Theo Walcott Drives A Wedge Between Supporters

It appears that opinion on Theo Walcott divides supporters more than any other player – so much so that we’ve received 2 posts on Theo today giving opposing views on his worth to Arsenal. So should he stay or should he go? … have a read through both sets of arguments and cast your vote at the end. Ed

Arsenal’s biggest problem – Theo Walcott

After both the Brighton and Aston Villa games I was vocal in criticising Theo, I promised a post to explain why he was driving me to distraction so here it is.

Alan Hansen once claimed Theo didn’t have a football brain, this was along time ago and has since been proven wrong, however there is definitely a case to argue that he plays better on instinct than when he has to think about it. Take a look at the best goals he scores, when he is reacting under pressure he is far better than others, his quick feet and good shot come to the fore. When he has time to pick a spot in acres of space he can be wasteful.

But this isn’t his problem right now. I don’t think it’s a question of footballing brain but more one of footballing ego, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of arrogance on the pitch and belief in one’s own ability, but there is if it leads you to play in a way that is detrimental to the team.

In my view against both Brighton and Villa he was guilty of the latter, after his early goal against Brighton and the teams early goal against Villa he seemed to be appearing in the centre of the pitch far more than he should and it was forcing others to shift position. Against Villa this caused is to have a very poor hour in front of their goal. Having just watched the MOTD highlights this was confirmed by all our efforts on goal coming when Theo was staying wide, I remember several moments in the first half and one spell in particular where Theo was taking a more central position and our attacks lacked the cutting edge, not only that that but it caused us issues in the other direction. I don’t have a problem with our attack being fluid, but if the wrong players play in the wrong position I do.

Can’t play with back to goal

Theo is simply not physically suited to playing with his back to goal, he is always better running at goal, when he plays central he has to be able to receive the ball to feet under pressure from a centre back and quickly play a pass to an advancing midfielder or wide man.

I don’t think Theo has the best attributes to do this.

Making unselfish runs

When he has done the back to goal thing he has to be prepared to drag his marker away from goal and create space for others.

Against Brighton and Villa he did the first bit, but his next move was towards goal, which in turn made the area more congested as midfielders were trying to run into the space.

I think Theo’s presence centrally is mainly a selfish one to be amongst more goals so I don’t think he will prepared to run away from the goal as both Giroud and Welbeck do when they have played there.

One way to score

When Giroud plays as holdup man his next movement as well as dragging defenders out also presents a concern for defenders, his aerial ability means he can drift to the back post be on hand for a lofted ball or make an angle to be played into feet (especially if he is left side of goal) to score from a cut back. Theo can only really offer the latter. Which again makes us easy to defend against.

Effecting the opponents defensive line

By playing up top Theo’s biggest threat to opposition is a ball over the top, clever centre backs will drop off ten to twenty yard to nullify this, which in turn makes it more difficult to get the midfield and wide men bursting past the line, it also means if playing one of our wide men is Giroud who doesn’t have the burst of pace to offer a threat in the channels.

When Giroud is up top defenders have to mark him higher up the pitch to try and win the ball back earlier. And it means we have pace on the flanks.

Opponents full backs are released

One of the biggest problems is what it does to our balance defensively. With Giroud forced to play wide left or right by Theo’s change of position the opposition full backs are less worried about pushing on and leaving space behind them. Once Giroud has dropped in the full back knows he doesn’t have to be too wary, so can commit fully to his teams attack, which on Sunday afternoon resulted in balls into our box from two angles. If Theo sits wide then he can win the game of chicken with the full back as very few will back themselves in a foot race against our whippet.

The solution

As you can hopefully now see I manor criticising Theo for rustiness or skill set he has many good attributes that if used to the full can result in the goal he scored against Villa or Ozil’s goal our second against Villa.

Picking up the ball deep he had got past the midfield line in a flash and was laying the ball onto Giroud before the Villa defence knew what was happening.

His goal came from receiving the ball from Ospina on the left, and motoring at pace playing the ball to Santi and then intercepting the through ball destined for Giroud who had himself pulled wide creating a gaping hole for Theo to run into.

If Theo plays wide and stays wide until the gaps open up he can be lethal, particularly if working in tandem with Alexis on the other flank.

Writing this post I started to ask myself whether in fact it was Giroud and not Theo that was the problem, but after more consideration I decided not, I think the same would be true if Welbeck, Akpom or Sanogo were available to play up top. And I think what Olivier gives us is a plan A and B on the pitch from the start, take away some of his effectiveness by changing his position and we start to become one dimensional and dare I say it tippy tally again as defences drop deep scared of pace in behind.

When discussing both Ramsey and Coquelin in interviews this season Arsene has talked around the subject of best for the team or best for the player, Ramsey’s desire to get on the scoresheet was creating issues with the rest of the midfield, Coquelin he said had been signed as a ball winner but had begun to believe he was more a box to box player, he is beginning to play like a ball winner again and the team benefits. It’s what I believe makes Alexis such a huge asset and why he has been so instrumental this season, he is prepared to do what’s best for the team and knows how to get the best out of himself.

On Sunday our attack stagnated after our first goal primarily for me due to the positions Theo was taking up centrally, second half he stayed wider longer and was rarely seen waiting for the ball centrally, and suddenly we started scoring again. Time for Theo to use his attributes in the best way for the team, let’s face it we have plenty of options and if he wants the shirt regularly he will have to be a bit more like Alexis and a little bit less like Thierry in his last season.

Gooner in Exile

Theo Walcott – Sell him in the summer

What has changed over the past couple of months which has led to Arsenal fans being positive; something highly unlikely just 12 games ago? In my opinion even if the forces of evil fluke a win in the NLD we will still have a strong finish to our campaign.

The most obvious reason is the return to fitness of many of the most important members of the squad. We have been missing automatic starters in our first 11 – Ramsey, Ozil, Koscielny, Giroud and Walcott; their return inevitably improves our performances. We have seen the surprise arrivals of Bellerin and Coquelin and  although I do not see Coq as a long term solution I would love to be proved wrong.

Ospina seems to be an admirable keeper and made couple of fine saves last weekend. Having kept 3 clean sheets he could be a key improvement in the defence. We have also seen a massive improvement in Monreal  – that he keeps England’s best LB out of the team is evidence of his fine form.


Not Happy

Many say the reason for our upswing in form is a return to sensible defending but in my humble opinion the biggest difference is in the way we attack and in particular the return of Ozil. Ozil is world class, not Rooney world class but proper world class – Iniesta world class. Who else in the PL could have conceived and executed the flick pass to OG on Sunday? The answer is nobody.

Alexis is an automatic starter in any Arsenal team, as is Giroud who has become (very surprisingly) a quality CF – maybe the best in the PL. You may scoff but look at the assists he makes (sunday for Ozil, the flick for Wilshire’s goal of the season etc etc), OG is not a battering ram he is an intelligent striker.

And then there is Welbeck and Oxlade-Chamberlain both of whom deserve consideration thanks to their excellence this season.

And what about Theo?

The man is due to enter contract negotiations this summer. Last time he had us over a barrel as we had just lost Cesc, this time it will be different. I love Theo, he is a wonderful chap and a vastly improved player. He has developed his tactical awareness and makes superb off-the-ball runs. He has toughened up and is able to ride the vicious tackling his pace attracts. He scores goals. But is he good enough to keep either Ox or Welbz out the team, and even if he is the front 6 is surely Coquelin, Ramsey, Cazorla, Alexis, Ozil and Giroud.

Should Arsenal pay over €100k a week for someone who is effectively a super-sub?

Of course we should. It is madness to suggest Walcott should leave. Arsenal have invested many millions and almost a decade into the lad. He has to stay. Furthermore, Walcott is, at present, our best right side attacker. If the Ox is to force his way into the team it has to be at the expense of someone else and we are entering a period where there will be no established first 11.

We have yet to see the magic of the Ozil/Walcott combination but we saw glimpses of it on Sunday and it looked lethal, Add in the astonishing power and vision of Sanchez and the mouth waters.

Another reason to spend a pile of Wallmart dollars to keep Walcott is tied to our squad depth and why we need such a squad. The next decade will see Arsenal dominate the PL, Europe and the World. We will need quality throughout the squad to the point where  no-one will have a guaranteed starting place. Just look at the squad AW is building, in every position we have a quality back-up and what is more they are almost all young men under 25.

TPIG, Bellerin, Gabriel, Chambers, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshire, Coq, Welbz, Akpom, Ox, Gnabry, Biedel, Jenks, Sanogo, Campbell are all under 25. Theo and Alexis are just 26!! World domination is around the corner IF Mr Wenger can keep this large squad happy and at Arsenal.

Walcott is an important member of our squad and must be persuaded of his value to The Arsenal. He has been at Arsenal for 9 years, let’s have another 3.

n.b. Post inspired after listening to Tim Stillman assuring us Theo will be sold in summer.

written by Big Raddy


87 Responses to Theo Walcott Drives A Wedge Between Supporters

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE and Raddy. You make your points very well and with due respect to Theo.

    I agree with most of what each of you say …. and I still want him to stay 😛

    If you were a general commanding an army and you had a weapon in your armoury that could harm your opponent in a unique way – would you put it in the skip?

  2. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Morning All…two very good reads. Thanks

    For me I agree that Theo is a great instinctive player, but does let him self down with his decision making when he sees more than one option.

    Its also bizarre to watch him still passing the ball half a yard behind where people want it, or overrun balls off the pitch.

    Against Villa he has an early break away, and makes no attempt whatsover to hold off Okore or cut across him. He basically gave Okore a free run to get alongside him and block the shot.

    Its those basic things that make me think that I will always find him frustrating to watch.

    In short if I’m ever thinking ‘ go on Theo, score’ then chances are that he won’t. This is in contrast to times when he’s scored in a flash so quickly, that there was no time for that moment of expectation.

    Lastly, without his goals he offers very little to our play. Worrying sign in my book.

  3. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    As for sell or keep – its just about his demands in my mind. If he demands a big salary, and demands to start more games and/or play centrally, then its a no.

    If he is happy with rotation, and a reasonable salary, then its a definite yes.

  4. Rasp says:

    H Sharkey, great to see you back on AA. I agree with your last para 🙂

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    Exile and Raddy double bill.

    Superb work Gentlemen, and a fascinating topic. Wow, it seems like only yesterday we heard the original cry from the lower east of “sign da ting” and here we are again.

    First up, I’m in the sign him up camp, but I have a really nasty feeling about these negotiations Only time will tell.

    I completely agree with Exile over Theo’s positional play, and like Raddy, I am a massive admirer of Theo’s speed and goals.

    I’m with Sharkey (great to hear from you) on how his contract needs to reasonable and realistic.

    What I do think is that if our CF was a fast boy, then the interchanging wouldn’t cause so many problems to the defensive side to our game, and although I’m more a fan of the positional specialist, I’m very happy seeing Theo switch wings during the course of the game.

    I have written on here how much I rate Theo’s value to the team/squad, despite being critical of a number of aspects of his game, but the positives outweigh the negatives.

  6. Rasp says:

    This comment was posted on the poll rather than the discussion …..

    Mikel – 36 minutes ago

    In all the comment above, regarding Theo, not one has mentioned the responsibility to defend when necessary.

    In the game against Man City the whole team were committed to defence when not in possession and when you see Cazorla making tackles on the edge of our area it sums up the team ethic. Now, when AFC are on TV and Theo is playing (the Aston Villa game for example), I looked in particular at his attitude when we haven’t got the ball and quite frankly it is not encouraging. When we lost possession in that game, especially on the right, he drifted around without conviction and certainly made no effort to close down meaningfully; when was the last time he made a full blooded tackle?.

    The Ox shows him the way when defensive duties are necessary and unless Theo recognises that his overall game is what he is judged on then he will become a luxury AFC cannot afford at the top level.

  7. mickydidit89 says:


    Great comment, and I particularly liked the reference to The Ox.

    I don’t think there’s any doubt the work rate of Sanchez has rubbed off on a few players, and The Ox is one, which makes your question “when was the last time he made a full blooded tackle?” very relevant.

    Ok, flog him unless he ups the workrate 🙂

  8. ThatGuy says:

    Arsenal fans are officially the worst, when walcott gets injured or when we have no pace u cry for him to be in the side, when hes back your asking if we should sell him, when we dont have any depth you want want wenger to spend spend spend and then point to players like walcott coming back from injury, when we have squad depth you want us to sell our best players like walcott, being an arsenal fan is the worst, we OFFICIALLY have the worst fan base alive

  9. Rasp says:

    TG, I’d wager that like me, you only have intimate knowledge of Arsenal fandom. Fans of the cave dwellers down the road are worse I assure you. Adebarndoor is a prize clown but booing him when he comes on and when he’s captain? Wanting rid of a manager after a couple of bad results and when he was the messiah a few weeks earlier?

  10. mickydidit89 says:


    But both posters are saying keep Theo, and 82% of voters say the same thing.

    I think the debate is more about how he fits into the new Mesut/Alexis style Arsenal, and how we best juggle the pack.

    I’m also sensing a certain fear ahead of his impending contract negotiations.

  11. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all, two very good posts.
    When two guys put themselves out to write posts over one player it makes you wonder why, both authors know football inside and out, they know more about the Arsenal than even the owners, so why have they wrote about Theo.

    Theo as we know came to us from Southampton many moons ago, a lot has been written about our Theo, Maybe Sven never done him any favours when he included him in the England team when he was about sixteen, So the stories say Wenger told Sven this lads the Bo==cks believe what you like but Theo hadn’t kicked a ball for the first team, so i take that story with a pinch of salt, and being English i had the hump over it as well as Sven never had any intentions of ever playing him, and many other Englishmen in form could and should have been picked before our Theo.

    What has our Theo got in his locker to provoke two great authors into writing. Speed Youth a cheeky smile that dampens many women supporters and a few guys as well. Theo can talk a good game, well spoken with a nice personality comes over well in interviews and looks the part as well. Theo has a modicum of winger experience although it took him 4 seasons to learn to cross and most of that four years he was out injured.

    Thats another major thing we have to consider Theo’s injury list and how much time he has had out, Theo has had more time out than most for his time with us. Whether this is a factor in whether we keep him or not i don’t really know but he can turn a game round when he is fit and the way he seems to go about that, is that he does very little on the field of play he leaves all the graft work for others while he amazingly finds quiet spots on the field he jogs up and down but always seems to be away from the action.But then he latches onto a ball and bang a goal from no where, Theo is not even seen most of the game and other teams forget him then a slam dunk.

    The last game he played was against Villa I saw him latch on to a loose ball and start a chase only to be tackled that resulted in Theo somersaulting through the air, Oh my Goord i felt, another year out, but amazingly he gets up and continues, granted he went missing again but not injured. That must have been the first time i had seen him in a tackle since the Tottenham game a year or so ago, please leave him out this weekend.

    Many supporters, like both of our Authors have mixed feelings about our Theo, do we give him the benefit of the doubt or do we let him go.

    My thoughts are that Theo has been guided along slowly by Wenger, he feels Theo has a future at the club and will come good. Perhaps with Theo’s Gym work where i read he has bulked up and made himself Physically stronger, i didn’t notice much of that in the few minutes he has played, but i am no Wenger.

    I want to see hard work from the players working for one another helping out with the graft and taking knock’s along the way , i noticed young Akpon chase down on a goalkeeper and got bundled over for a penalty, but i could also see Theo bail out, and i don’t like to see that.

    I would sell Theo while he is still able to walk as sure as eggs are eggs he wont be fit long. Theo wants to be anywhere other than wing, and thats where i think he is best, but what do i know.

  12. RA says:

    Two really excellent Posts by two really knowledgeable Gooners, without an axe to grind – just looking for what is best for the team.

    Exile, I think you will find that it was Chris Waddle who made the Theo ‘football brain’ remark and was rightly chastised for it.

    I could find nothing to disagree with in the points you made.

    For me I would offer that there is a mitigating factor of Theo being out for a year with yet another injury, and any view as to his worth to the team needs to be based on his performances over a longer period of time.

    Sharkey’s realism appeals to me too.

    I have often heard that Theo makes great runs, and does not get the ball delivered to him by teammates. My response is that he does make runs, but often they are into positions that make passing to him problematical or even impossible.

    Two matters that do not bode well, are that when Theo does get the ball in space, enabling him to run unopposed, he reverts to his old habit of checking back and passing backwards instead of running hell for leather – which after all is what we hear is his main attribute. Strange.

    The other point is that I am not sure Theo, after all his injuries, is as fast as he was – [Bellerin for example is now officially the fastest in a sprint] – as he has been caught more than once by defenders of all things in the games since he returned. Rusty? Maybe – and that could explain the point in the earlier paragraph.

    Raddy made sensible points as to why we should keep Theo, referring to the millions that have been lavished on him in terms of his salary, which given his injury record does beg the question of whether that was value for money, and perhaps consideration should be given to cutting the losses by selling him.

    I am still undecided about Theo, but the decision to ‘keep or let go’ is a little simplistic, because the money earned from any transfer should/would be re-invested into another speedy winger who also has a trick or two to his game, which Theo does not have – in which case that would not be at the expense of the squad depth.

    Anyway, keep him for now – he deserves a chance to show he has recovered from his latest injury, and has the ability to show a clean pair of heels to the opposition. 🙂

  13. eldergooner says:

    Two cracking posts gents , thank you. If anything they have only left me more undecided that I was – which probably means I should’nt really have an opinion !!
    I’d like to say I’m undecided but ,in truth, I’m not. Let him go . Cash in now and as RA says reinvest the money. Far too many negatives for me and as has already been pointed out , he’s not a worker.Watch him every time he loses the ball – wanders about aimlessly – no fight at all.Will playing alongside Alexis change that in him ?
    He’s certainly injury prone too and do we really want that “type” taking up a squad number ? It’s a long gruelling season and fit bodies are a must , and before anyone rips me a new one over that – you know what I mean. Yes, any player can get injured but some of them are prone to it and Theo is one of them . You just know it’s only a matter of time. Yes, he’s not alone in that respect at Arsenal but he’s the one we’re talking about right now.Don’t ever start me on Jack. Injuries PLUS all the other crap !!!!!!!
    Take the money and buy a more robust version . Now who might the bill there ?

  14. RA says:

    The ‘Frozen’ tribute song to Sanogo by a Palace fan is really funny and worth a listen – altho ‘tribute’ is perhaps not the right word! 🙂

    It is being carried on the Sabotage Times site.

  15. RC78 says:

    Keep Theo – his major pb is that he hardly manages to play 30 full games a season…Other than that, he has got great pace, good runs, good composure in front of goal and he has improved his first touch. Now he has to diversify his crossing and passing range as well as his dribbling. He has a good work rate defensively as well. All and all, he is a very valuable member of our team when fit. Let us hope he can stay fit now – because his injury last year cost us a lot of points.

  16. RA says:


    We were heavily linked with Cuadro in the summer, and he has now been snapped up by Chelsea, so we will soon be able to see what Arsene had in mind – if the rumoured transfer had gone ahead.

    There is always someone out there {don’t ask me who] if the money is right, and our scouts do their job.

    Don’t forget the Post was actually asking a hypothetical question as the window is closed until the summer anyhow.
    So, if Theo does the biz for the rest of the season – he can stay.
    If he does not – the summer would be a convenient time to get a replacement and let him go.

    That seems fair. 🙂

  17. LB says:


    Where can we hear the song?

  18. RA says:


    Probably easiest to go to NewsNow — @ 12:46 Sabotage Times.

  19. Adrian says:

    After podolski left the club, he is the best finisher we have atm. Admittedly his finishing has been a bit erratic since returning (I put that down to rustiness) but I clearly remember him being quite clinical in front of the goal before his injury, which coincided with the best form of his career.

