Theo Walcott – Work and Rewards

In desperate need of some good news defensively, Arsène’s caution over welcoming back players is understandable but if Bacary Sagna is fit and ready for the visit of Manchester United to The Emirates perhaps some of the pressure to buy a defender this transfer window will lift.

Talking in L’Equipe (a source surprisingly not credited by Express reporter Matt Law), the French international has avoided prolonging his absence by leaving the screws in his leg in place. This has apparently cut 2 months from his recovery period. That is good news indeed but one hopes the club do not take short cuts and rush him back; we have a history of key players coming back and then going missing soon after due to niggles and strains.

Theo Walcott has been offering his opinions on all and sundry. Contrary to yesterday’s reports, it seems that Theo has not been formally asking for £85k per week in his contract since those negotiations have yet to begin. Informally, he might well have done but more than anything the musings in the media are keen to tap into the anti-Walcott sentiment that pervades the Arsenal-sphere at the moment. There is a school of thought. No wait, there is no thought and as for school….

Salary demands fan flames of discontent and yet we are quick to chastise for having a payband that is too narrow. Whilst Arsène’s desire to reward relatively equally has led to a harmonious dressing room in that sense, it is not always the case. Part of the problem is that good rewards might be attractive to the younger players but they also stifle some of the desire to improve and be even better rewarded. That is to some extent, human nature but it has a negative longer term impact if those players do not reach the potential.

However, there is no guarantee that by having a wide disparity in pay that players such as Nasri, Cesc or Henry would not have left anyway. I don’t for one minute think any of them would have stayed to be honest albeit for differing reasons in each case. Would Arsenal have signed any star players with a different pay structure? I am not convinced that this is the case since I believe the biggest stumbling block is the actual transfer fee with Arsène very principled in his belief that his valuation should not be exceeded. Which is fair enough as that is the decision he is paid to make.

Back to Walcott. There is no hiding from the fact that he has been inconsistent this season. Or is he? Last year, he collected thirteen goals across all competitions which in some of them, he is more than capable of matching. Yet it seems unlikely that his 2 goals so far will blossom into the 9 of 2010-11. That presumes his primary function in the team is to score; it is not. This season he has 7 assists in the Premier League, compared to the 8 of the last campaign.

It is the goalscoring that is a main bone of contention for me. For a man whose stated desire is to play as the central striker, he does not find the back of net often enough or display a ruthless instinct consistently to make you think his desire will be sated. When you know that he is capable of finishing as well as he did against Chelsea, it makes it all the more infuriating.

So in what way is he inconsistent? It is more to do with the run of games in which he shines; this time around, there seem to be fewer or the run is less sustained than last season.

I am not sure it is entirely down to him. With Fabregas and Nasri, their main outlet was Walcott if van Persie was not available, or at least that is how it seemed. The change in team dynamic is not just down to their departing, it is also with the arrival of an equally direct player on the left. Gervinho has added a different angle of attack, relieving some of the pressure on Theo and the right hand side of the team.

In this sense, Walcott’s assertion that Arsenal are a better team is stating the obvious but that change was inevitable. It is also an admission that players did not take enough responsibility for the outcome of matches, preferring (or deferring) to Fabregas to run the game for them. That worked in most cases but left them rudderless when he was not in the team or, more importantly at the end of the season, without impetus when deficits are to be retrieved.

Theo’s career path is a salutory warning for those clamouring for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s inclusion in the side. It is not a foretelling of what will happen before anyone says anything. Since the 2006 World Cup fiasco which was not of Walcott’s making, there has been an unrealistic expectation placed on his shoulders. Quite simply some seem to believe he should be at the same level as Messi; it isn’t going to happen and with all due respect to Theo, he isn’t that good.

The salivating about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s potential is similar to that which accompanied Walcott’s signing from Southampton. Sometimes you wonder if George Burley was not correct in stating Walcott would have benefitted from a spell on loan at the club for the remainder of that season.

Posted on January 5, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 326 Comments.

  1. How do you solve the riddle that is Theo?

  2. theo is my favourite, i have to believe that it is the mqnqager who directs his play, i would like to see him come into the box more often and make runs along the eighteen yard box. i get pissed off when i see tyhe team playing into the box and he is out there on the chalk. what i have noticed is that on the rare occasion he appears to get angry at his own performance , sometimes he gets angry enough to attack with conviction, its the conviction he is missing, maybe in his own abilty but i do think he is too passive. i believe he will become a greawt central striker, though for me 442 is the way for us, neither theo or gervino play as strikers in a proper 433, we dont play 433 we play 4231, get back to 442 it was good enough for the invincables

  3. No doubt Walcott isn’t Messi but it wasn’t helped by even Wenger stating some years back that at 20 Walcott had developed at a higher level than Messi. And last season the mail stated that Wilshere is ahead of Xavi at 18. Pressure!

  4. KG

    Arsene is right about Wilshere and Xavi but potential is one thing, delivering it is another.

  5. pressure,mental strenghth….. just words thrown about to deconstruct a many young players have failed to live up to their potential.theo hasnt done badly.he is in the england squad and a first eleven for us.he’s got everything a good player needs to succeed.imo, he should quit hugging the touchline and drift infield more often.pace is nothing if one is predictable like theo.

