What to do with Theo Walcott?

Time for the god of speed  to step it up.

Time for the god of speed to step it up.

Theo Walcott, since his return from injury, has found his place in the team occupied by others. It is not unusual in a top team to find players with considerable quality somewhat sidelined, but I have to admit Theo’s is a very curious case. I say this, because, if you take everything into consideration and analyse what each player (competing for that spot) brings to the table, then I can’t help but feel for him. Let us have a look at each player in detail.

Danny Welbeck

Signed for 16M from Manchester United, Welbeck’s transfer to Arsenal was undoubtedly the surprise of the summer. When he arrived many (if not most) felt that Arsene had pulled another Andre Santos. Some believed that the gaffer could extract the Thierry Henry from him. Only time will tell who is right but for now, this is my honest assessment of his abilities.

Welbeck is a striker with several qualities that give him the potential to be a world beater. First and foremost has to be his spirit and mentality. He is always willing to run himself to the ground for the team. He is also very quick and is always looking to take on players. There’s is also the fact that, on occasion, he produces a deft flick or a jaw dropping turn that leaves his marker clueless. His movement off the ball is very good too. Danny is also a very good finisher/striker of the ball (I will explain). He is also strong and quite good in the air. However, my main issue with Danny is his decision making. Danny is a very good finisher but he always seems to make the wrong decision, especially inside the opposition box. Taking an extra touch when he should have pulled the trigger, going for goal when he should have squared it for a team mate, going for power over placement & vice versa. He is also very poor on his chocolate foot. For me, all these negatives can be attributed to age and can be ironed out in time. in the CF position.

Wenger said that the reason he likes playing strikers on the wing in the initial stages of their development is so that they can build their stamina, learn how to beat players, learn how to operate in tight spaces and learn how to finish from different angles in front of the goal. Thing is, Danny already has all that. Decision making is what is lacking. The way to remedy that is to give him more playing time up front, so that he gets more scoring chances and eventually the composure will come. It is no wonder he has scored for us when he played as the main striker. It is also no wonder he scores as much as he does for the national team. I do not for a minute expect him to oust Giroud from that line up but rather to be his understudy.

Theo Walcott

The reason for this post: an in form Theo is (and I have said this time and time again) one of our best finishers, if not the best. And on top of that, his off the ball movement is top drawer meaning when we have him in the side we are always going to get clear cut chances. This is evidenced by the number of one on one chances he has been failing to convert while still recovering his match fitness (normally about 3-5 a game). What’s even more is that he has an understanding of how Arsenal play. He has developed an on the field understanding with Giroud, Santi, Ozil and even in the few times they’ve played together, Sanchez.

Sure, he may not have the defensive output that Sanchez or Welbeck have, but if Ozil was given the chance to learn, why can’t he? The truth is Walcott will never play through the middle, but we have found a system that suits him even better. Considering his passing and crossing ability (ask RVP) playing him on that right flank with the freedom to roam, alleviates him of the physical responsibility of a traditional winger, which allows him to thrive. I mean three goals in five starts for a player who missed an entire calendar year of football is more than just impressive. I think before we call for his head, let us give him a chance to get back to the form he showed before he got injured.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain

For me this is the player who should be competing with Theo for that spot on the right wing. He is one of our most improved performers. His pace, dribbling ability and tenacious attitude make him a nightmare for any defence. I actually believe that as long as Theo isn’t match fit, he should be our starter out wide. He can even slot in for Alexis when he runs out of steam. All he needs to work on is his goal scoring and his final balls (passes) and he will be unstoppable.

In comparison to seasons past, Arsene has improved his squad rotation tactics but I still feel he isn’t there yet. Ideally a team with as many players as we do should not have instances where some players suffer from fatigue, or fatigue related injuries and others languish on the bench. How is it that Ozil & Cazorla both get tired when we have TR7? Yet in the same team, Monreal and Gibbs both have played enough games thanks to rotation. Rather than push Welbeck out wide where he is less effective, why doesn’t Arsene rotate him & Giroud at CF? If they both were to get injured/tired we would have to play a false 9. He can do the same for Ozil & Santi to give each a breather once in a while.

Honestly I feel losing Theo would be a decision we would live to regret, especially if we sold him to a rival. He still can make our attack even deadlier than it is now. Give him a chance.


By Marcus

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37 Responses to What to do with Theo Walcott?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for an upbeat post about three promising players, who, in my opinion, might all miss the Arsenal boat long term. Arsenal now have money to get very good players and we could do with another Sanchez-like player on the right.

