The Stats Don’t Lie, Walcott IS a Striker!!! by JH
Now that the window has slammed shut, leaving us with Giroud, Walcott and an Injured Welbeck to fill our CF position, one thing seems to split everyone, from fans to pundits, Is Theo Walcott a striker??
Well in short, Yes. Now for the longer version…..
Theo is often criticized for not having the instincts of a striker, this is a point often made by the likes of Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and our own Alan Smith. It is also a point I have to agree with, for now. Theo does not yet have the instinct of a striker, he cannot sense where a ball will ricochet for a simple tap in like the likes of Shearer and Lineker. At times he fails to make the correct runs, often running straight to goal instead of zig zagging to make him more difficult to mark, I have also noticed he very rarely attacks the near post, something Giroud does very well. And due to his lack of height he will not win much in the air, so failing to attack the post tends to lead to either the cross going to the opposition, or Arsenal having to slow things down and return the ball to the middle of the park. However, Theo can learn all of these traits, he has been selected as an out and out striker for Arsenal for only a few months (the tail end of last season and the beginning of this) And after 8 years playing RW it is going to take him time to adapt to CF. The runs involved are different, the overall responsibilities are different, he will now get the ball in different positions than he is used to, and even different sorts of passes than he is used to, this will take time and patience for him to adapt.
Another issue people have with Theo up top, is an issue he has made glaringly obvious recently, He misses too much when he should score, now i am not talking half chances, decent chances or even good chances, these are easy chances. The one vs Newcastle where he tried to be clever instead of just smacking it into the net, or the one against Stoke, when the ball came off the post, but a poorly balanced Theo managed to skew the ball wide with only the net to hit. It is kind of strange, I remember just a couple of weeks ago Chelsea faced Man City, Aguero should have had a hat-trick before he finally put the ball in the net, I didn’t hear many slag him off. Yet when the exact same happens to Walcott vs Stoke, everybody has their say.
This is something else I feel will come with time, the more Theo plays, the more he scores, the more he will take his chances.
Which brings me to what I believe is his greatest asset. Not pace, but his determination. Theo should have scored vs Newcastle but he did not, he should have had at least 2 before scoring vs Stoke, but missing those chances does not get him down, he doesn’t shy away from the responsibility. He could choose the easy option and pass the ball to someone else, but he keeps going, and was in the end rewarded vs Stoke with a much under-appreciated goal. His first touch killed a very difficult ball to control, and with Marc Muniesa at his back and Jack Butland charging he kept his composure and tucked the ball beyond the superb Jack Butland.
With that goal, Theo moved onto 11 goals in his last 11 starts, three of those of course being a hat-trick vs West Brom. He also put away two for England vs San Marino, meaning that despite not yet hitting top gear, Theo is on form.
Today I saw an very interesting stat on the conversion rate of strikers. Now I am sure if everyone on this site could pick a striker from the premier league to play for Arsenal, at least 9/10 of us (myself included) would pick Sergio Aguero. I see him as the best no.9 in Europe. He has a conversion rate of 20% in the last 4 seasons. Olivier Giroud is surprisingly not too far behind on 17%. Thierry Henry in his final 4 seasons at Arsenal converted 20% of his chances. And in the last 4 seasons Theo Walcott has also converted 20% of his chances.
My main point being, who cares if right now, he doesn’t have a killer instinct? Who cares that he sometimes makes the wrong runs? Who cares if he can’t win a header? Who cares if he can’t hold up the ball?
Saturday showed everyone, that unlike anyone else we have, all it takes for Theo to score is one pass. He is a weapon, and he is probably Arsenal’s most unique weapon. What, I ask you, is the primary objective for a striker?
Score goals. Simple as that, And that is what he is doing.
I think Theo should continue up front, learn his trade, and perhaps he will become the prolific striker Arsene has always proclaimed he could be.
What do you guys think?
Theo Walcott, Striker with potential? Or a Right Winger?