  6. He’s a fantastic character and a true role model.but I believe he still plays with an inhibition.Just that little bit of a lack of belief in his own abilities. He needs to shake this off and express himself more. He’ll come good. He’s got age and Arsene on his side.
    By the way , Big Brov, I came 2nd only cos I first read the post.

  7. theo needs to believe himself and change it up rather than going wide..give him 1-2 years he will definitely improve

  8. The problem we have with our frontline is that we don’t have a very pacy central striker. Very often Theo darts down the right and fizzes a ball across the penalty box and there is no Arsenal attacker there.

    Our speed of passing is also slower these days. Arteta and song tend to take too many touches before they pass the ball. A player like Walcott thrives when we play counter-attacking football or we play a fast game. He does not have ball control or dribbling skills to get past people ala Messi. Therefore by Arsenal playing slower through midfield, opposing teams close down space making it difficult for Theo.

    Our movement off the ball is very often poor these days. We hardly ever play the one touch football that we used to play, nor crate triangles for quick passes through tight defences. Our general speed of play has slowed down. Often Walcott makes runs but the team do not pick him out with a pass over or thru the defence. You sometimes see him waving his arms in frustration. We need to improve our speed of passing and off the ball movement in order to create space for Theo to make diagonal runs into the box and start scoring.

  9. Walcott is a strange one. A fantastic athlete, of that, there is no doubt. Also his return last year goals/assist wise was farily decent. The issue with him though is that of his “footballing ability”. I do think that he makes excellent diaginal runs behind the defence without the ball, but oppositily often his runs for his full back really are terrible.

    For a player as lightening fast as him, it is a crying shame that he can’t really beat his full back in one on one situations on a regular basis. If he could, he would be a completly different player. He just never seems to be in 100% control of the ball when running at players.

    His finishing is his most inconsistant part of his game though. Some of his finishes have been excellent, whilst some have been as equally schoolboy like (the most recent against Wolves). I can’t see him as a central striker in outr current formation. In a 442 maybe, but not as a lone striker.

    In summary, I do like Theo, and i still hope that he will continue to progress as he is obvisouly still a young player. I do have my doubt though that he will ever be a top tier player. For me, the right wing/right hand side of front 3 is definately a position which we could improve upon.

  10. Afrogunner, I think you make a good point about the speed of our passing slowing down a bit this year resulting in Theo being put away behind the opposition defence less often. Hopefully the return of Wilshere will go some way to alleviating this as he will bring a bit more vision in the passing as will the return of a proper full-back behind him (overlapping and creating more space down that side in general).

    GA, maybe Theo needs to be played through the middle on a more consistent basis to let him hone his finishing skills? Make him backup striker to van Persie as Chamakh and Park seem to have lost the trust of the manager? That would leave Arshavin, Gervinho and Chamberlain to rotate in the wide positions with the latter obviously only playing the odd game here and there and Rosicky and Benayoun can do a job there if necessary.

  11. Nicky,lol,really?You don’t think I might have been being funny?No?
    That’s because you are a humourless child

  12. Block4 – I don’t think so. Theo gets as many shots at goal from his current position. Additionally, I don’t think he has enough to his all roung game to play the lone striker. In theory (despite his protests) his current position should be the one he is most suited to.

  13. Theo will not make it as a central striker.
    He has shown nothing to make us think he might.Other than being played there as a kid.

  14. hmmmm so sagna will be playing 90 minutes running up and down to tackle and get tackled ….with two screws in his leg??? omg …why? let the man recopver properly first. an unfortunate incident and he might never use that leg again…jeez…would any of you ever enter a pitch in england to play against neanderthals with two screws in your leg? no thank you very much id rather keep my leg ……let sagna recover properly please…

  15. I couldn’t help but trawl through a Man U blog this morning to get a temperature check on how the Manc fans are feeling after two consecutive losses. I really wanted to witness some suffering. Anyway, the following quote from a fan just cracked me up and proved the point r that some people, no matter what, are just way more predisposed to being heavy doomers.

    “The problem is effing Ferguson. This man is totally clueless now. His purchases are just crazy. He has no tactical nous of modern football. Show me one decent team in Europe where there are 4 wingers playing at any one time ( last night we had 4 on )…why is Valencia at the back? Why is Park still at Utd? Welbeck is just a pretender. This saeson is over. Actually City were toying with us and extended it to January. It should have over by November.Embarrasing? Yes, to you and me but apparently not to the old man. He’s is in total denial. ”


  16. Theo has some amazing elements to his game… but Cesc was the only 1 so far who managed to get them out of him. I am a big fan of the lad, and I am always more confident when he is in our lineup, I just feel as well that he has another step or 2 to make before becoming a reliable attacking weapon.

    He contributes, his 7 assists demonstrate that, but there are quite a few games already which he will SHOULD be dissapointed in himself with as he didn’t capitalize on his chances. Wenger will not be rushing him into a CF position until he becomes more prolific. He has it in him, we have seen some impressive finishes in his career so lets hope he develops that ruthlessness and consistency.

  17. Afrogunner | January 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

    well shouldnt theo have a look at where he is crossing the ball first ? he just crosses without looking most of times. i have no problems with theo by the way. he is only 21 or 22. xavi was getting bitchslapped by galacticos till 04-05 thereabouts…during 03-06 it was deco -ronaldinho pulling the strings. thats not to say xavi was useless back then, of course not. but his consistency arrived after being 25-26 and if you all remember he came back a better player after his massive injury in his 27-28 years of age till now where he is trully the worlds best midfielder the last 3 years minimum.

