Statistically on par, if not better than Bale: Theo deserves more respect!

Theo-Walcott-Gareth-Bale-Tottenham-Hotspur-Ar_2907609

Learning from the mistakes of the past, has Wenger finally gotten it right?  Do we have a star on our hands?

This article will be the first of a three part series that examines how our trio of Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gnabry compare to Gareth Bale.

Many fellow Gooners are begging and wishfully hoping that Arsene will use his rumoured large transfer kitty to acquire a world-class talent this summer, to help us compete with the upper echelon of clubs again.  I must admit that I am guilty to this same methodology myself, and am yearning for a top quality player to inject that something special into our squad we are sorely lacking.

After all, Manchester United have game changers in van Persie and Rooney, Manchester City have Silva, Yaya Toure and Aguero, and Chelsea has Mata and burgeoning talents in Hazard and Oscar.  Several Gooners will further point to the fact that even our less significant and lower quality rivals in North London, have a star in their ranks in Gareth Bale.

So then, in theory, Arsenal must sign a star themselves, in order to combat the threats that the opposing clubs above, and competing, with us currently have.

But, what if we already have that star within our team and just need to exercise patience?

There is no denying that Gareth Bale has become one of the dominant and most clinical finishers in the Premier League.  With 21 goals and 4 assists in 34 starts this past season, Bale was third in scoring – only behind Robin “there’s a little boy inside of me” van Persie and Luis “I’ll bite you if you get in my way” Suarez.  What’s more impressive: 9 of those 21 league goals were game winners.  However, this isn’t to say that the rest of Bale’s goals were not important either; they ultimately led the Spuds to their coveted 5th place finish and secured them Europa league in the process!

No matter how much we all hate him because he plays for our most loathed rivals or for the fact that one must really contemplate why Rise of the Planet of the Apes invested so much money on performance capture technology to get Andy Serkis’ face into that of the ape, Cesar, when they could have just used Bale’s; one cannot deny his outstanding ability and presence on a game.  His 2.3 key passes, 1.8 successful dribbles, 1.9 accurate crosses made and 1.3 interceptions per game, prove that he is a very well-rounded player contributing in more facets of the game than just goal scoring.

However, we all know how statistics can paint an inaccurate picture of a player’s true impact on the game.  In this particular scenario, the statistics truly reinforce the notion that Bale is a top, top quality player.  His pace, anticipation, ball control, strength, curve and dip on his shot, distance shooting, FK ability, composure and passing, are all top notch and all of these attributes make him an imposing threat game in and out.

So now that I’ve written enough praise about that Spuds player, let’s move on to the focus of this article.  Do we have a star waiting in the wings within our very own team?

Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale will forever be linked due to the fact that they are the same age, both developed at the Southampton academy and purchased from Southampton in the same year.

Theo’s return of 14 goals and 10 assists this season has largely been overlooked by the majority of football fans, because of the remarkable increase in goal output achieved by Bale.  Theo’s steady improvement suggests that his progression is more sustainable over time, and that he too will eventually be a top goal scorer in the league.  However, one will point to Bale’s success this season and proclaim that his accomplishments will only lead to far better ones in the years to come.

2012-13 Side-By-Side Stat Comparison:

Statistic

Player

Bale

Walcott

Minutes   Played

3,011

2,195

Goals

21

14

Mins   per Goal

143

157

Goal   Conversion %

13%

16%

Assists

4

10

Mins   per Assist

753

220

Total   Contribution

25

24

Mins   per Total Contribution

120

91

Clear   Cut Chances Created

6

11

Shots   Taken

165

87

Shots   on Target

73

39

Shot   Accuracy

44%

45%

Successful   Dribbles

1.8

1.5

Successful   Crosses

1.9

0.9

Key   Passes

2.3

1.2

2011-12 Side-By-Side Stat Comparison:

Statistic

Player

Bale

Walcott

Minutes   Played

3,216

2,727

Goals

9

8

Mins   per Goal

357

341

Goal   Conversion %

7%

11%

Assists

10

8

Mins   per Assist

322

341

Total   Contribution

19

16

Mins   per Total Contribution

169

170

Shots   Taken

136

76

Shots   on Target

45

34

Shot   Accuracy

33%

45%

Successful   Dribbles

1.8

1.0

Successful   Crosses

1.3

0.5

Key   Passes

2.3

1.2

A closer look at the statistics reveals that Theo is much more clinical than Bale and simply needs to shoot more before reaching or surpassing him.  With more minutes played next year, it’s very plausible to suggest that Theo is capable of this too; I’m further intrigued to see what Theo can accomplish next season without a contract cloud hanging over him.

What else do the statistics reveal?  They tell us that Bale is likely the superior player based on being better in peripheral statistics such as successful dribbles, successful crosses and key passes in the past two seasons.  His strength, ball control, ability to score from distance, in addition to his pace makes him a more dangerous and well-rounded footballer.

However, one may wonder why being better in all of these categories, notably key passes, does not lead to significantly more assists for Bale (and much less than Theo’s output in 2012/13).  Well, this confirms that Bale likely plays with inferior teammates who are not as capable of converting their chances and that despite creating more chances, Theo is actually better at creating clear cut chances.

An advantage that Theo has over Bale is tutelage from a superior manager in Arsene – he has plenty of experience in working with and developing world-class strikers.  If Theo can improve his weaknesses and dedicate his training to understanding and evolving his approach to the ST position, the sky is the limit for him.

As noted earlier, statistics are certainly not the be-all end-all in capturing the talents of a footballer.  However, the analysis does give promise that Theo could be a top scorer in the EPL if he would shoot the ball more frequently; and that his total contribution (both goals and assists) can also exceed that of Bale, based on the fact that he creates more clear-cut chances over the course of a season and per minute. 

Despite the constant criticism surrounding Theo’s lack of imagination and close ball control, he largely deserves more respect; the statistics reveal that he is a more dangerous contributor than Bale and that he also has the potential to be a world-beater.

What do you fellow Gooners think of the analysis?  Will Theo match or better Bale’s output next season if he plays equal minutes to him and takes more shots?

Written by: Highbury Harmony

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138 Responses to Statistically on par, if not better than Bale: Theo deserves more respect!

  1. Jon says:

    Bale looks far better to me. Twice as many key passes, nearly three times as many successful crosses, nearly twice as many successful; dribbles, more goal, more assists, twice as many shots – just lacks a bit of accuracy, but that’s probably because he’s always shooting from distance, Walcott never does.

