The transfer rumours continue to manifest
themselves on what seems like an hourly basis and yet there he been little
substance in any thus far. I find it all rather tiring and yet it equally
frustrates me, especially now that other clubs have started to splash the cash
but I’m not going to tear into our lack of activity just yet. So as there isn’t
any fresh topic of conversation to get our teeth into I’m going to focus on
what factual information we do have.
As a result of the
series of Gunners Town polls that have run over the last 10 days or so, one
thing stood out to me in the results:
Player – 5th
Player of the
Season – 5th
We seem to have a
player that isn’t appreciated as much as he should be. A player that hasn’t
hogged the limelight, has shown commitment to Arsenal by signing a new deal and
also been pretty productive. Can you tell who it is yet?
course the man in question is Theo Walcott.
you all go 100k per week crazy and start to blow my reasoning apart. The fact
is he was our top scorer last season with 21 goals despite missing large parts
of the season.
That cannot be
argued with. No matter how much you may not rate his quality.
Then as much as I
wrote about Laurent Koscielny being the catalyst on the field to aid our 13
game unbeaten run, the fact is Walcott returned at just the right time and he
had a massive impact. In my last blog on http://www.angel2islington.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/its-time-for-theo.html I wrote
about how it was time for him to step up, especially against Patrice Evra. A
lot of views were that we’ve waited far too long for him to make his mark. Well
if that is to be believed then, he has finally stood up.
He made his return
as a late substitute vs. Norwich City and he went on to tee up Lukas Podolski
for the final goal. He scored crucial goals against Manchester United and Queens
Park Rangers (he only ever looked our only genuine goal threat throughout).
That only left a highly pressurised home game against Wigan Athletic and he
stepped up to plate to put us ahead. The one aspect that I really enjoyed about
that goal was that Theo Walcott from 2009 would have shied away from such a
chance or, putting it in Jens Lehman’s terms, he’d have bottled it. Look at his
scoring record throughout his career at Arsenal his numbers are getting much
more productive when you also factor in his assists
That is why we
couldn’t afford to lose Theo, he continues to get better and he deserves his
six figure salary, after all it is goals that win you games and he has
accounted for nine points this season just through his goals alone, as he’s
turned three potential draws into wins and getting us three draws elsewhere.
It’s also worth noting that he only started 24 of our 38 games.
So what is to come?
Well he’s not a striker and he never will be. He’s a world class inside forward
when used correctly. If you get him running the channel between full-back and
centre half there’s no defender in the land that can touch him. His main
problem at times is hanging out wide for far too long and defenders would much
rather face up to him, as they’ll see his every move and the worst case
scenario is that he hits the byeline and stands up a cross. That said, those
battles on the wing would be helped if Theo believed in his raw pace and just
deployed the old kick and run strategy a bit more, he’d get a lot more success.
Has there been a full-back that has ever matched him stride for stride? I
remember Jose Enrique having some good games against Theo but he uses his body
well, it’s wasn’t a good old fashioned foot race.
So 2013/14 should be about Theo getting 25+ goals, which if you consider
that squad should be stronger come August 17th, it stands us in good stead. He
can be infuriating at times but the pros far outweigh the cons. It’s one of our
areas of support that drives me nuts, we slag off the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor,
Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie for leaving, yet when players commit their
future to our club we never really give them any praise for doing so, we elect
to ram their salary down their throat if EVERY ball isn’t inch perfect. Since
when did football work like that? The notion that Theo wasn’t trying because he
now had his new salary was just flat out ridiculous.
You also have to look at right wingers in our league are there many that
Antonio Valencia at United? Not for me
James Milner? Ha Ha.
Aaron Lennon? Not a chance.
You’d be looking at one of Chelsea’s interchanging playmakers (Eden Hazard
or Juan Mata) before you find someone better. Manchester City are about to
shell out £17m on Jesus Navas and it will prove a good signing for them because
they crave natural width, something the Spaniard will provide but his goals
return isn’t spectacular by any stretch. 34 goals in 388 games and his season
high is 10 goals and that’s going back to the 09/10 season. If you compare his
record of goals against Theo you’ll be surprised, it’s a no contest.
We are still to find the level in which Theo can perform to, as he
shouldn’t be anywhere near his peak. It’s also promising to see that in a
season where we lost our talisman he’s actively been involved in over 35 goals
this season. Then you consider how he’ll get better and factor in that if
there’s one man who can bring him on as a player, it’s definitely Arsène
Wenger. It’s all extremely positive.
So when it’s all
said and done is Theo really only our 5th most improved player
when you consider he’s gone from being involved in 21 goals in 11/12 to 37 in
Also does our top
scorer only get ranked as low as our 5th best player of the
season? I know it’s very much a case of each to their own with polls but surely
he deserves a bit more credit than he’s getting?
As I said before
I’d rather have him at our club than lose him to any other. He’s a vital cog in
the Arsenal attack and long may his production continue.
See you all next Friday.