Theo Walcott: Arsenal Legend? by JH
Okay, perhaps yesterday should have been the day to write this, but today marks 10 years and a day since a babyfaced 16 year old Theo Walcott joined Arsenal for an upfront fee of £5 million, with add-ons to follow.
10 years and a day later, I have decided to take a look at the key points of TW14s career thus far and give my opinion as to whether he deserves the monicker The boss Koscielny gave him; Legend.
Theo Walcott joined Arsenal in the winter window in 2006, despite failing to make an appearance for the Gunners, Sven Goran Erickson decided to take the 16 year old to the World cup. We mainly saw this as a pointless decision as Theo never got to to kick a ball in anger during the tournament.
Theo had to wait until February for his first Arsenal goal. Wenger had named a young team for the League cup final vs Chelsea, and 11 minutes in Theo took centre stage curling the ball wonderfully past Arsenals current number one Petr Cech. The game however did not end well for the young guns as Chelsea’s first team scored two late goals to turn it around.
The first of many surgeries to come came shortly afterwards on a persistent shoulder injury, and his first Premier league campaign finished without a Premier league goal.
Theo scored his first and second premier league goals in a 2-2 draw with Birmingham, unfortunately for him the game will only be remembered for a horrific injury to Eduardo and a bizarre full-time sulk from club captain William Gallas. The same season, Theo made “that run” against Liverpool in the Champions league, running the full length of the pitch before calmly playing the ball across into Adebayor who had a simple finish.
The following season Walcott took on the weight of the number 14 previously worn by his hero and Arsenals greatest ever player Thierry Henry. He scored three goals against Croatia for England, making him the youngest ever player to score a hat trick for England. Theo picked up a dislocated shoulder on international duty but upon his return he scored goals against Wigan, Villarreal and netted against Chelsea too. At the end of the season Theo was given a new contract.
Theo’s next season was the first to be truly ravaged by injuries, able to start just 15 games, and not completing 90 minutes until December. He was however able to show his ability as he shone in both legs vs Barcelona, scoring in the first, assisting Bendtner in the second.
The 2010-11 was his best so far, he scored his first club hat trick in just the second game of the season vs Blackpool, he also netted and assisted in a 3-1 victory over Chelsea. Theo finished this year with 13 goals in all competitions.
The next year Walcott was a big part of two of our most famous victories in recent years, he scored a splendid goal vs Chelsea which involved him tripping, getting back up skipping between 2 Chelsea players before firing past Petr Cech. He also scored twice in Arsenal’s stunning comeback vs Spurs, coming from 2-0 down to win 5-2.
The 12-13 season brought the best out of him, he started up front in Arsenals 7-5 win over Reading, where Arsenal where 4-0 down but Theo scored a hat trick. Two months later and Theo was handed a start as a striker in the Premier league, he scored a hat trick vs Newcastle. Theo continued his habit of scoring against the big teams, adding goals against Liverpool, Spurs, Man United and of course Chelsea. Theo finished the season with a stunning 14 goals and 12 assists in the Premier league alone.
The next year Theo picked up two serious injuries. First he suffered a stomach injury which kept him out for two months but his return brought 2 goals vs Man City. He followed this up a couple of weeks later with a brace vs West Ham, however his second injury, picked up against Spurs, led to him missing the rest of the season. He said he had to be taught to walk and run again. As a result of the injury he missed the World Cup and Arsenals FA cup success.
Theo missed the first half of the 2014-15 and his first start came during the third round of the FA cup, a year on from picking up his injury against Tottenham. He ended the season as a striker vs West Brom, where he scored a first half hat trick, and earned a start in the FA cup final where he opened the scoring in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa.
Theo Walcott is our longest serving player with 10 years. He is also the only player who never flirted with other teams when it had almost become fashionable to leave Arsenal. Adebayor, van Persie, Nasri, Fabregas, Toure, Clichy, Hleb and Sagna all left whilst Theo stayed loyal. A decade at a club is not to be sniffed at, it is a fantastic achievement. He earned his FA cup medal last year, and if he plays a key part in Arsenal finally regaining the premier league title he must be considered to be an Arsenal legend. For all his inconsistency, Theo has a great habit of scoring in big games, mostly against Chelsea.
Theo probably has 3 more years to truly realise the potential he is yet to reach. But even without realising his true potential, he remained loyal at a time it was very easy not to. He has scored big goals for Arsenal and given us some amazing moments.
Theo Walcott is an Arsenal legend?
What do you guy think? Does he need a title to be considered legend? Do you consider him more of a legend than, say, Fabregas? I say Theo deserves that title more than Cesc.Do you?
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