  18. Walcott and Gervinho need that extra something. Pires and Ljungberg would provide the odd dozen goals per season in their day.

  19. Just Brilliant, Bobby.

  20. Well. Walcot isnt a very good dribbler buh has improved a bit htis season,his problem on the flank is the right back players absence in the team,Dj does not support theo alas,he is made to do more defensive work,and the way Ramsey toys with the ball ball makes the arsenal attack boring.i bet the return of sagna,santos/gibss and Jack will change his and the style we are playing now!

  21. Kenyan, they had Paddy, Dennis & Henry putting them through balls..

  22. @Bobby.
    Hope you posted that on Le Grave!

  23. affro gunner, spot on , trouble is with the players at our disposal at the moment we are not good enough to play one touch football, i believe this will change but we wont begin to see it until next season, its the waiting game again because the manager will not buy in this window and he will buy youth for next season. The passing of cesce left a huge hole for us which arteta cant fill. The pace is slow due to the lack of pace in midfield. Wenger will try and get us into fourth but he will not bring in any new players other than th14, so be patient cause thats the way it is for us for the immediate future.

  24. Yogi, why am I in moderation?????

  25. anyone with any medical knowledge can enlighten me on the effects of playing when you have screws in your leg? is it dangerous?

  26. Theo’s inconsistency would be less conspicuous if AW had a more experienced winger starting ahead of him.

    It takes a bit of time for a young player who’s not a natural to adjust to top flight footer. In this regard I think Theo’s pretty much on course with his development but as the starting RW for Arsenal FC??

    Its tough to not be disappointed with his inconsistency.

    I expect the overall dynamic of the team to change fundamentally within the next 2 years. At which point I expect Theo’s abilities & football sense to be at par with the better Arsenal players “on-site”.

    Time will vindicate Master Walcott, methinks.

    Can we maybe put 2 extra screws in Diaby & Jack’s feet/legs so we can have them back for the Man u game as well??

  27. i think walcott was doing very well in october/november. his final balls were there.

    the lack of proper fullbacks is affecting our game. just look at the impact coquelin had (offensively) when he came on against qpr.

  28. korih – None at all. I have some myself after a nasty footballing injury.

  29. goonerandy

    good to know. so there’s no problem with sagna leaving them in his leg.

  30. Agree with Korikhage on Theo – lack of full-backs is wreaking havoc with the whole damn team. It’s in the general work-rate and stamina of the side I think. Support just wasn’t there vs Fulham.

  31. Sorry, that’s korihikage.

  32. Bobby, I’d guess that guys a city fan

  33. Not until he gets to the airport security 😉

  34. It’s simply too soon to judge what Theo will and won’t become – the arc that describes each player’s career is unique. Look at Demba Ba – he’s been one of the very best players in the country this season – who among us saw that happening this season or ever? There are many examples of players who come good late in their career just as there are those who are brilliant young and then fade away. Second guessing whether a player finds the guts & belief to tap into their potential is a tough business – just look at JET now.
    I think Theo would have benefited from more calculated, sporadic use this season – he wants to play all the time I’m sure, but it would have been better if we’d been able to drop him for a more experienced player more frequently. Perhaps the trouble is his pace offers the team a lot – he was pretty terrible against Fulham but the team still suffered when he went off – allowing Fulham to push up and get tighter to us.

  35. If we had goals coming from other area’s of the pitch, maybe Theo’s inadequaces would not be on highlighted so blantently.

  36. Barton has appeal for his red card turned down and can’t leave it alone by going on Twatter to bully the “panel”. Hopefully they will add to his three-match ban.
    Happy New Year, indeed.

  37. Theo and Gervinho are in effect wide strikers.
    Strikers should score regularly.They don’t.That is a problem.
    It is important to have an all round game including pace,trickery,directness, touch, vision but surly putting the ball in the net should be a priority.
    I don’t care how nice they are,how well they speak or what other skills they possess.If they don’t score in this system,they they are not doing the job they should be.
    People on here have said Theo is our second biggest goal threat.Well if that’s true we are in it up to our necks.
    If those two are not going to score then perhaps a change of system is needed.

  38. Mancini : We have 17 players, I do not know how that is going to work

    Dont you feel just gutted for Mancini and City…

    What a load of bollocks!!!

  39. Mjgunner, I don’t buy your argument. Walcott and Gervinho have the potential to be a dozen plus scorers. My question is why have they spurned so many chances ?

  40. George @ 12:57 – Spot on.

  41. lol fergie got twatted 3-0 hahahaha long may it continue ..fulham makes us sad..nexcastle makes us happy. fuck manchester united ! and all their fans irrespective of age colour sex ethnicity. arrogant cunts the lot of them.

  42. Interesting post, YW.

    I think Theo’s game has improved this season in a few areas.

    His defensive work, never a strength in the past, is much better. It is quite a sight to see him in full flow, sprinting back to pick up his man. Sure, I would prefer to see him sprinting in the other direction, with the ball, but he is becoming a better all-around player.

    His crossing, while still somewhat erratic, seems better than in previous years. He still occasionally whips the ball into the box (or behind the goal) without apparently looking to see who is there, but my impression is that he is more frequently looking out for RVP (who, more often than not, is the only attacker near the goal) and finding him more regularly. I can’t help wondering how we would do with a 4-4-2 with Chamakh and RVP up front.

    Finally, he seems to be growing up. I found it very frustrating when, after being barged or wrestled off the ball, he would just stop and throw up his arms, begging for the referee’s help. This season, he seems to be doing a better job of playing to the whistle and putting up more of a fight. We saw this pay off spectacularly in his goal against Chelsea.

    I agree with the comments about having specialist full-backs – I expect this to make a big difference to Theo’s play.

  43. Theo is obviously suffering from us playing less balls into space for him to run into. Previously we would give him that opportunity several times a game, now he is usually forced to go 1 on 1 with defenders while having the ball at his feet. This has certainly helped him become a better player, as he has added a couple of new moves to his game, and he has improved his defensive solidity but at present he is suffering from playing with Djourou behind him. How often do you see Djourou offering himself for the overlap? Sagna would do it all game long, Djourou either tries to cut inside or leaves Theo isolated on the flank. Now that is no criticism of Djourou, because he is not a full-back and it’s obvious that he can’t fulfil that role in the same way Jenks or Bacary would do, It surely also hasn’t helped that he has had 4 FB’s playing behind him this season, making it rather difficult for him to know what his partner on the right side is going to do.

    People are talking for the need of having a a dozen goals plus player out there wide. Theo IS that player, he has shown it last season. This year, he had to adapt to our new defensive strategy which meant that he was given more defensive responsibilities so it’s obvious that he wouldn’t continue instantly where he left off in 2010/11.

    However, he still needs to add consistency to his game. Out of all our wide-men, i.e Gervinho, Arshavin and him, I think it’s obvious that Theo is the one you would trust to bring the goods in an important fixture against a top team. He has shown it all throughout his career that he is a big game player and I would love if he could bring that intensity to less important matches.

    All in all, I am happy with the progress Theo has made over the last two years, working on his defensive skills and finishing ability and, when Bac comes back, I am confident that Theo will chip in with another 5 goals or so until May.

  44. ” Out of all our wide-men, i.e Gervinho, Arshavin and him, I think it’s obvious that Theo is the one you would trust to bring the goods in an important fixture against a top team. He has shown it all throughout his career that he is a big game player”

    urban myth ?

  45. Maybe not George, his four goals this season have been home and away against Udinese and away at Man Utd and Chelsea. Seems like a man for the big occasion.

  46. Walcott is a huge asset.

    Benefits hugely from playing off the last man, and when through one on one has the ability as a very lethal finisher. Away Ruben last year is the perfect highlight of this.

    His strength is not in running at players like Nasri used to, his strength is exploiting space behind the last man.

    He looked like a man possessed against Chelsea this season – their high line played into his strengths perfectly.

    I agree he is not suited to all styles of games, but the idea of having a balanced squad is having suitable alternatives, with an out of sorts Arshavin, a hugely erratic, and now departing Gervinho, we quite simply dont have that luxury.

  47. I reckon the fact that everyone knows Theo has had a bad game shows just how consistent he actually is for us. If he wants 85,000 and would be happy to stay with us for that kind of wage I’d give it to him.

  48. I am not having that.
    What ? he saves himself?He thinks run of the mill games are beneath him?He can only motivate himself against big teams?

    No,its a myth.

  49. Goal against Chelsea in the CC final, absolitley destroying Barca two years ago, hattrick in Croatia, smashing Chelsea at the bridge this season, at the emirates last christmas.

    He certainly doesnt disappear in the big games

  50. Luke .Out of sorts ? And what then would we call Theo?

  51. Luke –

    Benefits hugely from playing off the last man, and when through one on one has the ability as a very lethal finisher.

    Wolves only a few weeks ago? (just as an example)

    His strength is not in running at players like Nasri used to, his strength is exploiting space behind the last man

    This is very true.

    I have yet to see Theo really take a game by the scruff of the neck and “leave his imprint” on it. I think this is why I find him so frustrating; we see it in glimpses. Sometimes I think he is unplayable, but seconds later I think I would fancy my own chances of marking him.

  52. Think so? He has scored in our qualifying ties for the CL this season, also against ManU and Chelsea. Last year he scored against Chelsea and Tottenham, also assisted against Chelsea and City, IIRC. In the years before that we obviously had his CL performances where he was also regularly scoring and assisting in important games, for example against Barca or L’Pool.

  53. Zidane was notoriously a big game player George, C Ronaldo notoriously isn’t.

    Zidane, at the end of his career and out of sorts in terms of form, put on the finest individual performance ever in my opinion against Brazil in the 2006 WC.

    An absolute masterclass. He was average in the group games.

    I dont think its a myth at all to suggest some players have a better ability to rise to the big occasion than others.

  54. Lol he destroyed Barca in a game they absolutely dominated and we managed to draw,somehow.
    Get real.

  55. 2-0 when he came on

    2-2 by FT

    Messi, Guardiola all citing Walcott as our greatest threat. Not hard to understand why, considering the highline they play.

    Imagine how different our mauling at the Camp Nou last year would have been if we had Walcott as an outlet.

  56. I’d also suggest Barca were much much much more dominate last year, they should have been 3/4-0 up by HT, Villa’s goal wrongly ruled offside, but thats accepted by Wenger as the best we’ve ever played???

    Games change George.

  57. Luke,Zidane was great almost every week and truly exceptional in some big games.
    What is wrong with Theo if he doesn’t think that we have had some huge games since last March and he has only raised his game 4 times?

  58. Dear me Luke.
    He has some qualities .But as of yet ………………

  59. Luke has Theo replaced the Spanish coward in you heart?

  60. The Spanish coward? Lets not get into this again.

    I just finding it bemusing how players with actual end product – Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri etc – get slammed.

    And players who deliver NOTHING get supported till the cows come home.

    Walcott has had a direct impact on 20% of our goals this season in the EPL. not that bad is it?

    Perhaps if we had the ability to rotate, keep legs and ideas fresh, young theos tiresome efforts wouldnt recieve ridiculous criticism

    I wonder were that buck stops?

  61. I’m not sure what you want George as it’s unrealistic to expect Theo to be brilliant in every game. If he was battering the likes of Blackburn and Bolton single-handedly he’d be accused of being a flat-track bully. He has raised his game against some of the big boys this season as well as the high-pressure situation ofthe European Cup qualifiers, he also has seven assists, so I wouldn’t say he’s just saving himself for the big games or only performed in four. He could do with upping his goal return, btu that is something he freely admits.

    The opposite is true for some players, I mean, how many teams did Henry destroy, yet how many cup finals did he play in for us and how many did he score in those? No-one is saying he’s a bad player, but players react to the big occasions and different situations in different ways is all.

  62. FFS.
    I don’t expect Theo to be brilliant in every game.
    His strength is running in when teams push up.
    He is a great asset to the team .He keeps the opposition honest.He has an effect on games .His defensive work is improving all the time.
    Robin benefits hugely from his game.
    All that I accept and he is still only 22.
    But don’t give me any shit about him being a big game player or a world beater.
    He simply does not score enough,as of yet.And his future returns are not getting us points at the moment.

    If he is a “big game” player someone wants to be pointing out that he has failed to understand the magnitude of some games he has payed in in the last 10 months.

  63. Very true Block4, Henrys semi-final/final goal return is pretty poor throughout his career.

    1-v-1 against Barca in 2006 the most obvious ‘banker’ chance he normally would have buried.

  64. Walcott will eventuall show his class. A bit naive at the moment but as he matures and his sixth sense develops then watch out defenders. He has stupendous pace and can outrun most full backs, his ability to cross acurately is improving…. but what has been suggested, ie/ no one in the middle is the problem.

    I feel a bit strange contributing after a long pause but my internet connection is being disrupted by my telephone supplier…………. ie: I haven’t paid the bill.
    Will be back regularly soon…………. hello George

  65. George, how can you question Walcotts return in the last 10 months? Outside of RVP he has been our best attacking player.

    Your abuse of Fabregas and Nasri before they left would suggest you believe are failings are down to our leading stars not doing enough, as opposed to the supporting cast doing absolutley nothing.

  66. Walcott can and will make it as a striker. He has scored some impressive goals in his career, some great goals to be honest. He needs to get used to being in that role again. His focus is more on assisting since he is employed on the wing, but I have no doubt when given his preferred role he will deliver.

  67. Hello Chriss, I have been asking about you?
    Luke,I never once abused either before they left.So stop making shit up,
    Paul N,I disagree.

  68. Luke, last seaon was down to our failing stars. At the end of the season, they did nothing like many of the others. If you are looked upon as world class or even close, you must produce when your team needs it, for the most part. So it is in any team sport.

  69. Luke .2 goals in 18 appearances in the league for a striker is good and beyond reproach in your book ,is it?
    2 goals ! that’s why I question his return.Simples

  70. George we can all troll through the pages on here and see that you did, regardless, as soon as they were out, you let your true feelings known.

    I will always hold Fabregas in high regard, and thank him for nearly a decade of quality service, truley one of the finest footballers i’ve seen in an Arsenal shirt.

    I’d rather question what could have we done as a football club to keep the best midfielder in the world.

  71. Yes Paul.But it seems all to easy to kick the shit out of the cowardly two,now they have gone.and excuse everyone else.

  72. Same here George.

  73. they did nothing like many of the others.


    a TEAM shouldnt have to rely on one or two players, a SQUAD shouldnt be carried by a few players.

    Fabregas had 15 goals and 15 assists last season, dont think you can question his input. Nasri scored double figures, cant question his input, Walcott 9 goals 9 assists? can question his input, RVP, no intro needed

    Tell me, what did Chamakh, Arshavin, Diaby, Bendtner, Rosicky, Denilson pitch in with?

  74. Yogi:

    Have to agree with George @ 12:57.

    “Theo and Gervinho are in effect wide strikers.
    Strikers should score regularly.They don’t.That is a problem.”