    There’s a reason clubs are looking to spend a massive fee on Bale, and why not a single club moved for Walcott when he was available in January. I know who I’d rather have, and it’s not the technically hopeless, one-dimensional pace machine whose career will be over by 29.

  2. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, you’ve got mail 🙂

  3. Highbury Harmony says:

    Could have fooled me Jon, the table shows that Theo has more assists. Or maybe Bale’s conversion% is lower because he’s just not as clinical as Theo? Maybe, it’s because Bale takes more shots and played more minutes! God forbid if that was the case, amirite?

    Also, Bale is the focal point of the Spuds’ attack so it’s easy to see why he has more key passes and successful dribbles. However, Theo creates more clear cut chances, so really Theo is the more valuable player from a statistical value standpoint.

  4. mbuchu says:

    Next season Theo will improve as a player especially when playing along side Poldoski.Walcott makes poldoski ineffective in ST role…How i wish he has Gervinho dribbling skills

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Jon

    You are right with your first line: Bale LOOKS better. He is easier on the eye and technically a more complete player. But, in terms of bread and butter stuff – goals and assists – Theo delivers every 90 minutes of playing time and Bale needs 120 minutes to do that. Those stats are very hard to pooh-pooh away, aren’t they?!

  6. gunners78 says:

    Reblogged this on Arsenal BPL.

  7. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi mbuchu,

    Thanks for sharing your insight, it’s very difficult to not be optimistic about Theo improving next year as he’s clearly a talented finisher who is only starting to scratch the surface of his vast potential. The combination of not having a contract dispute/playing more minutes, shooting more and developing the weaknesses of his game should see Theo increase his total contribution next season in goals and assists.

    I’m intrigued as to why you believe Theo makes Poldi ineffective in the ST role though. Would you mind expanding on your statement?

  8. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA @ 22:26, very astute and fine observation. Bale LOOKS to be the better player and that is only because of his sheer number of goals this past season and the fact that he’s more noticeable playing in a central role. It’s incredible how under appreciated Theo is because he is not as adept at consistently beating defenders on the dribble and scoring wonder goals.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    If we extrapolate Theo’s stats towards Bale’s playing time, he would have scored 19 and produced 14 assist – against Bale’s 21 goals and very meagre 4 assists.

  10. bobbyp5555 says:

    What a great article. I agree with HH. I think Theo is a great player. Maybe not as consistent yet as we’d all like, but his contribution was telling this season and without him we could have missed out on top 4. And anyway, the bottom line for me is Theo is better becasue he plays for us and Bale is a spud.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed HH.

    Thanks for a very fine post about Theo’s contributions this season to the cause. It is very well-structured and a joy to read. 🙂

    You have given GB a lot of respect and, although he is a cheesy Spud, it is fair to say he is a fine footballer. Theo can dazzle and disappoint in the same game, where GB looks more classy throughout a game (although most of us just see highlights of GB’s performances which makes him look better than he really is).

    The stats are the stats though, and as per your fine post, they clearly favour Theo in the bread and butter stuff. 🙂

  12. Highbury Harmony says:

    bobbyp,

    Cheers for the kind words and I appreciate your response!

    Glad you appreciate Theo and understand that without him, we would have done worse than we did in the table.

    Consistency and continuing to develop his weaknesses will be key for him. This year he displayed that he was able to score crucial goals for us and his goals were relatively well distributed.

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Always a pleasure to write for BK and I really appreciate the praise from another talented author :).

    Difficult to not respect GB and what he brings to a football pitch, but in no way should that diminish what Theo achieved this season and is capable of achieving in the future. People love to laud over Bale’s accomplishments and recognition this year, but from a statistical point of view, they are equal (Theo is technically better). Of course, stats do not tell the whole story, and it’s very possible that with the extra minutes, Theo may not have produced the extrapolated return of 19 goals and 14 assists.

    However, it does give promise to the season ahead for Theo, without the cloud of a contract talks hanging over him and with the confidence that this season has surely given him.

  14. mbuchu says:

    HH ok, what makes Drogba a nightmare 2 defend against, sometimes it’s hard to notice him playing but when he get a chance…the last three games, walcott hat 5 clear chances where PODOSKI was well position but opted 2 shoot…i mean weak shots akin to ma granny…how many clear crosses did Theo deliver bearing in mind Poldi is also good finisher not onli with his feet bt also his head…have also noticed Giroud rarely score wen poldi isnt in the field..

  15. mbuchu says:

    HH ok, what makes Drogba a nightmare 2 defend against, sometimes it’s hard to notice him playing but when he get a chance…the last three games, walcott hat 5 clear chances where PODOSKI was well positioned but opted 2 shoot…i mean weak shots akin to ma granny shots…how many clear crosses did Theo deliver bearing in mind Poldi is also good finisher not onli with his feet bt also his head…have also noticed Giroud rarely score wen poldi isnt in the field..

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    As long as Theo produces a goal/assist every ninety minutes I will be a very happy bunny, especially if he keeps playing on the wing. And yes, HH, no more contract talk and better quality support from the hole position should see Theo progress further next season.

  17. Highbury Harmony says:

    I see what you mean now mbuchu. In terms of crossing, this is largely because of Theo’s abandonment of his wing play and not because of Poldi playing at the ST position. OG rarely scores when Poldi is not on the pitch, because he is wasteful and in a defensive set-up, he gets isolated up front and is not good enough to score on his own. Theo assisted quite a few OG goals earlier in the season on crosses, so it was the shift in formation and Theo’s (selfishness) desire to play centrally that ended up hurting both Poldi and OG’s stats to a degree. Poldi is also not good in the air at all and has little to none aerial ability.

    The offense as a whole suffered during our undefeated run at the end of the season and it can not be nailed down to one individual player’s fault. Theo scored our goals in a lot of those games and was often the sole source of offense.

    But I do agree that Theo needs to develop and evolve his game and not be solely focused on scoring goals for himself in order to prove that he should be the main ST.

  18. AFC says:

    HH, well done for writing an article which actually shows how good Walcott is. 🙂

    Bale has scored more goals than Walcott because he has played around 30% more minutes than Walcott. Then you have to take into consideration that quite a few of Bales goals have come in the Europa League where some of the competition is not great. Another factor that you have to take into consideration is that the entire Spurs team is set up around Bale to get the best out of him, he is the focal point of Spurs’ attack. Walcott despite being our top goal scorer is not the focal point of our attack.

    For me the bottom line is how many goals and assist you get NOT how good they are and for me Theo is the better team player. Bale gets more recognition than he deserves while Walcott get less recognition than he deserves.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC 🙂

    The goals are PL only.

