Not having seen Arsenal's defeat against Aston Villa until the highlights later on Saturday night, I spoke with several match going or ardent Gooners about their surprise capitulation.
Losing 3-1 to Aston Villa was a big shock, and the reactions were mixed. One discussed the need to get David Dein back in a position of power at the Emirates, and fearing a Champions League meltdown in the coming fortnight.
Another talked about the refereeing decisions, not just the penalties but the yellow cards doled out, while the performance of Wojciech Szczesny was another moan.
But one comment stuck out; 'Theo Walcott was absolutely diabolical, I barely saw him track back to help out, or offer anything going forward, he may as well have not been on the pitch.'
A bit harsh on the winger, fresh from picking up an ankle knock with England a week earlier and coming back to score for them in the midweek friendly against Scotland?
Upon watching the highlights later that evening, Walcott was barely to be seen, hardly a prominent figure in the match at all. But perhaps there was something I had not seen?
So I took a look at the statistics post-game and the reactions of more Arsenal fans via Twitter to find out. Here are the results...
First thing's first; the stats are not pretty. Walcott had zero shots on target, zero attempt in total.
His pass success rate of 90 per cent may sounds impressive - but it does not tell the whole story; the winger made just 10 passing attempts the entire game, completing nine.
While he did create one goalscoring opportunity with his nine passes, the one pass he failed to complete, was the one he attempted inside the opposition penalty box. Separately he made two attempted crosses, finding teammates with neither.
Was the defensive criticism of his game justified? He made zero tackles, zero interceptions, but did make one clearance.
His lack of effect on the game is illustrated via this player influence graphic from the FourFourTwo StatsZone app, where his name can barely be seen.
With Arsenal struggling to create opportunities and register points in their opening fixtures, is it fair to assume more could have been expected from the club's highest paid player?
Here is a look at the views of Arsenal fans on Walcott's display, via Twitter:
Players need to look at themselves as well.I marked Walcott a 2/10 yesterday!.#AFC— simon donoghue (@simonjd63) August 18, 2013
Oh and as insipid a performance as you're ever likely to see from my pal Mr Walcott too. His 'bad' is so bad that it has no excuse. #AFC— Alan Alger (@Alan_Alger_) August 18, 2013
#afc squad looking shallow, callow & worn after only the 1st game of the season. At least Theo Walcott will return to the squad for Tuesday— James Reiff (@JamesReiff) August 18, 2013
What made me most angry today was theo fucking walcott standing still on that 3rd goal. Made no effort at all, mental strength my arse. #AFC— Ron Alvinho (@RonAlvinho) August 17, 2013
Wishere's and walcott's set pieces are absolutely horrible !!! #AFC this has just been a sad match !!— Imraan Salot (@ImraanSalot) August 17, 2013
Was Walcott that bad? Were all the Arsenal players off their game?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald