Theo Had A Blinder Against Sunderland. Seriously.

No I mean it, I really do.

I know some smart Alec will be saying: “Shouldn’t the headline be ‘Theo had a blindfold against Sunderland…’?”

And it’s true he wasn’t perfect – far from it. The little matter of missing four great opportunities to kill off the game before half time definitely goes in the “debit” column.

But he nevertheless did something that could turn out to be very significant for our season: he showed a certain talented German of Turkish descent that (a) he knows where to run and (b) he has the pace to get there ahead of defenders on a regular basis.

walcott ozil

I should think that Mesut Ozil will have looked at Theo’s performance and thought “I can give this guy a LOT of goals. And he’s not a preening, diving narcissist like another fast winger I’ve had to play with in recent times.”

By now some readers will have fingers poised over the 12 or 13 letters of the keyboard that they know how to use, itching to tell me that I’m an idiot and that Theo is clueless.

So first let’s deal with our Number 14’s misses at the weekend. He had four decent chances. A couple were well saved by the Black Cats’ ‘keeper, and one headed opportunity went well wide (but was harder than it looked because Theo was stretching to reach it).

It wasn’t Theo’s best day in front of goal. In fact he was about as clinical as a bowl of bacteria. But he has shown us repeatedly that he can finish well in one-on-ones and there is no reason to think he has lost that ability overnight.

Last season he was our top scorer and without his decisive ability to put the bladder in the onion bag we would not be getting all excited about playing Marseilles this week.

Every attacking player has days when things don’t come off. Yes, even the great St Thierry d’Henry had games where he couldn’t convert when homing in on goal with only the ‘keeper to beat. For Theo, Saturday was one of those days.

If I have one quibble (the doctor says I should have two) it would be that Theo always seems to try to finish a one-on-one by shooting low into the corners of the goal. This is generally good practice, but once in a while, when there is space, I would like to see him try an Ian Wright style “dink” over the ‘keeper. His first chance on Saturday was a case in point.

But we must not overlook the fact that he made some great runs and got himself into positions where, on another day, he would have bamboozled the custodian and walked away with the match ball. I can guarantee that Ozil has not overlooked that fact.

Ozil’s through ball for Theo’s second (I think) one-on-one was a thing of peculiar beauty. There was barely a yard of space between two Mackem defenders but the Wizard of Oz (thankyou Evonne) slotted the ball through the gap with the perfect line and weight for Theo to take it in his stride. A fraction out on the line and the defenders would have cut it out. A fraction overhit or underhit and the chance would not have been on. It was simply perfect.

The fact is, Ozil will make Theo a better player this season by giving him more and better opportunities to score. And score he will.

Theo is one of those players who can never do enough to please some fans. I watch every single Arsenal game and I see a player who has added intelligence, finishing and team play to his natural speed. If you want to slag him off for the missed chances at Sunderland, perhaps you should cast your mind back to the game against Totteringham, where his fine run and low cross set up Giroud for the only goal of the game. In that derby match, no Theo, no three points.

I believe he is the best right winger playing in the Premier League right now Who would you have ahead of him? Ashley Young? Don’t make me laugh. Nani? Waste of space. Aaron Lennon? There’s only one decent Aaron in North London and we’ve got him. Na$ri? Not really a right winger, and in any case he is nowhere near as consistent as Theo. Can you imagine him having a 21 goal season? No, neither can I. Juan Mata is a very good player but is not really a winger. Then you’re into the likes of Adam Johnson and James Milner (enough said).

I know Walcott took stick from some pundits after England’s lacklustre performance last week.

I probably have my Arsenal blinkers on but to me it looked like the media really enjoyed putting the boot into Theo and Jack Wilshere just because they’re from Arsenal, when in fact the whole England team failed to sparkle. (As it happens, I thought England did a dull but professional job and have put qualification for Brazil firmly in their own hands).

In any case, my instincts when the media nitwits are having a pop at one of our lads is to stick up for him, not to pull on my Doc Martins and join in the kicking.

Barring injury, Theo will score somewhere between 15 and 25 goals for Arsenal this year. When Bobby Pires was adorning our left win you could generally rely on him to pitch in with about 17 a season. If Theo matches that for a second consecutive year we need to start giving him the love we gave Bobby.

If he’s had a slow start, so what? Others have made up for it – not least Ollie G and the increasingly wonderful Aaron Ramsey.

Indeed if Aaron’s case has taught us anything, it’s that we should support our boys when things are not going well for them, because when their form comes back we will be very grateful.

The Theo knockers need to back off and get behind him.


98 Responses to Theo Had A Blinder Against Sunderland. Seriously.

  1. John Gee says:

    Spot on. Whenever Theo starts a run the entire Arsenal (and England) supporters rise up in expectation. I know his completion rate is not great but is improving. He is a huge asset to both Club and Country.

