delighted.

    And I, for one, would like to read it.

    If Spuds get a dodgy win tomorrow helped by Dean we’ll really know something is up.

  103. Rasp says:

    Hi Shard, yes please, email your article to arsenalnuts@live.co.uk thanks

  104. Apparently we’ve just signed the biggest kit deal in UK with Puma

  105. Very big rumour that rednose is retiring. Please God

  106. Shard says:

    Rasp, Rocky

    I’ve sent it. Ok..Back to the books now.. Although it’s late..Maybe I should go to bed..Sigh.. So little time, so much to do 🙂

    P.S. Yaayy for our big kit deal (if true) …

  107. Irishgunner says:

    I fear this is real life – Bale is trying to trademark his ridiculous goal celebration 😆


  108. like he’s the first one to do it. Wanker

  109. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Shard
    Good luck withe the work.

  110. gunners78 says:

    You only talk about his goals, lets not forget he gives us good assist. Also teams have to plan for his speed regardless of what he is doing on the pitch. He is also by far our best crosser which is sad to say but true. The factis the team is harder to defend with Theo on the pitch. We should run a 4-4-2 IMO.

  111. RockyLives says:

    Good points 78
    I agree with them all, but can’t see AW going back to 4-4-2

    Are you up late or non- UK?

  112. Gooner In Exile says:

    If the Puma deal is true it’s good, but I do hope we don’t get one of their skin tight affairs.

  113. chas says:

    Skin tight would look good on you, GIE

  114. mickydidit89 says:

    Gazidis doing some very good work recently.

  115. mickydidit89 says:


    Mini Exile makes me laugh every time 🙂

  116. Gooner In Exile says:

    🙂 Chas, never much been into corset wear.

  117. LB says:

    Mini Exile puts a smile on my face and gives me a sense of well being every morning. I do like that picture.

  118. Morning GIE, 🙂

    I went straight into agreeing a point you made within your Post, yesterday, and omitted to compliment you on a good conversation starter, so I am doing so now!! 🙂

  119. Red Arse says:

    Bugger! Now I will attract an unwanted visitor back. 😦 Sorry!

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    £30m! Must be a lot of money in kits

  121. Red Arse says:

    Morning BR, 🙂

    I am intrigued as to whether or not the reported £30m kit sponsorship includes the training kit as well?

    It seems that Manure negotiated an additional sponsorship for theirs.

    Seems like the commercial guys are starting to earn their corn. 🙂

  122. Gooner In Exile says:

    I think ManUre exploited a loophole in their contract with AIG to negotiate the DHL deal….I would imagine all kit sponsors from now on will not let that happen.

    As for our continued Emirates sponsorship I am a bit sceptical as the stadium naming rights are in it too.

    The Puma manufacturing deal seems very good though.

  123. Big Raddy says:

    The money is meaningless if it is not spent on the team.

    There will be many a post speculating upon where we need strengthening, so no need to start one here 🙂

  124. Red Arse says:


    I am amused that everyone is already spending the £30m sponsorship money from Puma on transfer fees, even tho’ it does not kick in until the end of next season.

  125. Adrian says:

    Just a question, since when was scoring against “lesser” opponents perceived as a drawback? Heck, last weekend against QPR if Theo didn’t score on his first chance against a “lesser” opposition I seriously doubt we would have even scored once. A goal is a goal no matter against whatever team, goals win games.

  126. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……

    ….. New post …….

  127. Gervinho is a mess! The sooner we get rid of him the better. Theo needs to up his game you are right on that and he does need to get more involved and run at players he needs to look at ronaldos game and take note on how to make defenders sh_t themselves of do a bale and which it forward and run on to it. A few comments mentioned podolski I like him he’s a nice bloke, but it would be nice I’d he turned up for more than 4 minutes a match and contributed a little.We need to have a strong look at the forwards going into next year why can’t we try 442 over the summer to test it out there’s no school like the old school.

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