    HH,

    How many penalties did Bale convert out of those 21 PL goals?

  20. AFC says:

    It baffling to me how Bale is valued at 50 million and how Walcott is valued around 15 million.

  21. mbuchu says:

    HH: i have to admit that 2012-2013 theo has played a great role Arsenal finishing above Spurs, that why i state categorically that theo did much greater than Bale…he has been scoring against big teams

  22. AFC says:

    Thanks for that TA. 🙂

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Just checked and Spuds were not rewarded a single pen last season muhahahaha muhahahaha.

  24. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, as soon as I saw your comments about the lack of respect Theo gets, I knew you would be a fan of my article. Thank you for the kind words and additional thoughts as well!

    All agreed on all of your points and they are further examples as to why Bale receives more attention (some of it unwarranted) than Theo does. Also, I’m glad that Theo is not a diver like Bale and he often gets up after being fouled to continue on and score/set-up beautiful goals (Newcastle anyone?).

    Can you imagine if Theo develops strength, better vision and an understanding/maturation at the ST role this summer and became the focal point of our attack? Even if we buy another ST this summer to start like Higuain or Rooney etc., it’s nice to think about considering his conversion% and continual improvement!

  25. AFC says:

    HH, I thought Walcott scored 16 goals in the EPL.

  26. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, 0 goals for GB from the spot, but 0 for Theo too as Arteta took all the PK’s!

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Theo only scored 14 league goals this term mate :).

  28. previgo says:

    Christiano Ronaldo is the only winger to have scored more goals than theo this season in all the major leagues…. That should say something right? Apparently being second only to CR7 isnt something of a coincidence.. Theo gets little respect from his own fans and thats something i have been trying to point out to my fellow gunners.. And hey! Someone said no team came for theo when he was in a contract dispute.. Seems you have an old brain.. Theo was wanted by.. Man utd, chelsea, man city, liverpool and juventus.. U can google it if you so wish,.. Theo was the hottest indemand property when he was yet to sign a new deal.

  29. AFC says:

    HH, quite a few of Bales goals in the EPL have been as a result of poor defending from the defender supposed to be marking Bale. If Bale was playing in the CL he would probably be neutralised to an extent and would probably struggle to score the types of goals he scored in the EPL in the CL.

  30. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, so long as Bale is playing for the Spuds, we’ll never get to test that theory 😉

  31. AFC says:

    HH, FIFA 13 too have Walcott down as scoring 14 goals, you are correct.

    Right on Spurs and the CL. 😀

  32. Highbury Harmony says:

    Previgo, welcome to BK mate!

    Excellent additions and it’s interesting what statistics reveal, isn’t it? Of course, critics and Theo haters will chalk up Theo’s goals being second to Ronaldo’s as some anomaly or because he played as a ST in some games, but the majority of his production came from the wing and he really should get more respect than he does.

    And yes, the individual who claimed no one came after Theo apparently did not monitor the transfer news very carefully when it was believed that Theo would be leaving out squad.

  33. jgc says:

    HH

    great article. IMO, we agree as do others. As you know. I think Theo needs some ball at feet skills (more) to add the extra string to his bow that let’s him surpass AND utterly blow away Bale.

    If he had that I think 10-15 assists and 25 goals in the EPL, without hindering the production if others is well in range. A total of 40 and our goal difference to +10 more and challenging for first.

    And thus, since it seems expected, serious, Presence!

    Cheers — jgc

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers gunners78 :).

    Any input that you’d like to share on the article?

  35. AFC says:

    Lionel Messi has described Walcott as “one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against.”.

  36. AFC says:

    That quote shows that players have huge amounts of respect for Walcott.

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    Jgc :), all agreed mate and cheers for the kind words!

    Of course, his ball control in tight spaces and dribbling ability are what truly hinder Theo from being a complete footballer, but there are many types of footballers that can become “world-beaters”. If he can further improve his finishing, shoot more and at least marginally improve his weaknesses and evolve his game, it’s quite possible that he’ll bring a steady return of 20 goals and 10 assists year after year!

    Would be interesting to see if Theo can eventually accomplish a 25/15 split as it would certainly propel us to the top into the title conversation.

  38. AFC says:

    HH, Walcott is really a striker and strikers are known to not be as good dribblers as wingers. Dribbling is not really part of Theo’s game, he would rather just push the ball past defenders. He can still improve his dribbling though.

  39. Highbury Harmony says:

    And I’m pretty sure it was Pep who said, “You’d need a pistol to stop him.”

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    A gunner is always faster than a pistol.. 😛

  41. AFC says:

    HH, yes, Pep did say that.

    It is harder to stop Walcott playing his best then Bale playing his best. To stop Walcott the whole team has to defend deep. If you really wanted you could get one player to personally man mark Bale and neutralise him.

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hmm AFC, not sure if I would go that far. Bale is every bit as dangerous, if not more dangerous than Theo. He’s a more well-rounded footballer, but Theo is the more dangerous finisher at full speed/in-game for sure. A few of Bale’s goals were also from free-kicks, another area where he excels over Theo.

  43. AFC says:

    HH, you can man mark Bale as you know he is the nucleus of Spurs. Stop him and you stop Spurs. Stop him from shooting and scoring crackers you stop him.

    Try man marking Walcott and it would not be as effective because Walcott is more of a team player who will create chances for others. Bale does not really create chances and is likely to hold onto the ball himself but with Theo he can provide a quality assist (by offloading the ball to another teammate) and a quality goal.

  44. AFC says:

    HH, who do you think would be more dangerous in the CL?

  45. Glic says:

    Great post HH and with you being hand cuffed to your bed whilst your cell mate gave you loving glances !. hahaha
    Was`nt there a series called …..” Prisoner: Cell block HH ” !…..alright I added an extra H !. hahaha

    I don’t think Theo will ever have decent dribbling skills, he cant tackle and is a bit light weight, but he has some attributes which make him….”D” for Dangerous….Dangerman !.
    His pace is always going to cause problems, he is one of the best finishers at the club and he is honest !.
    I like the kid and If my memory serves me right, when Oz has done pre-matches, hasn`t the opposition fans always said Theo is the one they fear and the one they would like to have !.

    As for Chimpion the wonder ape, I would have him no problem and have previously stated….put in the offer !.

