Arsenal’s Most Deadly Attackers Ever: Nr19 His Name is Devine

Arsenal’s Century Club – Theo Walcott

Theo-Walcott-celebrates-h-008

At times Theo was, honouring his name, Godly!

Today we start to look at the players who are members of – “The Arsenal Century Club”

Nineteen players have achieved the feat and they played for the club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark.

We start today with the player who took the most games and we will finish the series of posts with the player who took the least.

Theo James Walcott was born 16 March 1989 in Stanmore, London, but grew up in Compton, Berkshire. He attended Compton Church of England Primary School and The Downs School. Nike agreed to a sponsorship deal with Walcott when he was fourteen years old. He is a product of the Southampton Academy and started his career with Southampton before Arsene Wenger signed him for Arsenal in 2006 for £5 million.

He initially joined as a scholar, having agreed to sign a professional contract on his 17th birthday on 16 March 2006.

On 30 May 2006, Walcott became England’s youngest ever senior football player aged 17 years and 75 days. In December, he received the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award. On 6 September 2008, he made his first competitive start in a World Cup qualifier against Andorra. He has represented England at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012 and has 47 caps, scoring eight goals. In September 2008 against Croatia he became the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick for the full England side, aged just 19.

His first goal for Arsenal came in the 2007 League Cup Final against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on 25 February 2007. His 12th-minute strike was overshadowed by events later on in the match: John Terry was knocked unconscious, Didier Drogba scored twice to give Chelsea a 2–1 victory and three players were sent off following a mass brawl.

Some word’s from the man himself-

“I was only 17 and hadn’t even played in the Premiership when I went to Germany. It wasn’t my decision to pick me. But it was good experience to train with world-class players, see the way they handled themselves.

“I never read the papers, so I never know what people are saying about me. That helps. The environment I’m in with the other players around me, I don’t really see what is in the papers. Of course I wanted to play for Arsenal. But I was only 17 and I didn’t want to play too much and get injuries. The boss has done brilliantly with me and now I’m ready to push on.”

Some more words-

Football is about opinions, but love me or hate me I don’t really care,” he said.

“I have been so pleased with everything I have achieved and I’ve enjoyed everything about it. Even with the injuries, it is part of the game. I genuinely wouldn’t change anything, I don’t have any regrets. 

“I’ve seen players come through who everyone says, ‘They’re the next best thing’ and they put so much pressure on them, but then they go down the leagues and down the leagues and you just don’t hear about them anymore. But if you’re strong up here [mentally] and you have good people around you, then you can get through it.”

This may come as a surprise, but Walcott is a published author.

He has written no less than four children’s books for his “T.J and the…” series.

He was just 21 when they were published in 2010. The lead character, TJ, appears to be based on the author. Goodreads rated every one of the books at least 4.5/5.

Arsenal 100 Goal Club
# Player From To Total ** Per game
19 Theo Walcott 2005 2018 108 370 0.27
** Games played to reach 100 goals.

In his 370th game for Arsenal on February 20th 2017 he scored his 100th goal in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Sutton United.

Throughout his last season at Arsenal, he was mainly used in the Europa League and in the EFL Cup, and he only made 6 substitute appearances in the Premier League. By October, he was increasingly on the fringes and was criticised following a poor performance when made captain in a 2–1 League Cup victory at home to Championship side Norwich City.

On 17 January 2018, Walcott signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Everton, ending his time at Arsenal.

GunnerN5

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Life After Ozil: Who Should Replace our Mozart?

The succession of Mesut Ozil

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What makes a good #10 in football?

While it might be a cliché, my answer would be unpredictability. Or maybe I’m cheating, as a player can only be unpredictable, if he/she is highly capable of dribbling, passing and scoring. That makes the life of a defender a nightmare, because if you mark the attacker the #10 might get to shooting distance, but if you step up to stop him, he might provide an assist with a through ball behind the gap you left behind. And a fine player always has a few tricks up their sleeves from a one-touch pass to a cheeky nutmeg. Because #10s are also especially skilled in ball control.

That usually makes them contenders to take set-pieces, but this is not a obligatory. If you visit Mesut Ozils’s WhoScored profile, it checks most boxes: he is a great passer and crosser, he is strong when it comes to holding – and controlling – the ball, he is dangerous with set pieces. On the other hand he is more vulnerable in aerial duels and doesn’t bring those defensive contributions to the team as the holding midfielders.

https://1xbet.whoscored.com/Players/13756/Show/Mesut-%C3%96zil

Mesut has 1 year left on his contract. I don’t think we would (nor could) sell him in the summer, and he should take a hefty salary cut if he wants to stay with the club after 2021. So our question for today: who will be Arsenal’s main attacking midfielder from 2021? I will high-light 3 alternatives, and looking forward to your view on the subject.