    Theo scored 6 goals in 2011 and is on a run of 2 in 20 this season. His struggles to scored long pre-dated the loss of our fullbacks, and they also were evident while Cesc was sending him those beautiful thru balls. Thats not an indictment of Theo because he is still a young player and hopefully can still develop consistency. The problem is the lack of goal scoring depth on this squad. There is no one who has been able to take his place in the squad and bring the goal scoring threat we so desperately need. Players frequently develop in their mid 20’s and Theo still has a couple of years to hit that age but in the system we run we have to count on players in his position to score. We are one of the biggest teams in the world and its a mistake to have the lack of depth that does not allow us to rotate a player like Theo out of the line up when he is goes thru his youthful inconsistencies and stuggles to score. Ultimately there is no way to know if Theo will ever reach the potential we all think he has, the last 6 years clearly shows that many young players do not. Time will tell, but in the meantime we need to have players whom he can rotate with until he does become the finished product.

    We brought a true golden generation of youth into this club when our financial situation made us break up the invincibles. Who would have thought that none of Ade, Bendtner, Vela, Clichy, Nasri, Cesc, Denilson, JET, Traore, Diaby, Nordtveit, Merida etc etc etc. would be contributing now. Totatl PL domination had been predicted by most of us several years ago. The reasons are different for each player but out of that entire generation RVP is the only one who has become truly great. Song has become a consistently good performer and Theo has shown flashes but has been mostly inconsistent. Trying to build a team based almost completely on youth is a crap shoot even for Arsene who is the worlds best talent evaluator and talent developer.

  75. and 6 assists george. so a wingforward has created or scored a goal 8 times in 18 games, or once every two and a bit games

    whats everyone elses input looking like?

    we are arguing about the inbalance that exists in our squad again. you want more from walcott, I want more from options we dont have.

  76. Yes Luke ,once they had gone.
    I was .one of their most vocal defenders until they actually left,showing their true colours.
    But you accused me of doing so before that .You either remember thing incorrectly or you lie.
    He is the best attacking midfielder in the world and also a cowardly cunt.

  77. George, I am not kicking anyone, just stating the facts of sports. My problem is I think they are cowards, not that they failed. If you behave like a punk, people are going to call you out. At least the other’s who failed, were not looking for an easy out.

  78. why is he a coward George? because he didnt stay at Arsenal any longer in a project that he and all of his classmates had lost faith in.

    I thought Fabrgeas stood up like a leader last year, and along with our other ‘senior’ players made it quite clear that signings were needed to maintain our challenge

    we added no one, and pathetically crumbled in every competition showing relegation form for 15 games.

    fabregas then left.

    tell me, if we added the CB and striker that desperately needed last Jan and won the league, not beyond the realms of possibilityy, would he have left.

  79. Luke .My contention is his lack of goals.I gave him credit for his assist (all for RVP,and perhaps says more about Robins ability than Theo’s)
    TWO .
    TWO,end of.

  80. i more concerned why our manager and front office failed to convince two world stars of our ambition and ability

    im more concerned that we find ourself as a club in the same position again this summer with 4 key players

  81. Paul @ 3:02:

    “Walcott can and will make it as a striker. He has scored some impressive goals in his career, some great goals to be honest. He needs to get used to being in that role again. His focus is more on assisting since he is employed on the wing, but I have no doubt when given his preferred role he will deliver.”

    There is no reason in the world that Theo can not run into a central postion and get thru balls similar to what he did vs. QPR. He could be even more effective darting into the center starting from a wide position, rather then starting in the middle. Not sure I understand how moving him to the center will help other then take away some of his defensive responsibility. Thats not to mention the loss of ability to head the ball and hold up the ball and make passes that a central stiker needs to bring to our system. Right now the way Arsene uses Theo is the best evidence that wide forward is his best position.

  82. cowards? for what? deserting us?

    what about all your precious babies trying to force thier way out? wheres good old diaby? playing through the pain barrier to help us out? coming out in the press stating he is dying to get back?

    or is he sat there earning his huge pay packet with no intention of going 110% for the club that has made him a millionaire

    i wonder, i just wonder which is most likely.

  83. I don’t understand all this jippity jip that Theo gets.

    “I have yet to see Theo really take a game by the scruff of the neck and “leave his imprint” on it.”

    You what mate? *Yawns* He destroyed Slaven Bilic’s Croatia project in one go. Well, losing Eddy didn’t help ’em either…etc.


  84. Yes he would have left Luke.
    Paul ,I agree that they both were cowards an scuttled off for personal gain or glory.
    And the others who stayed and fight do put it right deserve credit.
    But that doesn’t mean I have to wax lyrical about a striker who scores 2 goals in half a season.
    Its not that I am saying he is a useless player ,is it?

  85. Luke@
    Well said

  86. George, I hope you will extend the same criticism to Mr. Arshavin for his awful form this season. I mean if he can’t dislodge Walcott fromt he team he must be terrible 😉

  87. Ah,poor Luke. Doesn’t like it when Cesc and Samri are called cowardly cunts(which they are)He would rather blame injured players and the manager.
    What about your beloved Jack Luke?I mean what has he done this year to help except place bets on twitter and pick up his wage pack?Just like Diaby.

  88. Bill @ 3:17 – Summed up the situation as a whole very nicely I thought.

  89. Oh FFS.
    I am I wrong? Has he scored more goals that I have missed?
    Or is 2 goals in half a season a good return?

  90. During the Marseille Home game a friend made many of the same observations as our wise and generous host above. A few tame shots when he could’ve taken more time in that game. In particular he felt that Theo he lacked a little self belief possibly as a natural by product of his England travails. Just a little.
    And yes, when you watch that interview with Gibbs early last season, you can see that ten thousand ‘people’ heckling his every touch for the last few years has not helped him.

    I think the curse of the late comer to this game is not a poor or improving technique but an inconsistant one, for now at least. Have a look at some of the early goals (we are talking about goals!)

    (props this time to

    To conclude, is Walcott on a level that is really so very different to Pedro of BBB and Spain?
    Thank you and goodnight.

  91. Walcott is an impact sub.Nothing else

    Those saying he should play in the middle Specsavers are doing good deals at the moment

    The Ox is way ahead of Theo in his development at the same age

    2 league goals in a side that creates so many chances is a pathetic return

  92. By the way Luke ,Its one world star and a bench warmer

  93. I agree with Luke a bout Cesc. He is hardly a coward. He gave 100% for our club during the time he was here, and dragged an often struggling team through plenty of matches. He eventually left to go back to his hometown and childhood team. The team he suppports. It just so happens they they play the best football on the planet. Who can blame him? My only gripe over his transfer is that we settled for a knock down price, but that is a differnt discussion.

  94. And I also agree with George about Theo. The assists are starting to come, but not enough goals, and not enough overall contribution to a match. Not for a club of our stature anyway.

  95. “pedantic george | January 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm
    I don’t expect Theo to be brilliant in every game.
    His strength is running in when teams push up.
    He is a great asset to the team .He keeps the opposition honest.He has an effect on games .His defensive work is improving all the time.
    Robin benefits hugely from his game.
    All that I accept and he is still only 22.
    But don’t give me any shit about him being a big game player or a world beater.
    He simply does not score enough,as of yet.And his future returns are not getting us points at the moment.

    If he is a “big game” player someone wants to be pointing out that he has failed to understand the magnitude of some games he has payed in in the last 10 months.”

    Some of you people cant read ,or what?
    2 goal in half a season is reason for concern.
    But have it any way you want.

  96. People keep going on about Theo’s hat-trick v Croatia

    He hasnt scored a goal in any other international.He has 21 caps

  97. People keep going on about Theo’s hat-trick v Croatia

    He hasnt scored a goal in any other international.He has 21 caps

    Zing indeed.

  98. Cesc kissed the badge and then shit on it.Fuck him.
    At least Nasri never claimed to love the club.We should have expected it from him.

  99. Its 17 months since he scored a home league goal!!!!!!

  100. Luke: “Fabregas had 15 goals and 15 assists last season”

    No, he didn’t. 9 goals last season. In all competitions.

  101. Lenny | January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm
    Its 17 months since he scored a home league goal!!!!!!

    I have questioned the point of starting him at home against the parked bus.
    But he is beyond reproach it seems.

  102. Agree with the ‘occasional poster’ if that tickles your pickle. How many 90 mins has Theo actuaclly played played for England since that croatia game? First it didn’t happen, then it it was one off?
    OK then. And the realists above happily ignore those goals outside of the PL. It’s not like anyone above wrote ‘he’s scored lots of goals, no more please!’ And that ladies and gentlemen, is why they are known as the Revisionists.

    Yes. It certainly is lovely sunset out there. Good evening to you all.

  103. Luke does not concern himself with truths Markus.

  104. Man-ure should have called Rooney’s bluff and told him that 200k was what Man-sour pay….. to play in a blue shirt in Manchester.

    Walcot is not asking for this and he can go to Man-sour if he was. It helps that Arsenal are on the up, but The Arsenal squad should be primarily made up of players who come for club and manager. There is some money to encourage ‘supers’ like vP and Walcot should get extra if he is earning it with consistent assists and great goals. Without that the remuneration package has to reflect actual performance statistics. That having been said, they can always review it if a fire is started by the current owner of the14 shirt.

    It is too early for the Ox to be an absolute replacement too, but all the players should know that you can always replace someone who asks more than he earns.

  105. George – “Cesc kissed the badge and then shit on it

    To be fair, Paddy and Henry both kissed the badge plenty and then postured to leave (and eventually did). There is not many Adams and Bergkamp’s around these days.

  106. if we played a 4-4-2 with Walcott and RVP upfront Walcott would be able to unleash his potential and show his class because he would benefit from teams having to keep such an eye on RVP that he would be able to run into that space. What we miss is an attacking midfielder who can play quicker and exploit his crazy speed like Cesc did. while we keep asking our manager(who keeps refusing to spend money on the class players we need) to buy a striker but instead just bring in a gifted attacking midfielder like Gourcoff who can not only be that creative force but also has a knack for scoring goals. yes i know Gourcoff isn’t completely fit but before he was injured he was considered true class so why not bring him in and not only strengthen the squad but also show the bunch of RVP Song and Walcott that your willing to spend money on class and go after trophies.

  107. Theo has the excuse of being young, and over-hyped from a very young age. He is a good player, and will become a very good player. He has looked better every year so far, has had seasons interrupted by injuries (which now seem to be solved), and is improving his final ball, dribbling and decision making. He also gets doubled-up on every game now, which is another sign of his potency. The ‘no football brain’ argument is getting weaker as he develops. He will start to score more as he matures. Henry didn’t score many until he was around 24-25…

    George – how can you be so critical of Theo when Arsh has none of the above ‘disadvantages’ and has been performing much worse? He should be at the peak of his powers at his age, he doesn’t get doubled-up on any more, has much less un-warranted expectation lumped on his shoulders, has a ‘football brain’ that used to perplex the most astute defenders.

