Arsenal’s 2-2 draw against Manchester City highlighted Theo Walcott’s strengths and weaknesses.
For the opening 15 minutes, most didn’t even realise the forward was on the pitch and although he did warm into the game a little after half an hour, he still seems to have trouble utilising his speed effectively. It’s his biggest weapon and could be devastating but only using it in short meandering bursts doesn’t seem to be working.
However, towards the end of the season half, Theo began to find himself in the right positions and eventually scored in the 40th minute, bringing the scoreline to 1-1 and handing Arsenal a shred of hope.
It was a scrappy goal but a goal nonetheless.
After the goal itself, Theo had a chance following City’s second, and didn’t do a whole lot else. However, when it comes to attacking players, sometimes you don’t need them to be the star of the show, you just need them to perform when they’re called upon, which is Theo all over.
Overall, Theo had the most shots out of any other Arsenal player: two. One – the goal he scored – was on target. Although considering the Gunners only had three on target compared to City’s five, this was actually pretty good going. No other Arsenal player attempted more than one.
Lowest pass accuracy by Arsenal's outfield players in the first half:
Ozil (71%) pic.twitter.com/W4oXMKtnlz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 2, 2017
The 28-year-old only managed 9/14 passes overall, with just 1/6 – yes, ONE out of six – in the final third, which explains why he was completely anonymous for large portions of the game.
He also won 1/2 take-ons, six ball recoveries and 1/2 tackles. Although he did fail to win the one aerial challenge he attempted. No surprises there; on average, Theo’s only successful 36% of the time for headed duels.
Could Theo have done more if Arsene Wenger hadn’t taken him off in the 68th minute? No one knows, which is part of what makes him so frustrating.
What’s undeniable, however, is that on the big stage, in the big games, he almost always manages to pull it out the bag.
Stats via FourFourTwo’s Statszone, Squawka.