  2. I.P. from South Africa says:

    I find it difficult to understand what Walcot contributes constructively on a CONSISTENT basis to Arsenal and England, apart from some very speedy runs and the infrequent goal. With his speed he should be contributing at least 20 plus goals a season to Arsenal alone, however, it appears that a lack of ball-control and presence of mind will forever hamstring his potential.

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    Nice one Rocky, there’s not much doubt in my mind that Theo can make a significant impact this season for one very good reason, he will get more space.

    Defenders will be drawn to Mersut Ozil like moths to a flame thus creating gaps which our flying winger can exploit and Mersut is good enough to pick the vital pass even when faced by three defenders.

    A little bit of composure and the goals will flow for Theo.

    A bit of good news in The Telegraph this morning, Giroud will be fit to play against Marseille on Wednesday, I sincerely hope it turns out to be true.

  4. 26may1989 says:

    That is a terrible post, Rocky, what am
    I meant to do with that when I agree with every word?! 🙂 Chapeau for you, sir.

    And IP, if it’s consistency you want, is 21 goals and 14 assists in 43 appearances last year not enough for you? Perhaps you’ve been watching your Chris Waddle punditry reruns?

  5. Dave says:

    He’s always bn a seasonal player in terms of goal scoring n I beliv he’s season is nt yet here bt overrall, once he’s fit, he’s always almost indispensible. Very dangerous n an important player whether he’s scorin or nt. COYG!!!

  6. Rasp says:

    Spot on Rocky, I was one of the loudest voices on here calling for Theo to sign a new contract last year.

    He will prosper from Ozil’s distribution as you say. The beauty of the passes to Giro and Theo was that they were timed and executed with such touch and precision that the strikers did not even need to check their strides.

    I still think Ozil should be compared to Cesc rather than DB, he may not score as many goals as DB or be as good defensively as Cesc but he is every bit as good (if not better) with his distribution and he is pacier on the ball.

    Theo is probably right percentage wise to keep the ball on the ground when shooting (something he must have picked up from TH14) he can execute the deft ‘dink’. On Saturday he was unlucky to hit the keeper’s legs twice, on another day he could have notched up two goals.

  7. chas says:

    Excellent, Rocky.

    Theo is one of our biggest threats, especially on the counter. He’ll always score goals and provide a final pass, too.
    His finishing has always been better coming in off the left when he can open his body up and aim almost outside the far post. It’s so much harder to give yourself that extra room coming in off the right when the goalie has his angles down.
    This vid has a couple of instances of him cutting back and shooting with his left which is another way of opening up the angles.

    Perfectly dangerous.

  8. ArsenalGuy says:

    All Walcot needs to do to score from a one on one position on the wing is two things. First, when the keep is rushing towards him all he has to do is chip the ball high up above the keeper towards the goal like Lionel Messi does for Barcelona. Secondly, when the keeper is at his post waiting for a shot, all Walcot has to do is shoot a ground shot and diagonally to the far post and the keeper will stand no chance of saving it. If Walcot doesn’t do this, Ozil’s passes will expose him as a wasteful player and his confidence will drop when the fans starts getting on his neck.

  9. lance says:

    the problem with walcott is he has no footballing brain. he hoes not know whether to dribble , pass , chip or side foot. he has no composure…like a headless chicken,

  10. Well written mate..ozil is a great asset and if Walcott and ozil can combine..they can form one of the fastest partnerships..we all know how fast theo is..people said he doesn’t have the footballing brain and crap but last year he proved everyone wrong..and this year..he has a big role to play ..with the way giroud is notching up goals he has to put in balls like he did for the spurs goal..we all know how ozil can expose any teams defence and literally open them with one pass..Walcott needs to step up his game right now cause after a while oxide chamberlain is coming and he has a real chance..and Walcott will be under immense bad game and every body going crazy..chill give him chances he will perform. Please read my blog am new thanks 🙂 and once again Well written

  11. Alfygun says:

    Far too early for everyone to jump on Theo’s back. He is obviously going to get many, many more chances this season, if he gets the sort of service he got on Saturday and he hasn’t got 10 or so PL goals by January then people can start to ask some questions.

  12. Morris says:

    Theo W. was our highest goal scorer last season. Right now, it does not appear like he has been getting it all wrong; no he hasn’t. I think that it will be wrong for any true Gunner to describe Theo as a seasonal striker. Rather, I feel that true @Arsenal fans should give him all the necessary support to get it right again. Right now, Theo is going for power in his strikes; I guess because his goals are late in coming and he is anxious to get it started. But, he will do better to strike a combination of power and wit whenever he’s within scoring range. This season, I see Theo Walcott getting more hat tricks than he did last season and ultimately surpassing his effort last season.

