Champ or Chump? What will Theo Walcott’s Legacy be?


The Arsenal have, over the decades been blessed with players of tremendous skill, fight, and most importantly, the will to learn and be better than they initially were. We always mention Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Viera, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Tony Adams and a select few when the topic of the greatest players to have ever worn the red and white is brought up. One thing that set them apart from their peers was the hankering to be better than anyone else, the need to distinguish themselves from others players of similar ilk, the craving to improve, from season to season without stagnating in the same cesspool of mediocrity.

The Greatest Arsenal Team Ever?!?

The Greatest Arsenal Team Ever?!?

This brings us to the main reason behind this think-piece, Theo James Walcott. He splits the opinion of the Arsenal fandom right down the middle like a hot knife would through butter.



He joined Arsenal, from Southampton in 2006, during the Winter transfer market, with many of us hoping he would evolve into the certain heir of one Titi Henry, who had led the team magnificently that year to a Parisian UEFA Champions League Final against Barcelona, where we went toe to toe against what was the inception of the greatest team of this generation, albeit with ten men, for a huge swathe of the game, but who was on the verge of leaving us, for pastures anew.

Theo and Titi

The Master And His Student?!?

I have for many years been in the camp of Gunners who defend Theo Walcott no matter what form he found himself in at a point in time. I would defend him when he missed a sitter, I would defend him when he run himself into trouble against tough defenders, I would defend him when it was apparent he lacked certain skills necessary for a modern day winger o thrive in this speedy, dribble-filled, moment-of-magic era of football. Then came the contract talk wrangling. It was similar to the RVP scenario in the sense that, the club had stuck by the player during large periods where injury had robbed us from enjoying his services, and when it was time for the player to return that goodwill by re-signing, he had conditions he wanted fulfilled before he re-signed. RVP to an extent was understandable; he was club captain and was also on the periphery of the most elite players at the time, thus was in a better position to make certain demands of the club, but even then, it was wrong. Now, take Theo Walcott, coming back from an injury (as always), in the patchiest of forms, and allowing his contract run down whilst he fought for the right to be played at center forward, when he had not even shown the winger’s role was one he could perform in at the highest level.

Theo signs for Arsenal

The New King….Or A Pretender To The Throne?

At that point, I began to have second thoughts about Theo. Was he here to help the club attain it’s goals by playing wherever the manager thought he could to the best of his abilities, or was he here to accomplish childhood dreams of playing as a centre forward for a huge club?

Theo first goal

Flatters to deceive

I will not lie, I was happy he re-signed, because his lightning fast pace is of enormous help, and gives us a different dimension, but if it was all about pace, Usain Bolt would be plying his trade for the guys from Manchester whose Dutch Manager throws huge sums of money at any problem he finds himself in. But no. The pace should be your major weapon in your Arsenal (no pun intended), whilst relying on other weapons to bail you out when necessary. Theo Walcott finds it difficult to beat defenders one-on-one because he lacks dribbling ability. The way Joel Campbell can drop his shoulders and beat a man, the way Oxlade Chamberlain can feint or even bulldoze his way past 2 or 3 men, and these are player who have valid claims to usurp Theo to a starting role. Walcott just doesn’t have that in his Arsenal (sigh. No pun intended). Nowadays, fullbacks are being churned out in the ilk of Hector Bellerin, with pace and creative abilities to match, thus, Walcott cannot expect to fly past each and every opponent he comes up against in the wide role. You need an amount of vivacity and skill to beat your man. You need certain adroitness with which to beat your man.

Theo wave

Torches the Emirates pitch with his lightning fast pace

Walcott is recognized as the second senior centre forward in the club, after Olivier Giroud. Early on in the season, when Oli was injured, Theo was a capable deputy. But now, during the crunch of the season, when the grind matters the most, you just sense an ineptitude to handle the challenge of starting for a side MEANT to be challenging for the title. He just does not seem to be at the races. He seems noncommittal to the seriousness of the challenge at hand and our need to win this title at all costs, for the sake of the millions of Gunners worldwide, who always stick their necks out for the players of this Great club who find new ways to let us down from time to time.

The Greatest Fans...EVER!!

The Greatest Fans…EVER!!

The guy Theo Walcott was meant to replace in terms of authority and work output, Thierry Henry, recently alluded to the fact that this crop of Arsenal players lacked the mental fortitude to win the Premier League title. You stay at a club for ten whole years, win two major titles or so during that run and when there is a huge chance to write your name in the history books by winning something really grand, you shirk your role as a leader, your responsibility to improve and perform at the highest of standards for the fans?

Just nto contributing


This is not a piece aiming to attack Theo mind you. It is a piece trying to reach a man who is the longest serving player at the club currently, a player who played with some of the Invincibles thus should know what it means to be revered by these great fans and he should be able to rally the troops to play above and beyond themselves to fight with the last drops of blood they have in their veins. We supported Theo during his lean spells and even when he was demanding things of the club when he should not have, now it is our turn to do the demanding.

