The Impending Departure Of Theo Walcott. Will He Be Missed?

After touching the ball twice in 75 minutes, Walcott was delighted to be substituted.

Morning, folks.

Yesterday I promised you a serious post. A post bereft of silliness and my usual copious mounts of blathery goodness. I shall deliver exactly that. No talk of things entirely extraneous to our beloved Arsenal. No, sir. No talk of how eating an entire large bag of Chilli Heatwave Doritos turned my stomach into a churning tesseract in which Matthew McConaughey rearranges books to send messages back to his daughter, who in turn deciphers a code which will send him somewhere important to save the world. Or that I reached the conclusion Tony Stark’s replacement AI for Jarvis in Avengers: Age Of Ultron sounds alarmingly like Mrs Doyle from Father Ted. None of that.

Today, I’ll talk about Arsenal, and Theo Walcott.

Theo is one of those players I find incredibly frustrating. There’s no doubt he has ability. Few could deny he’s a superb finisher when firing on all cylinders. He has performed very well in both the right-sided attacking position and as the sole central option. Yet, it’s difficult to dispute he’s been utterly woeful and hapless in equal measure. For every moment of perceived fulfilment of potential, there’s been instances in which he falters and looks, to be quite frank, unbelievably sh*t-awful.

Because of this, he’s become a figure of immense disdain amongst fans. The odd thing is, there are worse culprits. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is an example of someone who hasn’t progressed at all over the past 2-3 seasons despite showing great promise initially. Walcott has at least reached a good level at times and contributed to goals and assists. What I think singles him out are bouts of what appears to be abject laziness. The Ox, for all his faults, is rarely seen moping around the pitch unable to get involved – see Theo’s performance at Old Trafford as a perfect example of this. The Ox seldom fails to try. Walcott appears disinterested and indolent quite frequently. Rightly or wrongly, that alters perception.

Currently, that perception means the average Arsenal fan would gladly pack Theo’s bags and drive him to any location in Britain if it meant a decent transfer fee and the potential of a replacement. That could be a new transfer or the promotion of Alex Iwobi. Regardless, Walcott wouldn’t be missed by the majority and, in all honesty, I’m one of them.

But that’s because I don’t think he’s suited to the way we play and he never has been. Out on the right side of Arsene’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation he’s expected to beat his man, deliver crosses and track back to help the full-back. None of which are the strong points of his game. Deployed centrally he’s required to hold up the ball and bring the runners from midfield into play. Again, not his most formidable attributes. Where he excels is making clever runs and hanging on the shoulder of the last defender. His lightening pace in those situations terrifies opponents and justifiably so. Yet, with so many teams opting to flood the midfield and sit back when playing Arsenal, the opportunity to do so rarely presents itself.

Personally, I think if you put him upfront in a pairing for a team that likes to play on the counter-attack, he’d be absolutely lethal. But Arsenal aren’t, nor are they ever likely to be in the near future, a team that plays in that fashion. Possession and intricate passing is our MO.

Theo has been left out of England’s squad to head to France for Euro 2016 and he’s slipped some way down the pecking order at Arsenal. This summer is important for him and, all things considered, I’d be very surprised to see him still here come the opening fixture of season 2016/2017. West Ham are rumoured to be interested and reports from reputable publications suggest a bid somewhere in the region of £25m could be on the way. If true, can anyone see any negatives to accepting it? Granted, this is Arsenal we’re talking about, so the chance of it biting us in the backside is pretty high, but the positives do outweigh that.

Walcott’s 10 years at the Club is a mixed bag. Flashes of excellence sit along side moments of eye-gouging frustration. For every hat-trick there’s been a flummoxing no-show on the pitch. For every excellent finish there’s been a howlingly terrible miss. Somewhere in there is a lethal, consistent striker just itching to get out. I don’t see that ever materialising at Arsenal.

He could very well move on to pastures new and turn into that world-beater we all hoped he would all those years ago. For his sake, I hope that it does happen. But it won’t here. If it was going to, it would have by now. For that reason, and for the better of all concerned, Theo Walcott should wear a different kit next season.