    Surprised there haven`t been more Spuds on verbally abusing you yet…..the night is still young !. hahaha

  46. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, good points but I still think you are understating Bale’s abilities. It’s not a fluke that he scored 21 goals and that he’s capable of scoring more. Excelling as a focal point of a team is a lot of pressure and he still delivers. Bale’s also got incredible speed, strength and ball control, which allows him to separate away from his man. Man marking Bale is no easy feat with his pace either! You could also make the argument that because Bale is a more well-rounded footballer, he’s more unpredictable and more difficult to stop.

    However, it is true that Theo is a better team player (when he wants to be) and is one of the best at scoring at full speed. His movements are better than that of Bale’s and that largely is a result of his growing understanding of the ST position under AW. With more work with AW and further improvement on his weaknesses, I see no reason why Theo cannot become as good of a goal scorer as Bale or better.

  47. davi says:

    Let’s be honest. Theo’s stats are impressive and are probably equivalent to Bale’s overall but you can’t ignore that Bale is more targetted by defenders, makes the break through in tight games more often and simply has more presence on the pitch. His power, both in his balance and his shooting, and pace make him almost unstoppable at times while Walcott only really has the pace. There’s more to it obviously and Theo’s a very good forward, but I’m sure most would agree that if we’d swapped Walcott with Bale Spurs would have fallen away months ago and Arsenal would have been closer to the title.

  48. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, impossible to tell you that. Bale was pretty god damn effective the last time he was in the CL and made Maicon, one of the best RB’s at the time, his b*tch! With Bale’s progression over the last year, it could just be a matter of opportunity. Also, Theo wasn’t terribly effective in CL and lost some playing time there because of the early season contract disputes/he was off-form.

  49. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, fine additions and on top form as always with your humour! As always thank you for the compliments ;). Though, I hope you weren’t the cell mate giving me loving stares…

    Yes the opposition’s fans Theo and know that he is always a threat to score with his pace and finishing ability. It’s just a matter of evolving beyond that, developing his weaknesses and shooting more before him becomes a top 5 EPL scorer.

  50. Highbury Harmony says:

    Davi,

    All agreed. Bale is currently the more well-rounded footballer, and this article was simply used to display that Theo isn’t too far off if he can improve other aspects of his game. From a finishing and productivity standpoint, Theo is actually better than Bale, which would surprise a lot of people.

    However, better footballer or not, if Theo ends up shooting more and plays more minutes and outscores Bale next season, then what? Will people argue that Bale is better because he is more well-rounded? Or will Theo get more respect because he outscores Bale and becomes a top scorer in the EPL? Then on what basis are we measuring the “better footballer”?

  51. AFC says:

    Davi, I do not agree. I think Bale would have struggled to fit into our system. Wenger wants his players to play as a team. He does not want players doing it all by themselves. Theo is the better team player. With Bale our other players would not be able to express themselves as much and we would become a one man team.

  52. AFC says:

    HH, that is the point I was saying the other day. No matter what Theo does people will always not give him the appreciation he deserves and guys like Wilshere and Bale will always get excuses as to why they are still better than Theo and end up getting more credit than him.

  53. AFC says:

    Davi, also Theo has one of our main outputs in terms of goals and assist for seasons but Bale has only just started being Spurs main output in terms of goals for the last season.

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi davi 🙂

    Well argued comment except for the last part. Theo produces more goals and assists per game and that affects the table more than anything else (and defending, of course).

  55. AFC says:

    HH, if we take out Walcott for Bale for RVP’s last season I am assuming we would not have got 3rd as it was Walcott and Song who got most of the assists for RVP.

  56. AFC says:

    Michu has scored 18 goals for a mid- table team, would have low wages and not a particularly high transfer fee. Wenger should be looking to bring him in.

  57. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, no doubt Michu is a top talent, but at the rumoured price of 20-30 million, I’d look elsewhere. Also, AW is a man of principle – he had the chance to bring Michu in at 2 million and passed. He will never pay 3, 5, 10 x etc. that amount, especially when he said he didn’t think he was good enough for the team then. AW will attempt to find his own Michu.

  58. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC @ 0:11, can’t think like that mate. Who knows what would happen if Bale had the same quality of players around him as Theo does at Arsenal. Sure, Theo is more of a team player, but there’s guarantee Bale couldn’t adapt with the same tutelage and in the same environment.

  59. AFC says:

    HH, if Michu is valued at 20- 30 million then he is not worth the money. I thought we could get him for around 5-10 million.

  60. AFC says:

    HH, would you be happy if we got Cesar, Fellani and Fabregas (I do not think this will happen) and played a false 9 formation with Fabregas in the role Messi has at Barca with Podolski and Walcott as the false 9’s on the flanks?

  61. AFC says:

    * (I do not think Cesc will come back)

  62. James Bond says:

    Jon,

    how can any of us argue with the first sentence of yours ” Bale looks better to you ” , why wouldn’t he after using all that hair gel and yearning for bananas.

    that being said, i’m one of the bigger fans of bale amongst fellow gooners , however, look at the minutes both of them played…had Theo played similar minutes to bale, i have no doubt that he would have scored more and created many more assists (note how it’s already more than double to bale’s)……spuds have been a one man team, which means everything went through bale as he was the focal point whereas Theo is part of an actual team with everyone chipping in.

    theo may well end his playing career at 29 , chances are he would do as a gunner, however with Bale, you would have to wonder how much longer he can be in a “nearly top 4 team” as he may end up his playing career at 25 due to back injuries (courtesy of carrying spuds).

    i’m plenty sure, you won’t be coming up but if you do then we can have a splendid discussion in which i will agree that Bale is the better at taking crosses than Theo, but then again i may also point out that at arsenal we have 2/3 cross takers, where as i’m sure you get the drift 😉

    moving on.

  63. AFC says:

    HH, Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer has been released. Wenger might look to bring him in instead of Cesar so he has more money to strengthen other positions such as DM, CF/ST etc.

  64. James Bond says:

    thanks HH, that was marvelous , plenty of numbers and stats to look and compare, splendid.

    yes, this 24 year old lad has all the ingredients to make it big, entering his prime, he is just about ready to take his game to a whole new level and take off !

    what i really like about our current squad is that there is plenty of competition for Theo at the moment with gerv, Ox and the young gnabry waiting in the wings, which means Theo needs to keep improving and delivering the goods or else he’ll find himself on the bench – that for me is a massive factor in getting him motoring as well.

    if we had similar healthy competition for places in other areas of the team cough striker cough cough than i reckon Giroud would deliver the goods at a better rate.

  65. James Bond says:

    davi,

    Bale has presence , no doubt about that and Theo does go missing at times in games, even when he has scored within the first minute he would go missing for the remaining 89 minutes, yep.

    but yeah, let’s be honest alright, if we swapped bale for theo, we would still be a team relying on 11 individuals instead of being a 1 man bandwagon.

