As Arsenal entered their third-round FA Cup tie at home to Tottenham Hotspur, they were on the back of three straight wins, and Walcott had netted five goals in his previous five Arsenal appearances – including a double at West Ham United.
The confidence was brimming, and Arsenal proved too good for Spurs – running out 2-0 victors with goals from Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky. However, arguably the main talking point of the game was not the Arsenal performance but the injury to Theo Walcott – and his reaction which followed.
The 24-year-old suffered a knee ligament injury, and while being carried off the pitch, he became the victim of some reported coin throwing from the away supporters. His reaction however caused controversy, as he famously gestured the scoreline with his fingers, much to the home supporters’ delight.
The incident and the consequent photos went viral, and asked whether he regretted his actions in an interview with the Mirror, Walcott responded:
“No, not at all. All the stewards and the doctors were getting stuff peppered at them even before. Me and Tottenham, you always do that banter. They do it to me, I do it to them. It’s just a bit of fun really.”
Carrying on with his perceived banter, Walcott couldn’t help but comment that Tottenham fans would have loved it if one of their players had done the same, but only if they were winning:
“I have seen some Tottenham fans since then and they have said if it was one of our players [making the scoreline gesture] I would have loved it. It’s all a bit of fun, that’s all it was.
“The stretcher guys were both Spurs fans and they actually said: ‘Theo can you stop now?' I did stop eventually. I'll buy them some cupcakes or something! As soon as I got to the Arsenal fans and they were throwing scarves. I stopped, yeah.”
Was Theo Walcott’s scoreline gesture just friendly banter or should he have avoided doing it?