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Going back to the Sunderland game, I do think the referee is getting too much of a slating. Yes, with hindsight, he should have let play go for a second or two longer, but that’s only hindsight talking. The Sagna-Altidore grappling match had been going for long enough that Atkinson probably felt it was time to blow his whistle. And there is no reason to suppose Altidore would have scored had the whistle not been blown, since that stopped Sagna and Kos busting a gut to stop the attack. If Atkinson had played the advantage and Altidore had (with Kos, Sagna and Szczesny challenging him) missed, the Sunderland players would have complained about that, and said they would have preferred the free-kick.

    As for a red card, you can make a case for it, but that would have lacked all common sense and would have been completely disproportionate: the two players were fouling each other, so the referee was in the position of having to choose which one was more to blame than the other. Giving Sunderland the free-kick was enough to reflect his view that Sagna was more to blame; some refs would have given a red card as well but that would have been extremely harsh and an unthinking application of the rules.

    With the boot on the other foot, I might have felt aggrieved, but in truth referees can’t win in these situations. I think Atkinson’s decision was pretty fair and reasonable overall. Trouble is pundits don’t get much for being reasonable.

  14. chas says:

    Any suggestions?

  15. Arseniel says:

    Good hit fella!

  16. Podge says:

    Don’t see how a player can be criticized so much after a season he scored 21 goals and had 14 assists from the wing. His play directly accounts for 35 goals last season that is indisputable proof he has a good ‘footballing brain’ and end product. I’ll criticize him for a poor performance and missing those chances lowers his rating for that game but I still expect to see similar numbers as last season or even better come May.

    As Arsenal fans we have a habit of overreacting to one game if a player performs brilliantly he is instantly world class or a fantastic team effort and we’re title contenders. The opposite is true lose to Aston Villa in unusual circumstances and suddenly we’ll be lucky to finish 5th, Walcott misses 2 routine chances and a more difficult chance suddenly we’re back on his ‘footballing brain’ debate again.

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Well done Rocky a typically well thought out post.

    I question I would ask is – who else on our team would have both the savvy and speed to be in a position to receive those passes from Ozil? I fully agree that they can make a formidable pairing that has the potential to set up and score goals for fun.

    It’s true that Theo does not possess a natural scoring ability but he
    has worked hard on improving and last season showed that he does have the ability to learn from coaching.

    The pundits always like to find something to criticize Arsenal for and it would appear that Theo is their current target.

    My fear for Ozil is that he will get hacked to pieces in the PL, it’s the only method certain coaches can use to gain an advantage over us!

  18. Your article is fully spot on. I have the same thoughts with you. Theo is fantastic and even Messi has said he would love to have Walcott in his team. I also have no doubts about his goal scoring ability. Arsenal fans are just unnecessarily too critical. Stuffs like Jenkinson should not be playing for Arsenal and Giroud is not a classic number 9. Arrant Nonsense!!!!

  19. Navin Sharma says:

    Excellent commentary. Support the players when they’re down and they’ll respond with productivity and gratitude.

  20. Red Arse says:

    Gd Morning from a warm wet Wichita.

    A spirited defence of Theo, Rocky, and that is no surprise, and neither are the supportive comments from many regulars.

    Some of the criticisms sound a little harsh but have a degree of validity to them.

    Me? Well as usual, I cannot completely agree with either point of view.
    I think Theo has all the attributes to be top class, but so often disappoints, but that is not to say he deserves to be castigated because he is still a very good player, and I want him in th team.

    No — my disappointment stems from when I watched him as a kid for both Southampton and Arsenal, he was brilliant then and I think he still can be now.

    I have never tasted marmite & never will, but Theo seems to be the Marmite kid, loved and loathed in equal measure by many, wiith me in the middle keeping my powder dry awaiting my chance to say ‘I told you so ‘ whichever way it goes. [I should have been an attorney]. 😜

  21. DonCollins says:

    I feel ashamed that you are defending Theo on this Rocky, if not for the English press and their over hype Theo has never been a great player from time. He does wrong you all begin to look for other players to justify his lack of footballing brain, when he does well and you go about singing his praise forgetting that he was not the only one who has done well too in England. Only when is does bad which i think is showing his true nature you begin to look for other players to compare him with. With the hype you give him and how you rate him he should not miss any of those chances world class players will not go check your records. Please let us be honest with the young man to help him improve more than that 16 years old boy, it will be good for his career. if Gervinho was giving all this chances and encouragement he will be the best player at Arsenal or is Theo different?

  22. RockyLives says:



    I wondered if a Theo post would lure you out 🙂

    I can make my joke again: “as you’re in Wichita will you say hello to the lineman?”

    Off for a swim – back to chat in a while.