    Welbeck might still come good and needs another season under Arsene….but I have my doubts. I don’t like his positioning and decision making, and he doesn’t score enough to be our CF: too big a risk in our PL.

    Ox has the best potential but we have been saying this for years. I have doubts he will get to the top, but there’s still hope.

    Theo is a very good player to have but it looks like Wenger is annoyed with him, probably to do with contract stuff. Something tells me he has had it at Arsenal And it is to do with his attitude, I reckon.

    I would not be too sad to see them all sold in the next 18 months, but love to see them come good…still.

  2. steve says:

    when Theo first started playing for us i have to come clean and admit i used to afford him the exact same leeway to not track back and get stuck in as much as others do that i know slate members on here for doing with Ozil – very hypocritical of me i admit.
    In those days it did pay dividends and he was always available for a pass through and he does finish well but the game has changed since then and now (especially in our current set up) wingers are expected to be more wide playing midfielders who like OX and Sanchez track back, tackle, get involved in the play etc and i don’t think Theo has this in his locker. Even for a winger he is terrible at actually beating a man one on one down the wing with a dribble or a bit of skill like Sanchez or OX, slot a ball into space and he’s got great movement to find it but ask him to make something himself and its a whole nother story.

    It kills me to think that we have potentially two of the best strike partnerships you could ever wish for but because we play one up top a sub par winger is all that half of that force will ever be.
    Podolski for example would be lacking in too many areas to play up top on his own but add his insane left foot finishing to Welbecks right footed work rate and pace and you have a great partnership, stick either one on the wing and you have a sub par winger Yearning to be played up top.

    Likewise with Theo, put his right foot finishing, pace and movement with Giroud’s left foot hold up play and passing skills and its a bloody match made in heaven but again put either of these on their own on the wing and you lack in certain areas. Theo gets away with it a bit because of his pace but now there are others competing for his spot with almost the same pace it becomes a different matter.
    We’ve seen what happened to Podolski.

    If Wenger finally gets a left footed winger option correct like he’s been trying to develop in Podolski and now Campbell without much success (say by signing a Dybala for instance) then Theo will find he has a right footed winger group of competition consisting of Sanchez, OX, Gnabry, Silva and even Bellerin played further up – thats quite a bit of talent to replace him should he move on.

    For me personally i would call a spade a spade and play him as a third OPTION (not choice) striker, a sheer pace and movement striker with great finishing, like that young lad Berahino.
    Giroud is strength, hold up play and a good creator of moves when he drops deep.
    Welbeck is strong pacey and works hard all over the pitch.
    Walcott aint gonna do shit towards either hold up play or closing down but put any half decent ball through and he’s on it like a flash with great finishing.
    That would mean three out and out strikers in the team and the rest like Sanchez, OX etc would be left to focus on wing play, i really want to see OX play more centrally so if it was up to me i would trim that list down even more lol.

    Thats how i see it anyway, love what Theo brings to the team don’t get me wrong but i want to see it up top not on the wings were it is supplemented by weakness in other areas that are now becoming essential to productive wing play.

    By the way did anyone see Akpom rescuing England U20’s the other day – he’s gonna be a top player, Welbeck’s height and strength, beat Walcott in the sprint and sticks them away for fun – class 🙂

  3. steve says:

    OX sold in the next 18 months lol nice one TA i needed a giggle, likewise i wouldn’t be too sad to get some money back for our big name flop Ozil, that’s a big chunk of change to reinvest more productively 🙂

  4. Nik says:

    I have to agree with Steve’s evaluation of Theo’s skills….well mostly the skills he doesn’t have.
    The biggest question for me and as history shows also a big question for the club: Is Theo worth a 150,000 a week contract for 3 or 4 years? (That adds up to 30 million in 4 years)
    My is answer is a very big NO.
    His finishing and his wingplay qualities, mostly beating a man one on one, are not good enough to earn that much money.
    So for me the logical conclusion is to sell him in the summer which would give us at least 15 million pounds plus the 5 million wage we save from the last year of his contract. That makes at least 20 million to sign a player who would come in earning less than the 150,000 Theo would earn on a new deal AND is going to be a better player.

  5. Retsub says:

    Nice post Marcus. I would put Theo ahead of Welbeck every time. He may not work as hard, but things happen when he is on the ball.