But hey – that’s just my thoughts on the matter. The comments below await your thoughts. Do you still have faith in the furry-faced little dullard or are you one of the many happy to contribute your time and petrol toward getting him the f*ck outta here? I look forward to hearing your views.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more. Until that time, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

PS – ‘Pixels’ is on whilst I’m writing this. Adam Sandler, please stop making films. Please. My God, it’s so bad.

3 Comments

  1. Nick Cranham

    Couldn’t agree more but you do have to ask every now and then why we don’t switch to a 4-3-1-2 on occasions. There’s a plethora of possibilities in this formation with a defensive three or a very attacking three with potential for Sanchez and Walcott up front. Im not suggesting that this is our preferred set-up but we should be prepared to chop and change things about a bit.Too many times we’ve seen teams too well prepared as they know exactly how we are going to set-up. With or without Walcott we undoubtedly need a plan B instead of persistently sticking with the same old very predictable formation.

    Reply
  2. Arsenal1Again

    I wanted this guy gone before the the ‘sign da ting’ saga.

    I think he is only useful on the right wing or was, Iwobi and Campell would play in my team before Wlcott is considered for the team sheet and this includes if Welbeck and Giroud were unavailable. I would sooner put Sanchez up front and even Rosicky up front than Walcott, but in all likelihood would play a 6 man midfield (ala Guardiola’s Barcelona team) because we sure as hell have surplus midfielders for this.

    If you were baking for some posh toffs James at some swanky restaurant, would you use hit and miss bakeware or would you use your coveted tools which are guaranteed to turn out your food how you want it regardless of what oven you use. This is a comparative I would use for Walcott, a right winger who is hit and miss dependent on which oven he is used in (Ground/team).

    This of course is when Walcott is not a sicknote and despite him having been at Arsenal for 10 years, he has actually only played the equivalent of FIVE YEARS of League games. He is Darren Anderton incarnate, same position too.

    I hate him being at the club because all the months he is out injured I feel even an average natural Winger on the right would be more beneficial than out of position central midfilders standing in for him, especially since Ramsey is in turn more effective central. But Walcott being in the team blocks an average natural winger from being bought, an average natural winger who is built to last most games per season.

    Walcott is clearly not built for playing football at the highest level, his weak constitution and constant need for a nurse weakens our team every season by making us understaffed and making us use our best players out of their best positions. Wenger is supposed to be a master economist but Walcott being in the team debunks this.

    Diaby being a sicknote I could live with, that kick in John Terry’s head earnt him an extended contract everytime for me and his absence had no discernable detriment to the team.

    If Walcott was replaced 5 years ago with a winger who could play 34+ games a season the difference would have been massive. Not just because players would be in their natural positions and contributing more, but because there will be more assists and goals during the seasonal absences of Walcott.

    Would I drive him to another club, no I would drive him out of my club and make him find another club himself. Despite the rumours other clubs like Southampton and West Ham being after him, I doubt it. Even when Walcott was doing his ‘Sign Da Ting’ I am sure there was no big clubs after his signature. Walcott knows he would not be tolerated and given pay hikes for no reason at other clubs like he gets from Wenger the Master Economist – and would have signed for 70k and stayed on 70k until this day if Wenger had a backbone. If he moved on, he would at best be at QPR today and with less England caps.

    A narcissist cannot admit they are wrong, this is something the “Arsene knows” brigade are unaware about. Selling Walcott would be the same as admitting he was wrong to keep claiming Walcott is the next Thierry Henry (the guy who scored 22 and 26 goals in his first two seasons and 30+ goals in each of the next five seasons and injury plagued only in his last season).

    Walcott is only at the club because of Wenger’s arrogance and now because of Welbeck being out injured for at least nine months Walcott is staying put. This means more inexplicable team sheets with Walcott as a striker (must get the Goat of Ozil and Sanchez) and another half a season with Walcott earning 140k for sitting at home on his X-Box when an average player man enough to play a full season would be on half that money.

    Reply
  3. Veer

    Would be sad to see Walcott depart, but it would probably be the best for him and for the club. Even if Wenger decides to keep him in light of Welbeck’s injury, he’s nowhere near good enough to take his place, Wenger needs to buy a top class striker if Arsenal are to stand a good chance at the title next season. Just don’t want Walcott sold to another premier league club, where he would be given more minutes, probably more chances in the team, and could come back to haunt arsenal. Don’t know if there’s any buyers out there though

    Reply

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