  1. NOBODY

Many top clubs play without a #10. For example Liverpool has such a strong front 3 that they don’t deploy a further attacking player. Same applies to Juventus and FC Barcelona, they play with 3 CMs behind a deadly trio of attackers. And while Isco, one of the best AMs of our time works for Real Madrid, the royal club often plays without him in the regular 4-3-3 formation with 3 defensive-minded midfielders. But there are other popular formations without a #10: Inter plays in 3-5-2, and when Eriksen is on the bench, they rely on the 2 strikers (Lukaku & Martinez). Atletico Madrid plays 4-4-2, and they don’t even have an attacking midfielder in their squad. Borussia Dortmund play a visually attractive attacking football in 3-4-3. So it is perfectly feasible to play without a #10.

However, many top clubs still use them: Man City has de Bruyne, Tottenham has Alli, Leicester has Maddison, United has Fernandes (the best transfer of the season). However. Leicester and Tottenham don’t play a front 4 – and even Man City rarely puts de Bruyne with Silva and Sterling to support the lone striker – so the 2 clubs (besides Arsenal) that regularly plays 4 attacking player are Bayern Munich (where either Müller or Coutinho supports the already tough trio of Gnabry, Coman & Lewandowski) and Manchester United (where Fernandes provides the front 3 with key passes).

I’m 100% positive that we would concede a lot less goals in the regular 4-3-3 formation with Xhaka, Torreira and Ceballos at midfield (thus no #10), but most likely we would score a lot less too. I’m not preferring this option, but it is clearly an alternative. It is up to Arteta and the club to pursue this scenario if they see reasonable.

  1. SOMEONE FROM THE TEAM

Let’s see, who can be a capable successor for Ozil among those who already play for Arsenal. I will list a few options and try to give a score how well they could supersede the German magician.

A: Dani Ceballos

He is good with the ball, and has a vision that not many player have. He has the dribbling skills of Ozil and not bad with short and long range passing either. But he is a weak finisher. Plus he is too good with tackles and interceptions, so the #10 role is not a perfect fit for him. Successor score: 7.0

B: Lucas Torreira

While Emery tried him (to our surprise) in box-to-box role as well as in #10 I don’t really think that would be a viable option. He can pass, but doesn’t have the vision of an attacking midfielder. He is not a big threat for the goalkeeper. And his key skills like tackles and concentration would be misused in a more advanced role. Successor score: 4.5

C: Joe Willock

Many see him as Ozil’s successor, but I’m not among them. Only if we abandon the #10 concept and replace the German with a box-to-box midfielder. Because Willock is indeed a box-to-box midfielder. He has the stamina to run all game, he has the muscular build to look for body vs. body challenges. Joe can dribble and he’s not a bad finisher either, but he is a weak passer. But even worse: he is a poor decision maker. And those 2 skills are vital for a #10. Successor score: 5.0

D: Emile Smith-Rowe

The 19-year-old is a natural central attacking midfielder. His competency profile is practically identical to Ozil’s: strong in passing, dribbling, chance creation, weak in aerial duels and defensive contribution. According to TransferMarkt he is right-footed, but I think he is as close to being ambidextrous as it gets. He already has 18 junior caps and played in the Europa League, the FA Cup and the Premier League. Just look at this video – especially at 1:18 and 1:56 – and don’t forget, this was 2 years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aeh_HipbupM He has the raw talent, no doubt about that. Now it is up to him and the coach to bring the best out of him. Successor score: 9.0

E: Gabriel Martinelli

He is a year younger yet worth 9 times as ESR, but less of a natural choice for the #10 role. He is another gem of the season – I think TA is already composing his post on him – as he is an efficient, almost clinical scorer and a dangerous, fast winger. Unfortunately we have better strikers in the squad (disregarding current form it is unlikely that he would displace Auba, Lacazette or Nketiah from the first team and the primary substitute), and similar applies on the wing as Auba and Pepe, hell maybe even Nelson comes before him in the pecking order. But for somebody who is a capable finisher, a fine dribbler and doesn’t mind switching between the wing and the center he can be a surprise yet viable candidate for the #10 role. He has to work on his passing skills, but never say never. Successor score: 8.0

  1. A NEW SIGNING

Given our financial situation I don’t think we have either the cash or the attractiveness to sign Kai Havertz – my main man for the position – and the ships to buy Donny van de Beek or Martin Odegaard have probably also sailed. The only way to sign an experienced, big name attacking midfielder is the Aubameyang-swap. We can either exchange him to Coutinho with Barcelona (who earns a lot, but does have a good season in Munich) or swapping the Gabonese with the duo of Ceballos and Isco with Real Madrid. Isco is 27 (just like Coutinho), but didn’t have a single assist this season. Ceballos and Isco together worth 81M according to Transfermarkt, but Real wants to get rid of him in a major summer overhaul, while we would rather stick to our Golden Boot candidate captain, so this double swap is not entirely unlikely.