  23. GoonerB says:

    Nice post Rocky and I agree with you on this. I feel it as more Theo being unlucky plus the keeper keeping a good shape than anything he did wrong.

    One other factor to consider, especially with references to TH and Pires, and also an area that either yourself Rocky, or GIE or Raddy highlighted. Theo is a right footer playing from the right which narrows down the angle at the keepers far post. TH and Pires were mainly scoring from left of centre where, especially in TH’s case, they could open their body and just get that slight bend to sneak it in at the far post. There are not many wide players playing on the flank of their favoured foot that score prolifically with most of the goal-scoring wide players play from the opposite side.

    Theo actually scores more than he is entitled to from this flank IMO, and Had he received all those passes from Ozil on the left side I feel he would have converted at least 1. With the balls coming from our midfield now from, not just Ozil, but Santi, Jack and Rambo, it would be exciting to try both Theo and the Pod from the opposite flanks.

  24. ärnie says:

    Lovely, Rocky, love your post. In analysis and in optimism, that is the spirit.

    On the refereeing decision in the Sunderland game, once again the discussion in the media and blogosphere shows how everyone seems to hate Arsenal. Yes, in hindsight, perhaps the ref could have played a second or couple more. But, there are two problems.

    First, where do you draw the line. Should advantage be played until the next stoppage? Probably not. Then the ref has to make a judgment, And he did.

    Second, going back and saying that surely this was a goal-scoring opportunity because the ball was in the net is fundamentally erroneous. Once the ref has blown, this changes the whole course of the game. The defenders would have slowed down just that little on hearing the whistle. So, you cannot claim ex post that this was a scoring opportunity. Mssrs Hansen and Shearer have just been sinister in propagating this view.

  25. 26may1989 says:

    Agreed arnie. A good rule of thumb is, when you see Robbie Savage saying “It’s just so obvious”, what he then says is probably a load of cobblers.

    Loved this from GN5: “who else on our team would have both the savvy and speed to be in a position to receive those passes from Ozil?”

  26. Has Theo Walcott ever scored a headed goal for Arsenal ? He is a forward who wants to play centrally, but can’t head a ball. He earns £ 100 k per week, surely the Arsenal coaching staff can work with him 2 to 3 hours per week in the afternoons, to get him up to a reasonable level. His failure to even challenge for a ball in the air outside of our penalty area, was directly responsible for the build up to Koscielny’s error for the penalty at Sunderland.
    However I do believe he will get a good return of goals with the wonderful supply he will receive from Ozil, but once again must continue to put in overtime to improve hi technique.

  27. Kevin KJ says:

    On the refereeing decision in the Sunderland game, once again the discussion in the media and blogosphere shows how everyone seems to hate Arsenal.

    Totally agree. But they always have done and always will. That is why Arsenal blogs are full of rival fans pretending they are Gooners. Everyone is obsessed by our club.

    Mugged by some terrible refereeing decisions against Villa and you hear nothing except that we deserved to lose and Villa were better. Really? In fact, more a media celebration that we lost and had bad decisions against us.

    Forward to Sunderland. The hypocrits in the media want everyone to believe that had the Sunderland goal been allowed, Arsenal would not have won. This flies in the face of all the evidence. Arsenal totally outplayed Sunderland. If we had needed more goals, we would have scored them, end of.

    MOTD may have given the impression that this was an even game with their editing and post match comments but it was not. Hansen and Shearer rarely have a good word to say about Arsenal.

  28. jnyc says:

    Rocky im so glad u did this post, it allows me to brag about my prediction here— when we signed Ozil i said Theo would benefit by far the most. Just as Ozil worked great slipping balls thru to Ronaldo, he would give theo MANY chances like we saw saturday, because of his pace. Even i was surprised how easy he made it look. ——-
    now on theos shots- the first i have no problem with, was a great save and the right decision. After the second i thought theo should think about chipping more.
    i read someones suggestion that Theo should be tried on the left, because he will clearly get alot of these types of opportunities, and he can curl the ball a bit more to the far post with his right.
    i know theo can score with his left, we have seen it, but i doubt if he has that much control.
    but i, like you Rocky am so encouraged that Walcott and Mesut found such timing after so little time together.
    i have no patience for the people putting Theo down, i will repeat my prediction :
    Walcott will become the second best scoring winger in Europe.

  29. Red Arse says:


    I gave your regards to the Wichita Lino — and he told me to Eff Off.

    He said Kos should have got a Red card. No sense of humor some folk!!

    He is a Lineman for the County, and he drives the main road. He hears you singing in the wire & the Wichita Lino is still on your case. 😳

    Got to go — interview calls — my CV is rubbish as my American English spelling has gone all British. 😰

  30. RockyLives says:

    Good luck Red.
    Don’t use too many long words 🙂

  31. jnyc says:

    Chas – exactly !! good video example also….
    I think ive heard that santi can play on the right, is that correct?
    well, probably doesn’t matter, I doubt Arsene would switch them. he probably wants theos crosses from the right.

  32. 26may1989 says:

    Kevin: “MOTD may have given the impression that this was an even game with their editing and post match comments but it was not.” Spot on.

    Having watched the whole match, I feel confident in saying that 3-1 flattered Sunderland. Once again, the oppo’s keeper was their best player. Had he not been on form, we could easily have won by five or six, and that wouldn’t have been an unfair scoreline, even with Sunderland’s isolated attacking moments. For almost the entire game, we were in control and dominating, without even firing on more than one cylinder.

    The BBC’s editing really is pernicious, something that’s worth remembering when we watch the “highlights” of other teams’ games

  33. goonermichael says:

    Great post Rocky. I’m not a massive fan of Walcott but he will score plenty of goals especially as we now have Ozil. Ozil’s passing is fantastic.

  34. Evönne says:

    Kevin @ 2:23 – couldn’t agree more, on plastic fans, bad refereeing, orange Shearer and smelly Hansen, Villa and Sunderland games and media hatred of Arsenal.

    Why is it though? They love Wenger, he flirts and humours them, but Arsenal is a trendy thing to criticize. Easy target I guess

    BTW, you forgot to mention the TalkShite radio and Adrian Durham, the real AFC haters.

  35. Evönne says:

    ‘I probably have my Arsenal blinkers on’ – as if 🙂 Thank you Rocky for a greatest, bestest post I have read in a long time.’ You put me right in my place after feeling disappointed with Theo’s performance on Saturday. Yes, I was gutted he missed 4 great chances. But as you rightly pointed out, all attacking players can have a day off colour. Plus, he only had those chances because of his unique qualities to find himself in a position of a sitter. Most players wouldn’t have the speed or the skills to be in those positions.

    Yep, Ozil will make the best of Walcott. I can see them forming a deadly alliance.

    PS I cannot take credit for the Wizard of Oz, I think it was that guy Rasp who came up with it first.

    PPS where were you all last week?

  36. Evönne says:

    Reading some of the comments I have realised that Hansen’s ‘no footballing brain’ is my pet hate.

    Can the Arsenal fans PLEASE stop using it? It is stupid, unfounded and unworthy of any Gunner. Cheers.

  37. MO says:

    You have a point about Theo but he defo had no blinder against Sunderland his misses almost cost us three points, he should have scored at least one of those four chances if not all four, his crossing was useless and all in all a very poor game, but I agree everyone has there off days.

    I do think that Podo will benefit the most from Ozil and will score a load of goals because in front of goal he is lethal.

    I really hope Walcott picks it up this season because I know he assisted one against Spuds but he has been pretty poor overall and against Sunderland he very nearly cost us an easy three points. The guy moaned last season over his contract and he got what he wanted so he needs to pay it back and that means when he gets four chances on a plate like that one needs to go in at least, and I really don’t see a better way to make a claim for the striker position than now considering we only really have Giroud.

    Theo does have his great games but to me its in between far to many average or poor games he needs to step up like Ramsey has and make the starting 11 his own otherwise once we have our injured players back he could well find himself sitting on the bench which could just do the trick.

  38. LB says:

    There are three parts of Theo’s world in play here:

    Theo of the past, Theo of the future and Theo against Sunderland.

    Over the past he has steadily improved to the point where he was leading goal scorer last season; no doubt he will continue improving in the future made all the easier by Ozil’s defence splitting passes.

    But against Sunderland, a blinder he did not have. Had he slotted home his chances, well that would have been something that required eye protection.

  39. weedonald says:

    Great post Rocky and here are a few more reasons Theo is actually having a great season and will only get better:

    1)His positioning is excellent, his finishing is marginal but will improve,
    2) Ozil…there was and is a great ¨understanding ¨between them…goals will come!
    3) He is very speedy and a constant threat given the right help (Ozil/Wlshere,Ramsey/etc.) and will help unbalance tight defenses,
    4) It has become a team effort not just a one man show so even if he can’t score, we have others who can and will.
    5)His brain is definitely in gear, unlike too manyof his critics and whiners on this site!

  40. Rasp says:

    Evonne, when I get my Internet restored, I shall put ‘footballing brain’ in Room 101 🙂

    WeeD, we cannot source a ‘whiner’ filter so we just have to view them as part of the fanbase, in reality I do not think we get that many

  41. goonermichael says:

    We’ve got mike dean for Sunday and manu have howard webb.

  42. goonermichael says:

    Sure it’s not fixed

  43. ärnie says:

    check this out! whats going on?

