Walcott scored the only goal of the game to fire the North Londoners back into the top four in the Premier League, after just 20 seconds at Loftus Road.
However, despite his early contribution, contrary to Wenger’s insistence that the Englishman has ‘matured’, the statistics demonstrate how infrequently Walcott actually affected the Gunners’ play in the fixture.
Whilst Walcott took the opener with great confidence and a good finish, in the second half he was completely anonymous. He made just three passes in the latter 45 minutes plus stoppage time of Saturday’s game – compared to Lukas Podolski’s 14, 85th minute substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s nine, and 89th minute substitute Jack Wilshere’s four.
Theo Walcott is a cumbersome player to analyze and truly come to accurate conclusions over. He remains due to his sublime form in the first half of this season, Arsenal’s top goalscorer with a tally of 20.
His goal on Saturday however, was his second since January when, coincidentally perhaps, he finally agreed the terms of a new contract after a lengthy and well-documented contract saga had played out.
Part of the terms of his contract were (before January) that Walcott had ambitions to be deployed through the middle as a central striker. However, given the opportunity by the manager to strut his stuff, he was relatively ineffectual in that position.
It wasn’t necessarily completely attributed to him – he did create more space in midfield for Santi Cazorla to operate but, apart from that one advantage, Arsenal created far fewer chances.
Walcott was incapable of holding the ball up and he actually looked far less dangerous using his pace than he often does on the wing.
For several years now the Premier League has known of the great threat of Theo Walcott – his pace – but he has yet to genuinely convince me that he’s acquired the ability that is needed to spearhead the Gunners’ attack.
Further more and regardless of his position, I don’t believe he works hard enough – either on the flank or through the middle.
Compared to his German counterpart Podolski who is most often deployed on the opposite flank, Walcott rarely puts in, much of a shift defensively, doesn’t bust his gut to get back and cover his fullback and is still prone to wastefulness whether it be with his passing, crossing, or finishing.
He is, regardless, Arsenal’s top scorer and 20 goals is certainly something he can be proud of but if Theo Walcott really wants to silence his critics he must train harder and work harder on the pitch.
image: © wonker