We decided not to sign Cristopher Nkunku in the summer, which was probably a mistake. We could have bought him on the cheap as he was a former Emery player who was not satisfied with the lack of minutes at PSG. They sold him to RB Leipzig for 11M in the summer, and after 19 goal contribution in 2000 minutes he worth more than 31M now. But that is all in hindsight.

We are often rumoured with the following young starlets: Eberechi Eze, 21 (QPR, 12 goals and 8 assist in 3400 minutes), Jonathan David, 20 (KAA Gent, 23 goals and 10 assists in 3250 minutes) and Orkun Kökcü 19 (Feyenoord, 3 goals and 6 assists in 2800 minutes but another 19 goal contribution last year in 2000 min). From them I would go with the latter, whose only main disadvantage is his name. (Especially as Jonathan David has already stated that a jump to a TOP6 club in the EPL would be too soon for him.)

Among those who haven’t been associated with an Arsenal move, my choice would be the Croatian Nikola Vlasic, 22, currently playing for CSKA Moscow. He has already played for Everton. Good at passing and dribbling, and capable of dangerous long shots. He is not a shere talent as Ozil or ESR, but he is diligent, hard-working and experienced.

mesut happy

What do you think? Who should be Mesut Ozil’s successor?

By Pbarany

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Gems of the Season: Nr2 The Sumptuous Creator – Mesut Ozil

An ‘old’ Gunner, one that many believed was never going to be a key player at Arsenal again, is my next Gem of the Season. Mesut is a complicated character: very talented, a bit moody and in need of love and respect to be at his best, but so talented and gifted and much needed in our squad.

Arteta knew how important the German was to his team and gave him his unconditional support from the start. This was key after Emery messed with him so badly, which was one of the poorest man-management approaches I have ever witnessed.

Are we seeing Mesut at his very best? No. Will we ever see him at his very best? Well that remains to be seen, but he has been a key player for us once again, as this video will show you:

I am not sure whether playing three attackers with limited passing ability is optimal for Mesut’s talents, but they do need to be supplied with great service and Mesut is by far best suited for this.

Unfortunately, the season is (almost certainly) over and Ozil will not get a chance to get to his very best any time soon. There should be little doubt that he will be a Gunner next season, as Arteta knows he is pivotal to his team and Mesut is a loyal kind of a guy. So there is a reason to rejoice, and if Mikel will go with an attack of Ozil, Auba and one or two proper, ball-tight, ball-passing wingers, like Nelson and Saka, we should certainly have another good season out of the German maestro.

By TotalArsenal.

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Gems of The Season: Nr1 The Silk – Bukayo Saka

This season is as good as over folks so we may as well start analysing it a bit. It feels that Emery is a much more distant memory than the amount of time he actually has been away from the club, but with an election, the ‘start’ of Brexit, the death of our beloved dog Henry, and the outbreak of the pandemic, a lot has happened since Freddie and then Mikel took over; and this season will be remembered for decades. albeit mainly negatively, I fear.

One of the few really BIG sparks of the season (so far) is without any doubt the emergence of the silkiest Gunner in a generation: Bukayo Saka. Four goals and eight assists in 1721 minutes of football for the club in all competitions, and that at just 18 years of age. Pretty amazing. But stats do not tell the whole story about Bukayo who has played most of his minutes as a defender, albeit with a licence to attack, and then attack again.

Watch this video even though it contains nothing new to your eyes, I reckon. Such is his impact on us that we know all his moves and key moments. The use of his speed, body and strong balance, as well as his ability to read the game well, make a more than decent defender. There are areas for improvement but very few teams tried to constantly put pressure on our left side of defence during the season, which is an indication that they didn’t see Saka as a weakness in our defence.

Bukayo is a very sharp passer of the ball and he combines so naturally with his fellow players. His first touch is good and his first pass is quick and almost always measured.

But what is most impressive is his ability to be simultaneously intense and calm, which reminds me a bit of Marc Overmars’ time at the home of football. Attack space and get past a player (or two), look up for the best next move, deliver a peach of a cross or pass, and boom we score a goal: that’s Saka!