    “The Football Association has deducted three points from Arsenal Ladies for fielding an unregistered player, England international Katie Chapman. … Arsenal, third in the Women’s Super League with one match, remaining, now cannot qualify for next year’s Champions League through the league. “

  44. ärnie says:

    Sunday still looks a long way away. CL away to Marseille could be tricky. Really should be relatively simple for Arsenal, but given the number of injuries, nothing is simple anymore….

  45. 26may1989 says:

    Very disappointing to see an Arsenal side punished for non-registration, especially of an established international player like Katie Chapman. But the Beeb aren’t quite right to say we can’t qualify for next year’s Women’s CL; if our lot wins this year’s CL, they go through. But for once, Arsenal aren’t sweeping everyone before them in the domestic game, and won’t win the title, so the chances of winning in Europe look poor.

  46. ärnie says:

    26may: I dont know what happened, but the last time I checked before today, I think just after the transfer window closed, they were leading the league. Not by much, but were leading …

  47. 26may1989 says:

    arnie, given the gorup we drew, I think we have to beat Marseille twice. Should be pretty simple….

  48. ärnie says:

    26may: yes, we have to beat them twice. and hence Weds is very crucial. Someone will have to take Giroud’s place. Who? Ramsey may be the best option, I feel. Theo as striker is not a bad bet, but then we will lose the runs down the right.

  49. 26may1989 says:

    arnie, before the deduction, Arsenal were in third, three points off the top, with Liverpool on 33 and Bristol on 31 and those two due to meet on the final day. So, if my maths is right, Arsenal were already consigned to second place at best (and even that assumes Bristol thrash Liverpool).

    It’s probably good for the women’s game that there’s a bit of change. given that Arsenal have won 11 of the last 12 championships. Still, it’s a shame too!

  50. 26may1989 says:

    Giroud’s not ruled out yet, and I bet he plays on Wednesday. But if he doesn’t, Wenger has mentioned Theo. Personally, I’d go for the False Nine option, but then what do I know…..?

  51. ärnie says:

    Thanks 26may, got it!!!!

  52. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for all the comments, chaps and chappesses. I was expecting a bit more Theo bashing, but most people seem supportive, which is good.

    I really rate him (in case you couldn’t tell) 🙂

  53. IanRealGunner says:

    He hit the target on 2 out of 3 and I think his runs are getting better – it will be interesting to see how many goals we get from other players as defenders try to cover Theo’s runs

  54. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all

    RL – Not sure if I said it here but I did say it (honest) to other Gooners and football fans that the player who will benefit from Ozil is Theo. Ozil used to find Ronaldo’s runs 95% of the time, so expected that Theo should try to exploit it now.

  55. Evönne says:

    Rasp – what about putting ‘spend some f**g money’ in Room 101?

    Good evening Miss Irish, how nice of you to make a cameo appearance on AA 🙂

  56. Hi all

    Great post Rocky. Theo – last season at least two of his recent chances against spuds and Sunderland would have gone in. He’s unlucky to have come up against two very good keepers but as others have said at least he gets into those positions. Maybe he could learn a trick when the goal keeper rushes out at him but either way he will be scoring lots of goals for us.

    Now, we need a post for tomorrow, anyone fancy putting something together? Also we’ll need posts for Friday and Saturday.

  57. Haha, well done Rocky, nobody tows the party line and spins it better than you. You must have taught Shane Warne everything he knows 🙂
    As for 26M, whoever won an argument with a lawyer? But your stats can’t hide the fact that Theo Walcott is not a great player, he does a job, sometimes adequately, more often than not, missing in action.
    He reminds me a lot of Rio Ferdinand, another player carried by having better technicians around him. I think 26M would give him credit for spelling his name correctly and putting his boots on the right feet 🙂
    When I think of wingers, I think of players like Jimmy ‘jinky’ Johnstone, Steve Coppell, Peter Barnes, John Barnes, even Chris Waddle. Theo Walcott isn’t in their company in terms of ability, nor is he convincing as a striker. He is a utility player who plugs a gap.

  58. Bïg Räddy says:

    Walcott. He can be so frustrating. Makes the runs, finds the space and then finds the keeper 😀 .

    Thankfully, not every time.

    His link up play has improved enormously, so has his crossing. As has been stated above he remains the best RW in the league,

    Theo is a hugely important player in this team with a skill set which unique in the squad. His contract signing was hugely important to the future of the club

    but, I would love him to be more consistent

  59. Bïg Räddy says:

    WATA. In my opinion, Walcott is better than the wingers you mention apart from John Barnes and Johnson.

    Compare their stats at his age and you will see that Theo scores more and creates as many.

    But John Barnes was the best British winger since Best

  60. Hi BR, sorry I can’t agree, all those wingers had a bit of trickery and knew how to beat a defender. I could have also mentioned Giggs, Ronaldo and Bale, all a lot better wingers than Theo Walcott.
    But it’s only opinion, and the arrival of Ozil might lift Walcott’s game to new heights, here’s hoping.
    We’re top of the table and guaranteed going into the weekend in the top two, things are ticking along nicely at the moment.

  61. Come on Swansea keep us top
    Keep a eye on a left back for the swans Ben Davies great player another Ramsey and bale

  62. Best winger we had if u ask me was Marc overmars great player

  63. 26may1989 says:

    Victor Moses is on fire. 2-1 scousers.

    I don’t know what Jonjo Shelvey is but it’s hard to believe he’s a footballer.

  64. Big Raddy says:

    Good game at Swansea

    Really enjoying Shelvey’s performance but doubt Laudrup is

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Sheep. I agree about Overmars. Brilliant player.

    WATA. You forgot Pires

  66. IanRealGunner says:

    The other discussion on Theo is whether he should take the free kicks? I don’t think anything that he has done so far this season warrants his early season domination of Arsenal’s free kicks. Hopefully Ozil has taken over the duties for good.

  67. 26may1989 says:

    Great wingers in my time: Pires, Kanchelskis, Giggs, Beckham, Overmars, Figo, Ronaldhino, Ginola, Waddle, Barnes, Robben, Ribery, Boniek, Littbarski, Best, Stoichkov.

    But top of the pile has to be Ronaldo, no matter how much of a dickhead he is.

    Walcott would struggle to make that list but could. For all the talk of profligacy at Sunderland, I think he’s as clinical a finisher as numerous better players.

  68. 26may1989 says:

    See, I told you Shelvey’s good, great assist …. 🙂

  69. Big Raddy says:

    26. Involved in all 4 goals so far.

    Really good game and further proof that this season will be tight

  70. Big Raddy says:

    Figo, jairzinho, Lundberg, Laudrup, Rivaldo, Helder, Groves ……

  71. BR, I forgot Pires and Sheep’s shout Overmars. Good call on Best, Unbelievable that he walked out on MU at 26, in 1972-73?
    An honourable mention has to go out to our own Geordie Armstrong
    Good list 26M, the only one I would omit is Beckham.
    Again, not blessed with natural football ability, but he compensated with a first-class attitude and being the ultimate professional, as well as having a great delivery either from crossing or a free-kick.
    There was a brief time when he was a must pick for England, but I think he was very fortunate to get 100+ caps.

  72. RockyLives says:

    Helder 😀

  73. 26may1989 says:

    We aren’t top of the league, say we aren’t….

    Helder and Groves indeed…. 🙂

  74. 26may1989 says:

    Graham Rix might also deserve a mention.

    I always considered Beckham to be a very good player – a bit like Theo, I feel Beckham was consistently underrated. Neither one is a Figo or a Best or a Ronaldo. But still very good.

  75. Need a post for tomorrow all, any insomniac will do 😉

  76. neamman says:

    not worried aBOUT Theo at all, he will come good

  77. Rasp says:

    Morning all, we need a post for today … just a few lines will do …. puuurrrllleeeaaassee

  78. […] quick to voice their frustrations and lash out on Walcott’s bad day at the office, but this brilliant article by Arsenal Arsenal, backs Walcott and has urged the fans to give him a […]

  79. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all. Interesting take on Theo’s game from Saturday, the one thing you always want to see with forwards is that they make runs and get chances. If they don’t take them all so be it, but if they’re there to miss 80% of their job is done.

    It’s why some of us weren’t that worried about Giroud… to Chamakh who hardly ever had the opportunity to miss.

    This season so far Theo has played on his instincts, he is at his most problematic to watch when he has too much time and can be guilty of over thinking. The first two chances on the weekend he had time, I’d guess if he had a defender close by he might have netted one of them as he wouldn’t have had the time to change his mind.

  80. chas says:

  81. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning All,

    Serves Seamo right for having cats (plural).

  82. chas says:

    He probably thought the odd puke clearance was a good trade for handling dog poop twice a day.

  83. chas says:

    Interesting, BR.

    With the quote below, is the chap suggesting that most of our injuries occur while the players are training or (as I suspect) that they are caused by the way we train?
    Is it true that stress fractures, muscle tears and connective tissue damage are caused by over-training?
    Surely connective tissue damage, for instance, occurs from twisting and turning awkwardly not from the tissue being weakened from incorrect training methods?

    “Looking over the reasons cited for injury, the overwhelming majority of the injuries are training-related. Stress fractures, muscle tears, connective tissue damage…”

    One things for sure, we do always seem to be top or near top of the injuries table. I assumed it was because of our playing style and that refs give us much less protection than say Barcelona get.

    I’d be astonished if there was a causal link between Arsenal’s training methods and recurring injuries that the Club hadn’t discovered and then corrected.

  84. Shärd says:

    Morning all,

    BR, that is an interesting article. Like chas, I would be amazed if it were a training issue, and if it is, it must have been calculated to give more advantage than any potential injury risk it carries. According to Clichy, we don’t tackle as hard in training as ManCity do. I’m sure that’ll be twisted to mean we’re somehow unprepared for tackles, but to me it suggests that players’ health is paramount, and everything about Arsenal would suggest that.

    However, the club did feel something was wrong enough to justify investing some tens of millions in a new medical centre. One of the things that talked about was the GPS tracking system, but how it takes time to show results because every player’s ‘baseline’ needs to be set. Perhaps our lack of squad stability also affects their injury record? Just a thought, although not one I think very likely.

    The injury problem is a tough one. We’ve had Walcott who had some recurring shoulder injuries because of some genetic issue. Similarly with Rosicky. Diaby’s injuries I’m sure come down to the tackle by Dan Smith. Gibbs has had fractures and it took him some time to recover. We’ve certainly been kicked a lot. Which also means that with some players out long term, others have to carry more burden, leading to more wear and tear.

    I just remembered that our injury data could also be inflated because of players who have been dropped being declared injured. Almunia was always ‘injured’ before he was on his way out. So was Cesc. I’m sure there were others too. So that might also be a factor.

    I’m almost positive that doping is also an issue. WADA had some problems with the FIFA testing policy, but I’m not sure what (I will look it up one of these days). It would not surprise me in the least to find out that ManU and Chelsea have been using PEDs for their players. Hargreaves even said he felt he was being used as a guinea pig once his injuries started. At least he hinted at it.

    So basically, I think it’s a combination of factors, but I am completely sure that the club is doing all it can to reduce these injuries. At least what they can affect in-house.

  85. Bïg Räddy says:

    Of course the medical staff are committed to keeping the players playing.

    The causes of the injuries are manifold, but is it just coincidence that season upon season we are hit so badly?

  86. Shärd says:


    No it isn’t, however, it’s a tough question to answer as to why. Especially from the outside, but even if you are an insider at the club with all the information. There are too many factors and variables for it to be an easily identifiable problem.

    The last two seasons though, our injury record was generally better than years previous. This season, maybe it’s just that we’re getting them all early in the season as a coincidence?

    The factors to consider. Our training, diagnostic and treatment regimes. Dietary (and medicinal) regimes. The pitch. Players’ genetics. Playing style, referee protection or lack of, squad size, international matches and playing minutes, nature of injuries, correlation of injuries (and minutes and type of injuries, and training etc) with age of players.

    I’m sure there are more, but a lot of these are difficult to process and arrive at a clearly defined problem, which can then be solved.

    Personally, I feel a lot of it was to do with the age of the squad, and the way our matches have been refereed. The number of leg breaks we’ve had in a short time has been unprecedented. And this not only puts other players at more risk of injury. but perhaps even makes them get injured in other ways. In my own experience, any time you start thinking about avoiding injury while playing, you end up more likely to get injured. The assault on Arsenal physically, and psychologically, is what I feel was the main factor.

    The age matters because one, the body hasn’t fully developed yet, and secondly, young players tend to pay less attention to their physical training while older players have to work harder just to stay fit.

  87. RockyLives says:

    This injury discussion would make a good post today.

    Shard’s last comment with a new sentence at the beginning would be perfect.

    Otherwise this will be the first day we have not had a new post, which seems such a shame when we have managed to get through interlulls and periods of great negativity.

    Just a thought…

  88. Bïg Räddy says:

    Good idea RL

    New post

  89. RockyLives says:

    Thanks BR and Shard

    I read a comment in one of the newspapers after the Villa defeat and when everyone was on AW’s back suggesting that Alan Pardew, of all people, was more advanced in his club’s approach to fitness and injury avoidance than AW.

    The implication was that AW was using the methods that helped revolutionize EPL fitness 15 years ago but had not moved on.

  90. Louis says:

    I also think Walcott does not use his brain enough. Yes he does make the right run but then he touches the ball, he is sloppy sometime and when it is time to shoot, it’s like he doesnt know where the goalie is or doesnt anticipate enough. He just shoots like someone told him to. This is why he takes so long to confirm he world class quality. Ozil’s arrival can change something to this. He will have more chances, more actions to be responsible for and I have no doubt he will improve. He showed he is able to make nice finishes when he wants. He will score more than 25 goals this season.

  91. In my opinion, Walcott simply lacks shot technique. This translates into less effects and angle options thus making him both predictable and easier to stop by goalkeepers.

  92. Hello! Thiss post could not be writtten any better!
    Reading ths post reminds me of my good old room
    mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thannk you for sharing!

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