    The thought of selling Theo has never occured to me, and I believe Wenger would more than likely keep him and tie him down to a new contract at the end of this season for the same reasons stated by other posters above.

  20. Adrian says:

    I’d like to add that if he improves his crossing he would be so much more lethal in our team and his performance on the pitch would be so much more impressive.

  21. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh God Nooooooooooooo

    Sanchez out of NLD

  22. Shard says:

    Theo is quite limited as a player. But at the same time, he is oddly effective. It will not be easy to replace the goals and assists he provides, and if used properly/he executes properly, he is a unique weapon to have.

    A few days ago we had a post asking if Theo is worth his wages. I commented on all the problems he has, and why it might be the time for him to leave, but I voted that he is worth his wages.

    I would definitely keep him in the squad. The problem is, I don’t think he’s going to be automatic first choice. He faces competition from Giroud, Alexis, Ox, Welbeck, Akpom, Gnabry, maybe Campbell and Sanogo too. Not to mention that Ozil or Cazorla are both playing wide left when needed. Will he be happy to fight for his spot against all those players when he would probably have the option to go to somewhere else?

    Even apart from that, the money will be a factor. Theo and his advisers will know that this is going to be his last big contract. Once his speed goes, he will lose his biggest asset. Last time around, he was almost indispensable to us. This is no longer the case and he is coming off a one year injury, which won’t strengthen his case to demand more money from us. Maybe the fact that he didn’t force his way out then will go in his favour a little. Still, ManCity would probably pay him more to upgrade on Navas, and up their homegrown players.

    For me, the bigger question is not whether we should keep him, but whether Theo will want to stay as a part of what we are building. I have my doubts, but I hope he does. If the rumours regarding Reus are true, then I’m afraid I can’t see him staying.

  23. LB says:


    A very interesting post, thank you.

    I see it like this:

    Giroud breaks leg, Welbeck agrees to sign to Arsenal on the basis that he plays CF.

    Giroud comes back early, now Arsenal have three players who want to play CF: Giroud, Sanchez and Welbeck who is not going to be happy shunted back out to the left wing. Wenger’s solution is to tell them they are all interchangeable CFs and the last time all three of those played that is what they did and it all worked extremely well.

    Then Theo comes back? And now we have another player who wants to play CF. Solution: Wenger integrates him into the new interchangeable CF system. The problem though is that it is new to him and he is still finding his way around. Contrast that with Giroud against Villa; the Frenchman drifted seamlessly across the whole of the front line.

    We need to give Theo a bit more time to get his fitness, to get up to speed and to adapt to the new system before we make our final decisions. That said I do realise the clock is ticking, I expect him to make way for Sanchez this weekend, maybe coming on as a sub later.


    As a general point I don’t believe that Theo held us to ransom in his last contract negotiations. I think it was the other way round. Arsenal presented him with a very reasonable offer and said take it or leave it. Theo’s agent rightly checked to see if there was outside interest in signing him, there wasn’t so Theo signed.

    I also think the same is happening now, although this time I think his agent will find someone who is prepared to pay higher wages and we will sell. It won’t bother me too much; the Ox and Gnabry are coming through strong and fast.

  24. Shard says:

    That Sanogo video is hilarious!

  25. stevepalmer1 says:

    Afternoon RA, Good point about the transfer window being closed, and of course we have a while before it opens again. Its my opinion that Wenger will see how Theo fits in with the players we have,

    Theo will be aware that players like Sanchez are on more than he is, and with contracts on his mind, he must also feel that Wenger has stood by him while he has regained fitness.

    In all honesty, footballers only usually think about themselves, but unless Theo is without a brain, must realise that he has to prove that he was worth the last contract before signing a better one.

    Theo has until the end of the season to prove that he fits in, Apparently he still lacks fitness and game sharpness, but it has to be said that he has put himself into some good Positions, missing a few and scoring one.

    Wenger loves pace and although Theo may have lost a little he still moves swiftly.Theo can move the ball quickly from one foot to another and fire a decent shot, Another that could do that was Podolski who in my mind had one of the fiercest on target shots in the business, from some of the tightest angles but of course he lacked the kind of pace that Theo possesses.

    Podolski in my mind has no way back, so Theo has a point to prove. Wenger stated after our last game that Theo has to get involved more, He knows that Theo is Pulling the wool at the moment but he also knows that when Sanchez again hits the field, he will be involved with everything, and he wants Theo also to put some more effort in.

    I watched Theo like a Hawk against Villa, my Mrs could tell you how i moaned about him, He never closed up on anybody and he sidestepped many challenges, in fact in my mind i would have had him off .

    Theo of course can make you talk rubbish the little bugger scored a beauty and made me look stupid, but his team mates wont put up with carrying him much longer.

    Giroud does not run that much but he still tries to close down young Akpon chashed all round, Welbeck also does his fair share, so did Podolski even Sanogo tried but Theo doesn’t, if he changes like Wenger has stated, and keeps himself injury free till the end of the season we may have a future important player, that we need to sign up, if not By By Theo

  26. GoonerB says:

    Great post guys with 2 similar but slightly differing views. GIE I didn’t know you did tactical bollix 🙂 I will have to make you my new BBF.

