Arsenal fans react on Twitter to Theo Walcott's performance v Villa

Walcott New Season

Was Theo Walcott one of Arsenal's worst players against Aston Villa? We investigate...

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.

WalcottSZvVilla

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:

 

Was Walcott that bad? Were all the Arsenal players off their game?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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