  66. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I would be very happy with Cesar, Fellaini and Fabregas! One world-class player, an experienced GK and a physical DM/B2B mid, that is a dream come true :).

  67. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Schwarzer is not the best option, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world either. At least he has PL experience but at 40 years old, I wouldn’t gamble on him.

  68. AFC says:

    HH, do you think use Fabregas as the CF in our to great effect?

  69. AFC says:

    * our team

  70. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, you’re welcome mate and thank you for the glowing review and praise :).

    Interesting how much closer the players are when you break down the numbers and consider minutes played and contribution per minute isn’t it? The most exciting part of Theo is that it’s clear he just needs to shoot more and play more minutes in order to improve his numbers. There wasn’t a sudden spike that leaves you wondering if he can replicate that form, but just steady improvement year after year.

    Competition is key in getting the best out of your players and even more important when players are off form. OG wouldn’t benefit from more competition, he needs to be the competition coming off of the bench imo. He’s just not the type of player who thrives with pressure or with a better option in the squad. He’s very good when he is left unmarked and when more set pieces are given at the end of games though.

  71. AFC says:

    HH, I would be grateful if any experienced GK joined us. I would even take back Jens.

  72. James Bond says:

    right, so Chelsea have a 40 million bid turned down for Cavani.

    interesting.

    up it by 5 mills and the film producer /director will accept it i reckon.

  73. AFC says:

    HH, and Walcott seems to improve season after season. Let’s just hope he can keep improving. 🙂

  74. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, it’s certainly an interesting proposition making Cesc our false nr.9, but I reckon he is not fast/clinical/strong enough to be as effective as Messi or to make it as a ST in the EPL. Would he score more goals than OG? Very likely and add more assists at the same time since he is a world-class talent, but what we gain in playing him there (vision, ball control, link-up play, more goals etc.) we’d lose in (strength, aerial ability, hold-up play).

    If we bought Cesc, I’d prefer to play him as a nr.10 and have Poldi and/or Theo up front with the other of Theo/Poldi on the wing with Santi and Fellaini and Arteta behind him.

  75. Highbury Harmony says:

    Basically AFC, the formation would be:

    Podolski
    Santi-Cesc-Theo
    Fellaini-Arteta
    Gibbs-Koz-Mert-Sagna
    Ches

  76. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, I doubt Napoli will sell Cavani for anything under £50 million. Plus, the FSW claimed he won’t sell him “for what it’s worth”.

  77. James Bond says:

    yep, but regardless of that, he will be at the bridge i reckon sooner rather than later.

    Cavani/Hulk/Jovetic – Chelsea

    Fellaini/Cesc/Rooney or higuain – Arsenal

    frightening.

    but we would most def have the better squad/team compared to chelsea because of the one and only A.Ramsey

    😉

    Cavani will fail in the EPL – save this comment somewhere and watch this space.

  78. JM says:

    Theo Walcott (24yrs) on par with Gareth Bale (23yrs).

    Sergio “Kun” Aguero(25yrs) > Juan Mata(25yrs) > Walcott & Bale

    (based in terms of all round abilities in the attacking midfield/winger and inside forward roles)

    i.e. In the near future, Walcott shall look to reach/surpass Aguero’s level; Bale shall look to reach/surpass Mata’s level.

  79. Highbury Harmony says:

    JM,

    Interesting perspective as always. Do you see Bale as much of a creator/distributor as Mata though? Imo, both Bale and Theo will be looking to become ST or SS like Ronaldo/Henry that are consistent scoring threats. I just don’t think Bale has the vision or passing ability to have Mata as a benchmark.

  80. AFC says:

    HH, Fabregas has played in the CF role for Spain to great effect. In the formation I suggested Fabregas would not really be leading the line. Podolski and Walcott would come in centrally from the wings in front of Cesc making him the deep lying forward. We have almost no strength and arial ability though within the team.

  81. AFC says:

    * would have

  82. AFC says:

    HH, I think Bale will end up as a SS and Walcott will end up as a ST.

    When Walcott gets older he will lose his pace and will be much less effective the wing leading to Walcott being permanently used as a ST.

  83. JM says:

    @ Highbury Harmony June 8, 2013 02:26

    Bale will become a more all around player if he were to develop the vision and passing ability of Mata. He would benefit given more space to run against defenders and carrying the ball in a free role rather than in a ST and CF where he would be marked by opponent’s CB and playing with back to goal.

    Walcott, if he wishes to further his development as a striker/forward, shall need to improve his football intelligence, close control, strength and agility to add-on to his arsenal. What Aguero has in abundance.

  84. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, the key is that Cesc has been effective in the nr.9 role for (italics)Spain(italics). With Xavi, Iniesta, Mata feeding the ball to you, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were effective in the role. You could tell Spain still lacked something in the latest Euros and aside from the CB’s, it was at ST (Villa being injured and Torres being more concerned about his hair and the dressing rooms).

  85. AFC says:

    JM, for me Walcott’s strength is not holding him back from being a good ST but his technical attribute which are improving. There are plrnty of STs with little strength but are still very effective.

  86. Highbury Harmony says:

    JM,

    IMO, I don’t think Bale has the vision or passing ability nor will he ever truly develop that – it’s just not in his repetoire, and much like Ronaldo, he’ll always want to be a shooter first. Bale is a SS or LW.

    I agree on your points about Walcott though. The difference between Henry and Theo was that Henry had all the positives of Theo’s game, but was also incredible at all of Theo’s weaknesses too.

  87. JGC says:

    HH, AFC, TA and others,

    Heres where I may (MAY) disagree s bit. IMO, I think Theo has the adequate, more than good enough skills at feet, and with a little, just a LITTLE, more would be awesome.

    My proof? AW is well known to favor technical skills (and pace) but the skills are mandatory. No way would he tolerate Theo, goals and all, as much without that basic capability. In my opinion. I suspect that is what frustrates AW about Theo..

    Where I see the problem, Theo has blinding pace, and has grown up relying on it solely. And face it, when it works that well, why go otherwise. The answer, because it could go even better, but to him that’s a risk I suspect.

    One can excel all the way to EPL and in it with just the one, why take the risk of looking worse? The answer, to become a legend!

    PS: opponents always say good things about you when you are a top player. At least the smart ones. So what Pep and Messi say is nice and largely true-ish, there is context!

    Just my 2p – off to the flame proof chamber! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  88. AFC says:

    HH, I see your point. 🙂

  89. Highbury Harmony says:

    Jgc, I actually agree with you, no need to duck and hide mate!

    We’re not saying his dribbling and close ball control are holding him back; but that they could largely improve to help evolve his game.

    My issue with Theo is the exact same as yours – you can tell he relies too much on his pace. Thus, by fixing his strength, ball control and dribbling, it will enable him to evolve his game become a better overall footballer. He largely just lacks the confidence in other aspects of his game to not rely on his pace and those weaknesses can be improved on the training ground.

    Does that make sense?

  90. AFC says:

    JM, Walcott does need to learn not to rely on his pace or he will struggle to perform when he gets older and loses his pace.

    Some people say Michael Owen relied on his pace and when he got older and lost his pace he suffered tremendously.

  91. AFC says:

    JGC, sorry my last comment was for you not JM.

  92. AFC says:

    HH, for me any improvement in Theo’s strength will be minimal but he can improve his dribbling. He showed good dribbling and ball control to get his 3rd goal against NU when leading the line. It just seems to me that he wants to go for the easier option and you cannot blame him for that but I know what you are saying.

    Imagine Walcott with Gervinho’s dribbling, ball control and agility.

  93. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gervinho, like Theo at times, suffers from tunnel vision so not sure how much of a benefit that would be. I would say if Theo had Ox’s dribbling and ball control, we’d be better off! But then again, if Ox gets more opportunity maybe he’ll be the next “world-beater”!

  94. JGC says:

    HH et al

    IMO, vision is proportional to experience so it will come.

    My biggest problem with over reliance on one tool, like pace is it makes him easier to defend. Not easy, but easier, because you know what he will do. With a better balance, look out!!

    Cheers — jgc

  95. AFC says:

    HH, Walcott has limitations which our other winger/strikers make up for and they have limitations which Walcott makes up for and that is the beauty of having a squad (like ours) that has many different types of players within it. Let’s just hope we can add some quality 🙂

    I would really like to hear sometime next week that we have signed a quality player.

    I’m off now, speak to you and everyone else tomorrow. 🙂

  96. chris says:

    Good article, good points well made –

    Although as anyone can see straight away, Bale is a world class player, with the potential to be the next Christiano Ronaldo, possibly quite soon.

    Theo is more limited and his faults far more obvious – so fair play to him for making the most of his ability and keeping on working at his game.

  97. Highbury Harmony says:

    Good night AFC, and great point. That is the beauty of a football squad built on a good foundation like Arsenal (and not over reliant on one individual like the Spuds :D).

  98. Gerry says:

    HH – I think you have worked a lot on this blog, and it shows our attention to detail. Good stuff.

    My quick 2p’s worth is this. Last season was a mixed bag for Theo. In poor and good games there was always some room for improvement? Hence a lot of the negative criticism.

    Not all of it could be laid at Wacott’s feet though. Some of it came from pretty average passes to him, followed closely by the lack of chemistry with some of those around him?

    So why I think he will be a much better player this coming season is twofold. One we will have a creative midfielder who can utilise his best attribute, his pace, by getting the right ball to him before their defence can get two on him. By having a sq striker when playing out wide, he can be back to playing decent assists as he did with RVJ?

    Unfortunately I don’t think Giro carries that ‘awe’ factor that his predecessor had, or indeed Higuain(if the rumours of AW meeting in Paris is true?) will have?

    I also think with a quicker turnaround from defense to attack this time will be ideal for Theo left up front to quickly get one-on-one with their GK … and the likes of Rosicky/Grenier/Isco to get up to support him better because, with the DM in place, they can forget about defending as soon as we are in possession.

    As for partnerships, my alternatives would be PEA/Giroud, Walcott/Higuain, Podolski with either PEA or Higuain.

    This will also be backed up by a combinations of Rosicky/Santi/Grenier/Ox/Ramsey/Wilshere/Arteta.

    Behind those The DM, and occasionally combined with/or the latter 3 above.

    Szcz in goal, rotated with Fab if he stays, or X(Swarzter).

    With that sort of investment I think Theo will do quite well in the coming season, as will Arsenal?

    For all those players not yet signed replace with AW’s preferred.

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Interesting comments last night!

    Comment I liked most is from AFC, which is a nutsheller imo:

    ‘Walcott has limitations which our other winger/strikers make up for and they have limitations which Walcott makes up for and that is the beauty of having a squad (like ours) that has many different types of players within it. Let’s just hope we can add some quality

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc 🙂

    You wrote:
    ‘Where I see the problem, Theo has blinding pace, and has grown up relying on it solely. And face it, when it works that well, why go otherwise. The answer, because it could go even better, but to him that’s a risk I suspect.’

    I am a believer for people, employees or footballers, to concentrate on their strengths and further develop them. Focussing on weaknesses is very often a waste of time and reduces people’s concentration and overall performance levels.

    If Theo does have potential to improve his dribbling and close control skills, it would have shown by now.

    Theo skills are superb speed, good to great first touch, clinical finishing, super-direct, fearless, thick skin, finding fellow players in dangerous positions (high assist rate as a result). IMO, he should stick to these and make them even better, sharper, deadlier and NOT focus on things that are simply not his talents/forte.

    (If this comment does not smoke RA out, we’ll never see him here again hahaha 😛 )

    The one thing he will improve on going forward, as others have pointed out, is his decision making, which comes with experience for a player like Theo. A settled nr.10/AM with exceptional ‘through-ball skills’ will also really help Theo to improve EVEN further.

    Theo just has to focus on his strengths and not waste his short, footballing career on improving his weaknesses. As per AFC’s comment, let others compensate for them.

  101. JGC says:

    TA,

    Quick reply from some years as a semi-pro bike racer and something I found true in my football career..

    where you wrote:: ” am a believer for people, employees or footballers, to concentrate on their strengths and further develop them.”

    I would say: ” race your strengths, train your weaknesses” … because eventually they all become strengths..

    Regarding AFCs comment. I totally agree, yet the more versatile and threatening every player is, see my above comment/philosophy, the more threatening and verstaile we are as a team. In this case … More **IS** better.. 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  102. JGC says:

    PS, it’s philosophical but… if I only played my strengths I would be a loudmouthed guy from New Jersey, who played good football in a country where it didnt matter when I was younger, … And not necessarily as successful as the guy i grew up with named Jon Leibowitz, another loud mouthed jersey boy who changed his name and went on to loudmouthed (tho I actually agree with him on lots) success (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Stewart)…

    He wasnt a bad distributing midfielder either way back when…

    cheers — jgc

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc – I can see where you are coming from but I believe that Theo’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his greatest strength, not his weaknesses.

    Are you familiar with the work of the Gallup Organization on talents/strengths?

  104. JGC says:

    TA

    Thanks, not fully aware, but I work in an “industry” (just like my old days I tech hubs) where winning is key, BUT if you always p,at to strength, you become too predictable and too one dimensional, and, eventually, lose.

    Its too easy to play always to strength and ignore areas to develop. True, others can cover and that DOES make a team. STILL, ambition, which I suspect we all have for Arsenal, IMO only, starts with maintaining strength and building that advantage if you can, WHILE ALSO spending the extra effort to be even more dominant by developing your weaker or other areas (let’s avoid the word weakness as it doesn’t really apply fully).

    IMO, Theo won’t get faster, but he can become more Multi dimensional to his own,AND the teams, benefit. IMO only…

    I think it’s a difference of philosophy here! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  105. JGC says:

    Bedtime for me, catch y’all tomorrow!

  106. kingz says:

    maybe, and only if he can find his shooting boot

  107. AFC says:

    JGC, very intersting comments.

    At the age of 24/25 Walcott is ‘stuck in his ways’. By this I mean there are aspects of football which are part of Theo’s game and aspects of football which are not part of Theo’s game. If we use dribbling as an example, it is not in Walcott ‘beliefs’ or preference that he should look to dribble past players meaning he has chosen from a very young age not to use dribbling as a main aspect of his game although he still has decent dribbling ability. It is not Walcott’s style to dribble past two to three players (where an Ox or Gervinho would look to do) when he can to and probably prefers to push the ball past defenders then take into account that Walcott is really as striker who is played on the wing and has based his game on being a striker, there is less emphasis for a striker to have top dribbling as opposed to finishing.

  108. AFC says:

    So why should Walcott who is a striker have the dribbling and trickery of a winger. That is like playing Lennon up front and expecting him to have the finishing of a striker. Walcott in my opinion will never improve certain technical and physical aspects like his strength, dribbling and skills and if we do see any improvement in these attributes the improvement will be minimal. I think we will see an improvement in his finishing which will lead to him scoring more goals, striking instinct i.e. strikers mind, poacher’s nack of getting goals. Reading the game offensively, improving his attacking positioning and being in the right place at the right time. I feel this will improve more than his finishing.

  109. AFC says:

    * a striker
    * top finishing

  110. AFC says:

    * interesting

  111. Hi HH,fellow Gooners…feels like FOREVER since i last shared my thoughts with my fellow Gooners….

    HH, thankyou 4 this EXCELLENT post..i actually think its long overdue

    THEO is the MOST(in my humble opinion) underrated player and sadly even by a number of gooners…

    YES,he’s VERY one dimensional BUT he is SUPER effective..he runs with the ball instead of dribbling but he is a very important player in our side..dare i say he’s even INSPIRATIONAL!!!..on his day, he is a total ANIMAL and i honestly PITY the left back’s whom he punishes but on the flip side, when offtune, i’ll be the first 2 admit he’s quite disappointing,BUT he is now maturing so we can honestly expect him to be consistent on a regular basis..a return of 21 goals and 14 assists is absolutely encouraging from a player with “no football brain”

    ARSENE is one bloody MIRACLE worker..i honestly don’t see who else could have helped Theo to be what he is today…i still think 60% of him signing da ting is recognition of what the good Prof has done 4 him..

    Theo instils fear in the opponents hence they try and sit deep to curtail his involvement in a match, but with SUPREMELY gifted footballers like Jack and Santi, this does not always work as the mentioned players can deliver pinpoint thru balls which we all know Theo relishes. Now that his finishing has GREATLY improved, we can expect at LEAST 15 + goals come nxt season…4 me Theo is TOP CLASS!!

    So i say lets stop with the Theo hating and appreciate him 4 what he brings to our team, so sing along fellow Gooners…THEEEEO!!!THEEEEO!!!!THEEEEO!!!!!!!!!!!

  112. Highbury Harmony says:

    Some excellent overnight(for me 😉 ) comments and a very interesting and educating read. Thanks for sharing those comments!

  113. Highbury Harmony says:

    kingz, thank you for stopping by. All agreed, Theo needs to shoot more and prove he can be consistent in his finishing. The first is easy to fix and I can’t see why more shots won’t lead to more goals!

  114. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers Gerry, really appreciate the kind words and glad you could stop by during such a busy weekend for horse racing!

    All agreed with everything you just said. Walcott needs to exert his presence in more than just spurts of the game, but the fact that he can score in those spurts and limited chances, is very impressive.

    With a SQ or even better ST bought up front (the Higuain rumours look very promising), more attention will be diverted away from Theo, at least it will be more equally distributed, it will hopefully mean more goals due to him being able to slip behind defenders for through passes and 1 on 1’s with the GK.

    On the point of counterattacks, you are spot on. Arsenal appear, on paper, to be the perfect counter attacking team (Gervinho, Ox, Theo, Poldi, Jack). However, as soon as the opportunity arises to counter, the play inevitably falls apart and one individual holds onto the ball for too long or shoots from 40-50 yards away. The decisiveness is not there and counter attacks should be more focused on in the training ground. We have the pace to exploit other teams, so it’s just a matter of finding the right catalyst that can initiate the counters and intelligently distribute to one of Theo, Poldi or the new ST (hopefully he has good pace, it’ll help).

    Despite Maureen’s flaws, the best team at counter attacking has to be Real Madrid. Everything is so fluid, filled with intelligent, quick passes and fast movement, ultimately leading to goals where it seems like they just walk the ball into the back of the opposition’s net. Why are their counters so beautiful and successful? A main reason is the catalyst in Ozil. He frequently gets the ball multiple times in the link-up (via Khedira, Di Maria, Benzema/Higuain, Ronaldo, Alonso), before ultimately giving the ball off to either Benzema/Higuain or Ronaldo to finish the play off.

    Hahaha you really seem infatuated with PEA! He must be your BOING! player ;). It would be nice to have rotation like that, but I’d even be happy to have Higuain and Walcott up front with Poldi on the left and OG coming on as a super sub and Sanogo as the depth ST if he doesn’t go on loan. That should be more than enough depth and goals!

  115. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers Chris.

    I do agree with you to a degree, especially in respect to Theo’s limitations being a bit more obvious. However, as you stated, he makes the most of his opportunities and what he has. Bale may be more well-rounded, but what makes a footballer a world-class one? If Theo can score 20-25 goals and contribute 10 assists in the EPL at his peak and be clinical domestically and in Europe, then is not considered world-class? Or is world-class reserved for the well-rounded footballers that can contribute more than just goals and assists?