    I voted keep him and am glad to see that most did. I do however feel the same as those that say we should not be held over a barrel in any negotiation. If he did leave then I think we can still easily cope with our home grown quota. Also we do have Gnabry waiting in the wings and maybe Campbell will step up a level in his loan spell.

    I am interested by the Reus rumours that Shard has mentioned, who is a player I really like. I may have told Rasp this a couple of times….

    I am in Micky’s camp that the right pacy striker minimises the issue with Theo moving more centrally, and would like to see us develop with a striker that will move into the wide channels allowing Theo to dovetail in. I also agree with GIE that he can’t just hang around in the centre waiting for the ball and has to operate as a wide player that can dovetail in. That means he also has to be the provider from the right flank at times and look to get in behind the FB.

    Last season I felt that was the big problem with Ollie, that he didn’t move much from the central area, and was why I felt we needed an upgrade to a pacier striker who will work the wide channels.

    There was 1 game that got me thinking about this, ( I think the Chelsea debacle), when I noted that the ball was there for Sagna to play down the line if Ollie moved for it. It was the best option and if Ollie had moved and received the ball there, pulling there defenders out of position, then we may have had a counter-attack option with runners moving into the middle. He didn’t move from his central position and Sagna turned out and infield again and I think we ended up surrendering possession.

    From that point I have thought like Micky that we need a pacy striker that is happy to be a an out ball in wide areas and can dovetail with 2 pacy goal-scoring wing forwards.

    Interestingly it appears that Ollie is now moving a lot more and offering himself in different areas of the pitch. Shard put up a link this morning on the last post which highlighted this among other things in a tactical analysis on how we have improved recently. It is worth a read.

    If Ollie is doing this and continues to, and we have 2 young developing options in Welbeck and Akpom, who are both quick and comfortable in wide areas, then we may have the answers and all the options we need with us already.

    In this case I think Theo becomes an important tactical cog in this system, (with a couple of GIE’s tactical tweeks in his positioning and when to go centrally), and should be retained…..unless he makes unreasonable contract demands and we can get Reus…did I mention I quite like him.

  27. Shard says:


    I thought that article raised quite a few interesting points. The importance and limitations of Coquelin. Ozil’s role and his worth to the team. Giroud and his improved mobility.

    As for Reus. I like him too, but like any transfer, it is a risk. If Theo can agree a deal,maybe we’re better off than with Reus, who himself is coming off a serious injury.

    However, Reus being a left sided attacker is one factor in his favour since that could bring more balance to the squad.

    I’m not sure what I want. Theo or Reus. I’m quite certain we can’t have both.

  28. LB says:

    Hey Chas

    Are you going or not, hint hint, to QPR away because I know a regular blogger on AA and his son who live 15 minutes from that ground and would love to help increase your away point tally?

  29. Shard says:

    Anyone with contacts within the club. is this true? 🙂

    “So a family member of mine works for the club (I would rather not answer questions on who he is as I like the anonymity and his position isn’t that interesting) – anyway, just had lunch with him and he told me that Alexis has a small tightness / niggle, very minor but has been told to rest his leg.

    “Alexis was found (caught) by staff halfway up a climbing wall with a body pack of weights attached. When told to get down he continued stating that he had to get to the top. Afterwards he told the medical staff that while at Barca he was told he would be out for 12 weeks, he came back in 2. His current “injury” is nothing. Apparently he just can’t stop working out / training.”

  30. mickydidit89 says:

    How is 26? 🙂

  31. RC78 says:

    What about Ox, is he still injured?

  32. RC78 says:

    Sanchez and Ox are out 😦 What a pain! Our two usual robust and hardworking wingers are out! Damn it…

    Walcott – Giroud – Ozil are to play then

  33. RA says:


    That has to be VCC? 🙂

  34. chas says:

    Still haven’t had time to read and fully digest an excellent joint post.
    Ta, lads.

    QPR away sold out to 45+ away points.
    We only have 20 odd, so even if we had wanted to go it wouldn’t have been possible.

  35. chas says:

    (…or wanted to get you tickets 🙂 )

  36. LB says:


    I have no idea how 26 is, we never did go cycling so I am in the dark, I remember his last comment which explained something along the lines that real life had caught up.

    I was a bit confused, as I thought following Arsenal was real life.

  37. GoonerB says:

    I hope 26 is alright LB, he hasn’t been around for some time.

    RC, we still have lots of options even without Ox and Sanchez. The front 3 could be a combination of any from Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott, Ozil, Akpom. Plenty of pace goal-scoring and creativity amongst them and both Welbeck and Akpom can operate the widepositions as well. Behind this we have lots of options as well with Caz, Ramsey, Rsicky, Coquelin, Flamini.