Time To Repay The Faith!!

Time To Repay The Faith!!

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11 Responses to Champ or Chump? What will Theo Walcott’s Legacy be?

  1. omar February 14, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    fair analysis… But how many matches has theo played as a striker since he came back from his injury? NONE. Now obviously alot of people will say he should be doing well as a wide player too, but how many matches has theo played on the left in his whole career? when ozil played on the left for germany in the world cup, he was probably at 20 percent of what hees showing right now, so why is walcott being criticized so much when he is not playing in his postion. I personally think that walcott has sacrificed, be it play in different positions, or even changing attributes in his game to suit the team. Lets not forget that the best 2 matches we have played this season was away at leciester and at home to man united, really reminded me of the old arsenal, playing with so much pace and movement. Coincidence? Surely not, thats what theo brings to the table when he plays upfront.

    • DEW February 16, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      I fully agree with you Omar!

  2. Iceman February 14, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    Project Theo neeeds to be shelved. Yes, he has flashes of brilliance, but it is too sporadic. Striker? Winger? We don’t know and, sadly, neither does Theo.

    • The Faisal Mohammed Report February 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

      I agree with you Iceman. Sort of a jack of all trades, master of none?? Well, we hope he consistently performs at the highest of his abilities!

  3. The Faisal Mohammed Report February 14, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    Fair Comment Omar. But Theo is strongest in his right foot, he should be better on the left where he can cut on to his right foot and effect damage on the opposition,the City game illustrates this. Also, when he’s played on the right, in some periods, you notice Giroud drop off slightly to allow Theo run off the last man to get into scoring positions. His movement is fantastic, that I’ll hand to him. But his conversion is quite poor for a player who has played at the top for ten years or so with strikers of the highest quality he could have learnt from. And Özil, who you mentioned playing at 20% on the left for Germany completed over 86% of his passes, created 2.4 chances, per game, and had a 45% success rate for crosses attempted during the World Cup. Such numbers for Theo would be gladly welcome.

  4. Victor Thompson February 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    Faisal, I agree with all you say and ironically, Theo has scored to bring us back into the game with Leicester. Is that not just typical of him?

    He is infuriating and it seems that he has a different way of looking at things. He does what he does and believes that it is enough to justify his own self opinion. I really do like Walcott and he brings a certain dimension to our attack but his speed and ability to score, which is not as good as he thinks it is.

    In contrast, in the space of two years, Vardy has made himself a legend for Leicester because he puts 100% into his performance on the field. Theo could be with us for another 5 years and he will still not be revered in that way.

  5. The Faisal Mohammed Report February 14, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    Victor, as always, wonderful comments. If only he’d graft as much as Alexis does, it’d do him… And us a world of good!

  6. DEW February 15, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    I support walcott all the time. I think the fan base is too harsh on him. He plays direct football and constantly gets himself in dangerous positions. His conversion rates are not as bad as you think. He is good finisher. He is also good dribbler in his own way. I like his runs, his movements and his finishing. He is one of those top top players. But he has to make his legs fresh all the time. Believe me there is nothing terrifying than relentless walcott. Fatigue change his game dramatically! He has to work on this.

  7. DEW February 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

    Forget to mention, Theo is also great assist by the way

  8. The Faisal Mohammed Report February 15, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    Dew, Thanks for the comments. Theo though hasn’t logged that many minutes, thus should be fresh enough to deliver his best anytime he’s called upon, if that’s all he needs to bring his A game. I do not agree with your comment on his dribbling and conversion rate though, his pace and movement though are terrific weapons.

    • DEW February 16, 2016 at 9:54 am #

      Hi Faisal,

      Yes Fresh legs are also my real concern, I would be happy if he himself explain his fatigue problems. I believe he is avoiding defense duties because of that. Lets hope he will come out on top on that front.

      For the case of dribbling: I want to remind what he does to liverpool in champions league and what he does to Chelsae during arsenal 5-3 win. I can mention here a lot more. I don’t even remember a game where he hasn’t dribble. I agree with you that his dribbles are not like Sanchez or Chamberlain but theirs certainly are not like him as well.

      For the case of conversion: Believe me he is a clinical player. At this moment you can not name an arsenal player with better conversion rate. The reason why it looks exaggerated on him is because the chances he gets appears to be easy but they are not. He has that very important spring in the final third that clears himself from the defenders, then most of the time it could be tight angle or closer to the keeper or he is running at higher speed which makes your final ball miss its direction. We can not fault him for finding himself in dangerous positions and give a try, because our strikers are hesitate to give a try for crosses and through balls if they think they don’t score it. how many crosses and through ball find no one in the box in recent games?

      I defend him because he is not getting fair assessment at all. My criticism on him is he didn’t bring his work rate to the desired level(his level) in some games.

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