17 touches in 63 minutes: Arsenal's Theo Walcott was utterly anonymous

Arsenal suffered a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United this weekend.

Arsenal striker Theo Walcott was utterly anonymous as his side suffered a real bow to their Premier League title aspirations with a 3-2 defeat at Manchester United.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger opted to make a couple of key changes to the side which were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona in midweek, with Walcott coming in for Olivier Giroud up front.

The idea was seemingly to use the striker’s pace to hit United on the counterattack, yet the hosts’ back-line made it difficult for the England international to find space and link up with his teammates.

  TouchesAccurate PassesShotsKey PassesTake-onsBall RecoveriesMins Played
Theo Walcott 17 6 0 0 0 2 63

As shown by the table provided by Opta, Walcott’s struggles can be illustrated by his lack of contribution while on the pitch before being withdrawn for Giroud just past the hour-mark.

In 63 minutes, he managed to touch the ball just 17 times and completed a woeful six accurate passes.

His first touch, link-up play, dribbling ability and awareness was fairly non-existent throughout and he was largely at fault for United’s opener, losing the ball carelessly 35 yards from his own goal.

Goals from Marcus Rashford on his Premier League debut and Ander Herrera were enough to see off the Gunners who made it an entertaining clash with strikes from Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil.

But that will come as little consolation to boss Wenger, who once again misjudged the opponents’ key threats and saw his side lose further ground on rivals Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

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