  38. RC78 says:

    GB – it is not the same work rate overall as Ox or Sanchez…defensively and offensively…

    Call me cautious but I would even argue to play Chambers at RB and Bellerin at RW and on the left I would play Monreal at LB and if he is fit Gibbs at LW. Why? Because both Bellerin and Gibbs can pass by opponents and can also cover the flanks…At the 66th, if all goes well (draw or even winning), bring in Theo and/or Ozil to add more pace, skills and creativity upfront…

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Just know he lives that way, and his son is a QPR kinda guy.

  40. GoonerB says:

    RC, Danny gives great work rate. Maybe he should start to the left of Ollie?

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    And Rosicky gives great work rate also

    Oh, and scores against Totnum 🙂

  42. chas says:

    I’d really like Theo to stay, but only on the Club’s terms.

    Who knows, by the end of the season when he’s won us the League, FA Cup and CL with his goals we may feel like he’s indispensable. 🙂

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    Oi Chas
    One game at a time. Teeth don’t give you rights, you know 🙂

  44. RC78 says:

    GB – Wellbeck is just back…I am sure that AW won’t risk him as a starter…

  45. LB says:

    It will almost certainly be the same team as last week, don’t’cha think?

  46. aizedlittlemozart says:

    super post x2!!!! great writing from the authors.

    Theo should most definitely stay & here’s (my) why.

    its no more a case of 1st/best elevens & some other kit wearers on the bench waiting for cup games or injury opportunities. its now a squad game.

    top clubs would beat 75-85% of the teams in the league & so if injury permits (like chelShit) can field the same team against most sides for a majority of the season.

    but when rotation is required; tough away games, injuries, to rest players etc….we would like to have a squad replacement without a loss of so much quality.

    now I think an underlying question that provokes this theo discussion is: is theo, in that classic non-squad 11, a 1st 11 player? is he that player that needs resting or is he the player that will come in to rest another?

    but seeing as it is a squad game, those questions really aren’t pertinent as such.

    so let’s do a little comparison then shall we? Theo vs other team wide attackers…….in terms of end products (goals & assists) [Micky would same, score more than the opposition yeah?]

    i’ll need a stato to help with this please as i’m zero good at it.

    Theo vs januzaj/di Maria/valencia

    Theo vs willian

    Theo vs navas

    Theo vs dusan tadic

    Theo vs whoever the hell plays wing for spuds

    Theo vs j manquillo

    if whoever this good Samaritan stato will be can kindly use stats from theo’s last full season, i’m sure he does better than most if not all those players are doing this season.

    i’d even wager that if theo keeps playing this season, he would turn in better goals/assist stats than some of them come may!!!

    everybody can’t be alexis or the OX.

    Van persie doesn’t do half the defensive work OG12 does, fabregas doesn’t hustle like Ramsey/carzola/jack, & giroud doesn’t get half as broken as aguero (for those pointing at theo’s injuries). but their teams carry them, cos they bring enough to the table to outweigh those “negatives”. most players have their perks. Costa aint broken but is missing three games nonetheless, but he’ll score enough to excuse that.

    if we ever want to let go of theo, loads of top teams would queue for him.

    my question is, what would they want from him that we see but still wouldn’t mind letting go off?

    glad to see most want him to stay.

    & again, top posts!!!!!

  47. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you for some fine comments. I agree with GIE – the other post is written by a drunken moron and must be complete cobblers, so I didn’t bother reading it.

    Except the point about squad size which AizedLM refers to above. That was quality.

  48. RA says:


    As Chas has left a ‘no comment’ comment; I thought I would have to retaliate by posting Hansen’s article.

    — By Alan Hansen [Daily Telegraph] 7:15AM GMT 08 Mar 2010

    With the pace and trickery he possesses in abundance, Walcott will always make a living from the game, but the big unknown is whether he has enough to make it right to the top and be remembered in 20 years’ time as a great player.

    Only time will tell, but when the former England winger Chris Waddle claimed last week that Theo does not have a football brain, it was a fair observation.

    England’s problem is that, of the four players vying for the two right-midfield slots in Capello’s World Cup squad – Walcott, David Beckham, Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips – only one, Beckham, has a football brain, but he can’t run.

    It is no slight on a player to accuse them of not having a football brain. You either have one or you don’t.

    It is about natural instinct, the innate ability to see things before they happen. Wayne Rooney has it and Kenny Dalglish had it.

    So that will be Waddle who said it then??

  49. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all, why have a post a day when we can have two on Theo in one.

    Great comments and great post by Raddy.

    To be fair I am probably in the keep him camp, I see what LB is saying regarding the flexible front three I just think like Welly that Theo at his age should get it and see where he can be effective, maybe I am being overly critical of his ego but it’s something in the way he celebrates goals that suggests he is more interested in personal glory but that’s just cod psychology and probably off the mark, only those at the club will know.

    We will see over the coming weeks especially with Alexis out whether he can adjust.

    The timing of Alexis’s injury seems very convenient given the players returning. Clever management or a real consequence of overplaying?

  50. Gööner In Exile says:

    Wow Bony has usurped Jovetic in CL squad?