Bukayo is also constantly in control of the moment and the space around him… at just 18 years of age. Fellow BKers did we ever have a finer gem on our hands?

trumpets

By TotalArsenal.

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Arsenal Strongest 11, Best Formation, And Ideal Player Addition

The hiatus continues and will probably last a few more months. It takes time to adjust to the situation, but a lot is at stake here and we must learn to do without live football whether we like it or not. The one thing I am realising once more from this situation is how important it is to just see your team play. We are always looking at a game just played in terms of how it will help or hinder us to finish in the top four, win a cup etc, but that just makes us focus on the future and it undermines the experience of the game itself in the here and now, so to speak.

football ground deserted

Now that we have no games to watch, and I don’t see us kick a ball again before 1 July at the earliest, we will fully experience what it is to just not see our team play. Who is still interested in whether we win the FA Cup or finish in the top-four now? Just to see our team play again is definitely my biggest wish.

It is hard to write about football or Arsenal at the moment; well at least for me it is. But let’s try to get back to talking about Arsenal again; and I encourage other BKers to put forward their posts in the coming weeks. We now had a decent chance to look at our squad and I am interested in BKers answers/views re the following three questions:

  1. What style of football and formation would you like us to play?
  2. What is your strongest eleven from the current squad (assuming everybody is fully fit)?
  3. If there is one player you would like us to add to the squad, regardless of cost, who would that be?

Here are my three answers:

Style of football/formation

4-5-1: I think Arsenal played its best post-invincibles football in this formation and I think it best suits us and these modern football times. It makes us compact and work as a solid unit all over the pitch. I reckon it gives us the best protection of our defence and most creative football up-front; and I always prefer four at the back to three or even five.

Strongest-11

ideal 11

** my ideal addition to the team

The one player

That would have to be Kevin de Bruine for me. We need more goals from the centre of midfield and KdB just is that sort of player that should have worn the red and white rather than the sky blue from the moment he came to the UK. We missed out on him but I cannot think of a better embodiment of the Dennis Bergkamp of this era. Sorry Mesut.

Over to you! 🙂

By TotalArsenal.

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Arsenal Regress to EmeryBall but Ozil and Saka Pull Us Through

Our win on Saturday was a very hard one and sprinkled with luck, but the best team won and I am glad that Moyes’ tactics did not undo Arteta’s. 

It looks like we are gliding back to Emeryball, and that’s not good. It is inevitable to happen now and again, but key is now for Arteta to get the team to listen to him and change their ways. I only watched our second half which I believe was our best one. The team was too stretched: our midfielders were isolated, our attackers were not connecting with midfield and our defence sat back too much: it really looked like we were being managed by Unai again.

I don’t know why we are not pushing up more from the back. Moyes had set up the team to beat us on the counter and we were scared of them, can be the only conclusion. Still, our tactics of sitting deep(er than usual) and leaving our midfield isolated let to a lot of chances for the Hammers and only poor finishing and decent saves by Leno prevented a loss for us on Saturday.

Up-front the Hammers’ defenders outnumbered our attackers and especially their central defenders had a good game. They anticipated Ozil’s cleverness and were too fast for our ‘runners’ Eddie and Auba. It needed something special or a dollop of luck, and the latter came our way thirteen minutes from the end. Auba’s shot was blocked and reached the head of Ozil;  the German cushioned the ball for Laca and he took his chance without any hesitation.

I guess our defence are less sure as per the changes Arteta’s has made. Mustafi’s connecting skills were missed, even though Mari did his best to make up for it. Big Sok as FB has its plusses and minuses, but that is two changes to the back four and I can well imagine that pushing up and hemming in the opponent was a scary prospect for them.

Luckily, Ceballos had a decent game and tried hard to connect with the attack when he could. Same goes for Xhaka even though his passing lacked its usual sharpness. The MOTM for me was Mesut Ozil, who was together with Saka the only one with the vision and ability to add quality to our attack. Mesut had the assist so MOTM seems right.

It was not a beautiful or a good game, but the team spirit was high and that pulled us over the line. Next up is Citeh, Arteta’s management learning ground, and that will of course be a different kind of challenge.

By TotalArsenal.

 

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Arsenal v Hammers Preview/ Line-up: Mari and/or Sok, Nelson or Pepe, Laca or Eddie?

Arsenal v West Ham United – March 7th, 2020

See the source image

The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. They moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904, which remained their home ground for more than a century. The team initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the Football League in 1919. They were promoted to the top flight in 1923, when they were also losing finalists in the first FA Cup Final held at Wembley. In 1940, the club won the inaugural Football League War Cup.

West Ham has been winners of the FA Cup three times; in 1964, 1975 and 1980, and has also been runners-up twice; in 1923 and 2006. The club have reached two major European finals, winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 and finishing runners-up in the same competition in 1976. West Ham also won the Intertoto Cup in 1999. They are one of eight clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 62 of 94 league seasons in the top flight, up to and including the 2019–20 season. The club’s highest league position to date came in 1985–86, when they achieved third place in the then First Division.

The club promotes the popular idea of West Ham being “The Academy of Football”, with the moniker adorning the ground’s new stadium façade. The comment predominantly refers to the club’s youth development system which was established by manager Ted Fenton during the 1950s, that has seen a number of international players emerge through the ranks. Most notably, the club contributed three players to the World Cup-winning England side of 1966, including club icon Bobby Moore, as well as Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst who between them scored all of England’s goals in the eventual 4–2 victory. Other academy players that have gone on to play for England have included Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee and Paul Ince.

Since the late 1990s, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Glen Johnson began their careers at West Ham and all went on to play for much bigger clubs. Most recently, the likes of first teamers Mark Noble and James Tomkins, as well as Welsh international Jack Collison, have emerged through the Academy. Frustratingly for fans and managers alike, the club has struggled to retain many of these players due to (predominantly) financial reasons.

West Ham, during the 2007–08 season, had an average of 6.61 English players in the starting line up, higher than any other Premier League which cemented their status as one of the few Premier League clubs left that were recognised to be bringing through young English talents and were recognised as having “homegrown players.” Between 2000 and 2011, the club produced eight England players, as many as Manchester United and one fewer than Arsenal. Much of the success of The Academy has been attributed to Tony Carr, who was West Ham youth coach between 1973 and 2014.

Arsenal have won the last three home games against West Ham and eight out of the last nine, in all West Ham have only managed to win five away games at Arsenal in the Premier League.

Arsenal v West Ham EPL Home Games
Played W D L GF GA
1 30-Apr-94 1 0 2
2 05-Mar-95 1 0 1
3 16-Sep-95 1 1 0
4 17-Aug-96 1 2 0
5 24-Sep-97 1 4 0
6 26-Dec-98 1 1 0
7 02-May-00 1 2 1
8 03-Mar-01 1 3 0
9 24-Apr-02 1 2 0
10 19-Jan-03 1 3 1
11 01-Feb-06 1 2 3
12 07-Apr-07 1 0 1
13 01-Jan-08 1 2 0
14 31-Jan-09 1 0 0
15 20-Mar-10 1 2 0
16 30-Oct-10 1 1 0
17 23-Jan-13 1 5 1
18 15-Apr-14 1 3 1
19 14-Mar-15 1 3 0
20 09-Aug-15 1 0 2
21 05-Apr-17 1 3 0
22 22-Apr-18 1 4 1
23 25-Aug-18 1 3 1
24 07-Mar-20
Total : 17 1 5 46 15

Our overall home record is also very impressive with West Ham only winning thirteen out of sixty one games.

Arsenal v West Ham EPL ALL Games
W D L GF GA
Division1 Total 21 9 8 61 35
EPL Total 17 1 5 46 15
Total : 38 10 13 107 50

Assuming Manchester City cannot overturn their two year ban in Europe a win on Saturday will put us within two points of a Europa League spot in 2020/21.

GunnerN5

TA’s Preferred Line-Up:

A big game for us as a win is required and the Hammers will be a step up from the Southern Stokers of last Monday. Our biggest challenges are better defending of set-pieces and create more opportunities. The latter Arteta and the team are working on but I feel we need more height in the team for the former. So I would include either Mari or Big Sok in the team, ideally both. It appears that Mustafi is fit to play and his inclusion would also be welcome.

In midfield we have to do without, under Arteta peripheral, Torreira for the rest of the season, so it will be a choice between the ball magnets of Guendouzi or Ceballos. Both have qualities and are to many pleasing on the eye when running forward with the ball, but the complete package they are not as yet. It may well be that AMN will join the battle for this (or Xhaka’s) position any time soon.

Up-front there is good competition for the CF and RW positions. Nelson had an excellent game against Portsmouth but WH is a different challenge, no doubt. Still, I prefer the one who is most natural with the ball and is able to not just produce penetrating attacks but also hold on to the ball ocassionally, as to win us some time and create space for others. So the highest positioned man at Trafalgar Square it is for me.

I am still a fan of Laca but Eddie just has the momentum at the moment, and his anticipation and positioning in the box is superior to the hard working Frenchman.

 

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