    With Theo’s conversion%, it’s quite possible that he’ll surpass Bale’s output soon. However, Bale is the focal point at Spuds and has the luxury of playing a central role, where Theo does not. So perhaps that is a distinct advantage for Bale.

  116. Highbury Harmony says:

    Kenyan G, much thanks for the kind words and I appreciate your reinforcing love for Theo!

    It’s quite sad how underrated of a footballer Theo is, especially by his own fans, mainly due to the fact that he is not a ST and is not as technically appealing from a dribbling/close ball control standpoint. Theo could score 20 goals and 10 assists next season and fans would still have something to criticize about him. However, Bale could score 20 goals and 5 assists again next year and the world would appreciate and adore him. That’s the power of marketing and media I guess!

    Theo, on his day, is unstoppable. His game against Newcastle and Reading (COC) were absolute screamers. He completely dominated both games and perhaps critics are expecting this from him on a regular basis. If we get back to attacking, Wengerball footy, there’s no reason to believe that Theo’s total contribution won’t continue to improve. He’ll be afforded more opportunities to score, and with hopefully better quality signings this summer, he’ll have better delivery to and from those players.

  117. Highbury Harmony says:

    http://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/tottenham-make-late-move-atletico-mineiro-star-bernard-3962097#.UbNC5xZyGlY

    Look Glic, your wish has come true! They’ve made a move for Bernard…erm wait that’s Spuds though and not us. Did you try to tap up AW and his management team on transfers, they didn’t listen so Spuds hired you as a scout?

  118. jnyc says:

    HH, simply one of the best posts ive read anywhere. Good theme,great research and stats.
    TA will remember i wanted to sell theo a couple years back. But i changed my mind a year ago. I think a full season will see17- 20goals, 12-15 assists. Especially if we get a better striker. This will benefit theo and us greatly

  119. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers jnyc, thank you for the kind words and very high praise!

    No worries about wanting to sell Theo…I think most of us are guilty of wanting to as well! It’s a good thing AW has more patience than any of us :). Hoping for big things from him next season!

  120. AFC says:

    HH, maybe Wenger’s patience a certain Welsh engine will amount to something good as well. 😉

  121. AFC says:

    * with a

  122. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon FFG’s 🙂

    jgc – we do indeed come at it from different philosophical angles. One day I will write a post about the need to mainly focus on strengths and talents, and maybe you could do one about the need to work and improve the ‘lesser developed areas’ 😛

  123. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I sure hope so. Ramsey’s got a good motor and could be the next Arteta – nothing special, but makes all the right decisions. Integral since a team cannot be filled with all superstars and no one willing to do the dirty work!

  124. AFC says:

    HH, if Ramsey reaches Arteta’s level, I would be happy. 🙂

  125. AFC says:

    Next season we could see Arteta rotated for Ramsey.

  126. AFC says:

    The Mirror has said that AW has met up with Higuain and his father to discuss a possible move. Let’s hope something happens.

  127. Glic says:

    Evening Splooge Suckers 😆

    Bernard for £10m HH?. Get in there Arsene and Gazump the Spuds !

    A bit more on Cesc and Higuain AFC .

    Who`s that in the background behind Cesc ?………BOING !

    http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/transfer-talk-show/130608/breen-turner-fabregas-barcelona-future-and-higuain-arsenal-199271

  128. Gooner4eva49 says:

    What a fun, joyful and informative post! A satisfying read.

    Great to see the comparisons and in such detail good on you. I’m sure everyone appreciates what you have done. It makes you think of the potential and the prospects of years to come and I know we do but others need to recognise theo and give him some credit or at least some acknowledgment. Gets more minutes and more shots on goal and he will be more terrifying and devastating to the opposition. Another thing to consider, I don’t know if it has been mentioned, but I believe bale has had the advantage given his position. Theo out wide, producing what he has? Imagine him as the ST he sees himself. Intriguing. High hopes.

    By the way I’m sure some wont care but I deeply do and wanna shout to the world that me and my other half got married for her birthday yesterday down in Glic country. What a day and what a beautiful place. Nobody knew what we was upto it was an elope wedding! Nobody knows yet we’re due home to tell em. Unless they read bergkampesque they’ll know!

  129. Glic says:

    Congratulations to you G4eva49 and Mrs G4eva49 !. 😀

    Whereabouts down here was it ?…….it`s ok….I wont tell anybody !. hahaha

  130. James Bond says:

    Congrats Gooner4eva49.

    that’s the way to go 😉 well done and best wishes to both of you ! i hope she’s a gunners fan as well, ha

  131. Highbury Harmony says:

    G4eva, congrats mate! Hopefully my article was as joyful, satisfying and informative as the celebrations after your eloping ;). Thank you for the kind words.

    Spot on regarding Theo’s position somewhat restricting his goal tally. Playing centrally and being the focal point of an attack will undoubtedly lead to more goals. Theo just needs to evolve his game and not be a one trick pony in regards to just looking for through balls and breaking past the back four and I reckon he’ll be fine.

  132. TotalArsenal says:

    Mr and Mrs Gooner4eva49 🙂 🙂

    Many congratulations with your marriage and happy to hear it was an unforgettable day for both of you!

    And thanks for sharing it with us! 😛

  133. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Thank you for the comments!

    😀

    We stayed in St. Austell in a lovely place, got married in Bodmin and went to Respryn forest had lots of photos spent a bit of time there n then to porth pean then a lovely meal in Charlestown! Ha ha please don’t tell anyone! 😉

    Thx JB I converted her a long time ago! She loves em as much me!

    HH, thx. so looking forward to next season the I know it’s the rumour mill but being linked to all these players recently is encouraging and with gazidis recent comments. Higuan I hope arrives!

  134. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Thx TA! 🙂

  135. Mike says:

    I do not care WHAT ANY SPUD says about Bale Walcott IS top class and He has a never say die attitude.
    How many forwards would get tripped up go down and while getting up beat not 1 not 2 not 3 but 4 Chelsea players and THE keeper to go on to score this goal.


    Suarez would have just laid on the ground looking for a free kick.
    and I think I will let Theo him self speak for me

    YES This guys IS good AND a True GOONER

  136. Highbury Harmony says:

    All agreed Mike, let’s not forget his wonder goal against Newcastle this season when he dribbled around two defenders, got tripped and then chipped it over Krul!

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