    Tell me under FFP rules do they only assess the CL squad? If so I guessJovetic on more money than Bony? And probably cost less to acquire.

  51. Shard says:


    I don’t think FFP looks at only the CL squad. In fact, I don;t think they look at the squad at all. Clubs are only allowed a maximum loss of 45m over 3 seasons, with some funds allowed to be injected by the owners, and spending on infrastructure and youth teams exempt. Everything else considered, clubs have to break even.

    PSG’s income boost would surely deserve an investigation, but it isn’t going to happen. We’ll see where FFP goes. I think Uefa are afraid to take too strict an action for fear of being taken to court. I also think that most clubs want an effective FFP regime. It’ll probably take a few years to work out, but football being what it is, it’ll leave plenty of grey areas to be exploited as and when the need arises.

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’s the thing though isn’t it Shard, none of us are really sure my guess is there will be a form, which shows Incone, and expenses.

    City have a subsidiary with rather large wages being investigated, but if that can be proven to be all Academy then no harm, although that being said why have a subsidiary.

    Although City’s owners could have got round the issue by turning debt to equity as Abramocrook did a couple of years back.

  53. chas says:

    What a tosser Hansen is – his biggest regret caused by repeating on MOTD what some Geordie moron had said months earlier.

  54. Gööner In Exile says:

    😀 Chas, surely anyone regrets quoting the mullet headed sausage packer as some kind of serious pundit

  55. aizedlittlemozart says:

    ok, late one, having gotten over my stats-search phobia….here goes what I could gather….

    *all info courtesy
    *EPL stats only

    Theo: 1/0

    Willian: 2/1

    Navas: 0/6

    Sterling: 5/5

    Manquillo: 0/0

    Tadic: 3/7

    Lamela: 1/4

    Di Maria: 3/6

    having gotten these figures, I now even more strongly believe that theo will have better stats come may than most on there.

    those guys are mostly regulars for their teams (maybe except manquillo & lamela) & most have an edge over theo as far as the defensive side of their games is concerned. but then again, micky’s rule; outscore the opponents, win the game.

    again let’s not ask all our players to become alexises or oxes or coqs…..for every Figo a zidane……or something like that….

  56. jnyc says:

    Enjoyed the posts.
    Because of the unlucky injuries, theo will not be looking for any kind of raise., i think he’d be happy with extending and hoping to stay healthy.

    I think he is playing more defense than he used to, and with the Alexis influence already making ox track back and challenge more, theo will feel the pressure if he wants more minutes than chambo, if both healthy.

    Besides the 2-0 gesture to the spuds fans, which was fantastic, it’s worth noting how he picked up that injury. Playing defense. All the way back, trying to win the ball back. No one ever mentions that.

    And I used to want to sell theo, a few years back, but people here opened my eyes to the simple numbers that prove his productivity… it doesnt matter how you produce, goals win games and points. And cause defenders to commit resources which free up others.

    Right now, i might prefer him as a super sub, and i dont think a team with title aspirations should worry about his current salary in that role, with his production… basically, i think he’s worth it.

  57. LB says:


    Yep, see what you are saying: Sanchez on a winter break, makes sense, it’s only spuds on the weekend, Ozil and Walcott should be enough.

  58. LB says:


    Theo may be the kind of gentleman that you describe and not want a raise but I bet you all the tea in China that his agent will be thinking different.

  59. BlackJesus says:

    Sell him LOL.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Want my day to start with this

    [video src="" /]

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    bloody knew it 😦

  62. Gööner In Exile says:

    Micky I can’t fix it either, I’m assuming it’s a tweet your trying to link to?

    If so, at the bottom should be something that says copy link to tweet in the share options, copy that and paste in here.

  63. chas says:

    Back to football, don’t want to be accused of being a middle aged man who has travelled the East and plays the guitar to a very low standard. 🙂

  64. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    I remember middle age – not for the feint hearted.

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Not seen much of Eddie in the mornings, guess she has pre-match tension.

    And NB is recuperating from the physical trials of his mountain tryst, probably sleeping long, unable to wander down to the bar for his morning shot of cigarettes and alcohol

  66. mickydidit89 says:

    Memo to Bloggers

    Perhaps don’t rock up at hourly intervals 🙂

  67. mickydidit89 says:

    Yip, that was the vid I was trying to copy. Thanks Chas. Could begin every day with that cat 🙂

  68. chas says:

    Hey, BR.
    Listen to it while watching 7.43. 🙂

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    Anything in the postbag

    I could fire up a Rant Page 🙂

  70. chas says:

    I’d imagine a post is needed what with double bubble yesterday.

  71. Rasp says:

    Morning guys, we need a post for today

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    OK Rasp
    I’ll do a Rant Friday 🙂
    Something to do first, but check the mail in 30

  73. Rasp says:

    Thanks Micky 🙂

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Easy Shard. I am having breakfast

  75. Shard says:

    So’s the cat Raddy 🙂

  76. chas says:

  77. Rasp says:

    Morning again ……

    …. New post ……

  78. grawerowanie says:

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    after going through some of the posts I realized it’s new to
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