  6. steve says:

    I wouldn’t be too upset if we sold Theo and got Depay – i know TA is with me on that one 🙂

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    I am with you on that one, Steve. 😉

    Depay is a rare talent.

  8. Gerry says:

    I am happy with this post Marcus if only for one reason. I can be brief.
    Not that you haven’t written a nice post, but from the early answers you clearly cut the positives down to suit your argument.
    My brief answer is this. I agree with virtually all of Steve’s arguments against Theo, and totally with Nik’s point on the nitty gritty – Is he worth the money?
    No doubt he would be a great asset to many a side, which means we should get a decent price for him. Do we have to look for a replacement? No.
    I think when Debuchy steps back in at RB we will see Bellerin closing out games ahead of him, and when he does we will see his true potential realised.
    Despite his lack of experience we have already seen he has more to offer than Theo in every department except scoring. But that will come.
    He is quicker off the mark, his off ball movement is better, he can tackle, he can head a ball, and he can improve on his already very good crossing skills.
    Sorry Theo, you put yourself in this position.

    Good luck to Akpom, he should come back a better player next season. However, I think the reason to let him go out on loan is largely down to the need to assess how good is Serge Gnabry over the coming weeks.
    Very, is my hope.

  9. henrychan says:

    hi all.. NIce post Marcus..
    I hate to say it.. but maybe Steve is right.. maybe.. hehehehe..

    I don’t know why players like Walcott and Lennon are left behind recently.. Maybe more and more team did a buspark system nowaday..
    But if we look what Monaco did to us in Emirates.. Players like Carrasco.. whom linked with us now.. is a fast and speedy player just like Walcott.. and can kill any team in a second..
    Just like Lennon and Bale did in the past..

    I think Walcott missed Sagna a lot.. whom used to supply him a long pass ball..
    We don’t see that happened in Bellerin and Chambers..
    Maybe Debuchi can give him more pleasure.. hehehe..

    Yes.. Welbeck is a very talented guys.. his goal in that theater of dream.. was a very excellent and skillful one.. one in a million chance.. hahahaha.. but I still believe he is a CF.. not a winger..
    Ox.. is not a winger also.. he is a AM.. He never scores through wing side.. always through the middle side..
    And I don’t really enjoy our 4-1-4-1 formula.. to many players in the middle.. and that’s make our ball go round and round almost in the middle..
    And that’s what really happened when we lost to Monaco.. Once our enemy cut the supply of the ball.. whom always round a round in the middle.. we lost control.. and we lost our game..
    A fast players will easily kill us.. hehehehe..
    Go back to 4-2-1-3 if we don’t have a very solid DM or 4-1-2-3 if we have a great DM and AM who can also defend very good as Ramsey, Rosicky and Cazorla did..

    But.. Wenger know the best.. and I must said.. In Wenger We Trust.. hahahaha..

  10. jnyc says:

    Good subject. Id keep theo if he doesnt require a raise in salary. I don t really get whats hoing on with Arsene, he should use him a little bit?

  11. James Bond says:

    disagreed with the majority.

    we should keep hold of Theo, if he doesn’t focus too much on the £.

    he has possibly been the most injury prone player other than Diaby, RVP and JW.

    what Theo offers – no one else in this squad offers, which is direct running, stretching defences, width and better crosses – note, how Giroud last season said after scoring that the assist was provided by his “favourite player” .

    he will be fine, as long as he starts 3 games in a row or even 2. don’t judge him on this seasons very limited performances.

    saying that, give me Reus over Theo anytime of the week or day 🙂

  12. James Bond says:

    RA may have a thing or 2 to say on this subject 😉 where art though RA!

  13. oz gunner says:

    In my opinion we should sell him. Arsene has carried him for a very long time and theo should start repaying the faith. He’s been out for a year and his injury record before that was woeful. If he’s asking for a pay rise I think he’s pulling the piss. I think his finishing is extremely overrated too. He finishes well when he kicks it across goal coming in off the wing but that’s about it. His take side foot efforts are laughable at times and regularly fluffs one on ones. Took him forever to sign last time and if he is doing the same arsene should pack his bags for him.

  14. James Bond says:

    that’s a strong argument there @ OZ much like the majority here

    but I do think, that he can give us a different option and score 20 plus goals every season, provided he stays fit. he is a big match player and does make things happen, even if he misses sitters or needs 4/5 chances to score. more often than not, he is in the right place at the right time- his anticipation is top notch.

    maybe he has lost a bit of pace after the injury or is low on confidence, but all will fall into place once he gets to start 2 or 3 games in a row.

    we can actually play a 4-6 , if Giroud wasn’t available or was injured and Theo be perfecto for that formation

    back 5

    ———–Ramsey—————Le Coq———————Santiago


    his inclusion in the squad does give us that additional option as he can slot in the false no.9, traditional winger, inverted winger or as a striker.

    big day tomorrow against the kiwis ehhh ? come on you kiwis – win your first world cup, do it for Martin Crowe !!!

    what do you make of that line up @ Steve

  15. James Bond says:

    Ramsey scores for Wales, and is playing superbly well

    I hope he doesn’t get a knock or injured. we need him.

  16. James Bond says:

    and my worst fears come true.

    RAmsey is down injured. is hobbling, and then is subbed.

    groin problem it seems.

  17. JM says:

    Among players in an imagery scenario (Messi and C.Ronaldo left out because of the obvious), who would we pick for our starting RW/RM/RF and his backup? Where does Walcott rank? And what do Arsenal aspire to be – as a top top level club in the country and continent, how should we get there by – with players of the highest calibre in whatever they do, GKs/DFs/MFs/FWs?

    (a) Theo Walcott
    (b) Alexis Sánchez
    (c) Gareth Bale
    (d) Juan Cuadrado
    (e) Raheem Sterling
    (f) Arjen Robben
    (g) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    (h) José Callejón
    (i) Juan Iturbe
    (j) Pedro Rodríguez
    (k) Antoine Griezmann
    (l) Neymar
    (m) Marco Reus
    (n) André Schürrle
    (o) Heung-Min Son
    (p) Memphis Depay
    (q) Jesé Rodríguez
    (r) Lorenzo Insigne
    (s) Sadio Mané

    If Walcott is not at least a top 5 calibre in his position, our club needs to get someone better.

  18. oz gunner says:

    Reus wants arsenal. He would be a big upgrade on theo. Make it happen arsene

    @ bj

    Unfortunately he is never fit and he’s holding the club ransom for the second time in a row. Instead of whinging and wanting promises of game time, he should be focusing on getting his body right and earning his spot. Sell him and bring in Reus. Move sanchez to the right and we have the ox, gnabry and Rosicky as spares

  19. James Bond says:

    good one @ JM

    so out of the list of individuals you have provided, I reckon the following are better than Theo

    1: Bale

    3: Robben

    5: Neymar



    so he is in the top 5 for me, IMO

    I don’t rate Sterling as highly as Theo, he is another medicore English player , all hyped up due to the foreign players (Suarez) making him look better than he was and is.

    Although, there is talk of a Sterling for Theo swap deal, hence the reluctance to sign da ting for both Theo and Sterling other than the demand for more £££.

    To be fair to Sterling, he is a london lad.

  20. James Bond says:

    yeah, but Real Madrid also want Reus and 9.9 times out of 10, Real get who they want – the remaining 0.1 time is due to AW rejecting their offer 👿 more like AW unable to work with a board that demands success and doesn’t allow as much freedom or complete control of the club to the manager like he enjoys at Arsenal. To be fair to AW, he has earned it at Arsenal as well.

  21. Gerry says:

    Ha ha JB, I think your 9 spot is nearer the mark.
    Apart from the names on JM’s list (welcome back, JM), we may have a chance of seeing our own Gnabry if he gets a run outing the Under 21’s tonight(BT Sport,if you have it).
    But even allowing for the fact that most on the list are unlikely to make their way to the EPL, or have experience of this league, here are my thoughts on your missing numbers::

    4, PEA

    6, DEPAY

    8, (off list) DE BRUYNE
    9, STERLING, GNABRY (potentially), WALCOTT (but not as our top wage earner! – Bellerin comes in at a 5th of his asking price on his new contract, and could eventually be a better play in a years time?).

    Yes, Theo would be a good player to have in the squad, but if he keeps listening to his agent he will be out the door. That, as I said earlier, is the nitty gritty of it, and I do believe you agreed JB.

    I had a wonderful football free weekend. Horse racing Saturday. Moto GP yesterday – all 6 hours of it!
    Great stuff from Valentino Rossi. Big mistake by Jack Miller, sorry OZ.

  22. steve says:

    cheers for the U21 shout Gerry, got me some footy to watch tonight now 🙂
    I hope Gnabbers gets a good run out, i remember when we were playing Man City and he was so strong and compact, he even tackled Yaya Toure at one point – great talent just waiting to get more match fit.
    Did you see Sanchez’s performance yesterday, wow what work rate!!
    We have a nice little group of hard working tenacious attackers in our squad atm – Theo should take note

  23. neeraj says:

    Nice one Matcus.
    Interesting topic and perfect for the international break.
    There are quite varied opinions on it.
    I think that selling Theo this summer won’t affect us directly. We have enough options already in the team and the mystery big money signing in the summer too.
    But I think selling Theo to PL club will be a huge mistake. He seems like a guy who is keen to prove his ability. I don’t know if he will ever be the player we expected him to be but 1 thing for sure he can punish us if we let him go.

    With Gnabry I think its a bit like Eisfeld. He never got his chance and injuries haven’t helped him either.

    Unless he pulls of a Coquelin its hard to see him prosper in the immediate future.
    Ox and Welbeck are here to stay. Ox has done brilliantly whenever given the chance and Danny manages to pull his weight.

  24. Gerry says:

    Neeraj, I think there is a big difference between Gnabry and Eisfeld. Not only has Serge been working very hard on getting his muscle strength back, he has been doing it quietly. It wasn’t just skill level that Eisfeld went, he had training and on field issues. Both being German, it is no surprise that Gnabry has more support within the team, particularly from Ozil.
    Judge him after tonight’s performance, even if he is a bit rusty.
    As for position, he is more a threat to Walcott, than Ox. He may not be fast fast, but he will score goals. If he has been taking notes from the seniors, he will have better positional play too. He was ahead of Akpom before his injury, so now he has a clear run from the bench to prove himself. Long term, as a partner to Akpom if all goes well.

    Sorry Steve, I’ve not been watching much footy this last week.

  25. James Bond says:

    Jenks man of the match

    3-2 England

    we are so winning the euros.

    should have won 4-2 against Germany, tbh.

  26. James Bond says:

    also, Emre Can of liverpool was playing for Germany tonight;)

  27. The Cockie Monster says:

    I watched all that U21 game and it just confirms my opinion that it will be a mistake to let Jenkinson go !……he`s a better RB than Chambers !.

  28. steve says:

    Jenko!! what a performance, great to see
    nice to see Southgate try out Chambers in the DM role even if it was for only 10 mins or so, i would love to see Jenko at RB and Chambers in the middle for a tournament – good stuff the English lads!! beating Germany is no small feat 🙂
    Good to see Gnabbers get a run out as well – all round very satisfying night of footy 🙂

  29. James Bond says:

    he’s a better RB than Chambers – hands down, however, he is better only because of regular game time @ Glics

    the lad has really developed his game at the Boleyn.

  30. James Bond says:

    players like Jack Wilshere , OX should be playing for the U21.

  31. steve says:

    Chambers is not the problem Cockie, its Bellerin that’s his main competition.
    If it was me i would send Bellerin out on loan for a season and give Jenko a shot as the second choice RB and see how he does, he’s been great for West Ham this season.
    Chambers is destined for a central role imo (well i hope so anyway)

  32. steve says:

    hahaha the senior England team would be pretty shite without that touch of Arsenal class JB, but yes i think technically they should be playing for the U21

  33. James Bond says:

    The England senior team is pretty shite even with them in them.

    let them play in the U21’s, win a trophy and taste success – then replicate that with England

    Much rather have Henderson playing as the DM for England as opposed to JW to be honest and Carrick will do.

    JW is headed down the Sczny route. IF you don’t believe me, then google all his media shenanigans in the last 2 ,3 years – repeat offender.

    however, my main issue is his injury record and form – needs to keep his head down and play his way back. What has he done to play for england anyway ? Rooney and co have actually won trophies and champions league, as Did Gerrard and Stevie G.

  34. James Bond says:

    with them in it*

  35. James Bond says:

    Lampard and Stevie G – god dang this phone ahahhahahahahahahahahahhaha

    and yes, I would also send out Bellerin on loan – would be surprised, if he didn’t leave on loan next season.

  36. James Bond says:

    agreed @ Gerry

    Glad you had a good weekend.

    I also enjoyed the cricket , F1 and got on the bike for a bit, which wasn’t as bad as feared!

    but it’s still not the same as watching Arsenal play on the weekend though

    roll on saturday !

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    New post New Post 🙂

    Steve has got his formations out! Enjoy. 😛

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