    It’s only fair to throw all the same criticism you’ve thrown at Theo, at Arsh, and probably more. Just saying.

  108. Good points on the speed of passing in this team from whoever earlier too. We’ve really missed that I think. Ramsey and Arteta have the ability to do this, but seem to be thinking too much about everything, one or 2 touches too many. This will come though as they adapt. That quick, zippy passing is the biggest thing to have been lost after the departures of Nasri & Cesc. And makes a big difference.

  109. That is true Andy,and the reason I don’t join the Paddy and Henry love in.
    But Cesc knew Arsene was building a team around him .He knew he was key and that years had been invested in building with him as the pivot.
    He knew the damage he would cause both to club,manager and fans.He had not,nowhere near , re payed Wenger’s investment in him.
    And for that I call him a coward and a cunt.Much more so than even Nasri.
    He jilted us at the alter.

  110. Cesc is a coward. He signed a contract and then wanted out the next year. His own words are proof, so don’t get all upset with me Luke.

    What I am telling you is simple and true in all team sports. Your better players are the ones who have the most responsibility. I don’t know what the big deal is with saying that? It has always been and will always be. That does not mean that other player’s are not culpable and I never said that. BUT what the hell is the point of being looked upon as a great, world class player and you don’t show up, just like the lesser players?

    The whole world said we lost our two best players.

    Why are you bringing up other names. Most injured or barely played. Get real bro.

  111. Geo my only critisism is he is not scoring enough goals.
    Are you another who cant read?
    Arshavin is paying the price for being out of form .But I would bet my life if he had made the starts and played the minutes Theo has ,he would have scored more than 2 goals in half a season.

  112. Geo @ 4:16

    No one on here thinks that theo lacks a football brain, but he has to score more then the has, and it’s going to be 2 – 3 more years until he reaches the age when Henry came good. We can’t afford to wait that long with him playing basically every game and giving us the goal return that he has in the last year. We need to add a goal scorer or 2 to this squad so he can be rotated into and out of the squad depending on his form.

  113. Paul,Nasri was never our second best player.The whole world got it wrong.

  114. I agree George. For me Cesc was not our best player, especially last season. RVP proved his worth by getting it done.

  115. While Cesc did play for Arsenal i think that his heart was always at Barca but @george 4:19 makes a good point that Arsene and Cesc knew that the team was built around him and he should understand that since the Barca are built and have been built around Xavi but he left. While he claims to haev left for trophies it is his backheel in the Barc CL game and us just playing Barca that help lead to our demise and i think that is when he checked out completely last season

  116. I hate to bring this up again but Cesc was a joke when we played Barca. Behaved like a punky brewster and you know it.

  117. Cesc is a fantastic player and a decent human being. I put no judgement on those who wish to go to a specific club especially when it has always been known and are willing to help fund the move. There is just no criticism that sticks for players like that. It is unfortunate that he was unable to create the same magic with the results as he created with the football, but history will show that he was one of the greatest players ever to wear an arsenal shirt.

    Henry was and will always be seen as a great servant of this club because his great period was at the club.

  118. “and it’s going to be 2 – 3 more years until he reaches the age when Henry came good.”

    Bill I know what you are saying but at his age Henry scores 17 and had 9 assists in the league for us.
    Poles apart.

  119. Bill & George – I agree with both of those comments. Arsh probably would have been more productive on the goal front, I think it’s such a shame what’s happened to him. I was just saying that i was surprised at your criticism of Theo considering your un-faltering support of Arsh.

    And Bill, I do also think we need someone prolific in terms of goals while we wait. Gervinho looked like he would get plenty of goals when he first started, again, false expectations on my part (prob Wenger’s too!). I think Theo should be used as an impact sub when games are stretched. But I am certain he will come good in years to come.

    and btw i was just using the no football brain thingy to help make my point 😉

  120. “Bill I know what you are saying but at his age Henry scores 17 and had 9 assists in the league for us.”

    Is that true? I thought he was a couple of years older than that…!

  121. SA.
    Cesc turned out to not be the man we thought he was.Wake up.

  122. Heh, people really should not be comparing Henry and Walcott in any way shape of form. Their only similarity as players was their pace. Thats it.

  123. Paul N

    You are being a joke now. Even if one accepts your case – which I don’t – which is the the greater crime against the club?

  124. Can’t be arsed George, not pedantic by any means, and i trust you… Well Theo is never going to be Henry, but players develop at different rates, and if it wasn’t for the hype when he was 16, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation. We do need a goal threat, whether it be on the wings or from midfield, someone needs to step up in the 2nd half of the season, or Wenger needs to bite the bullet and get someone in who can..

  125. Cesc was fantastic in his time at the club. He made less mistakes than most and inspired more wins than most. It is plain sour grapes slagging the guy once he has left.

    I maintain that if we had been more competative during his time, he may not have left at the point that he did. Surrounding a world class player with dross like Denilson and Bendtner…well…we really missed a trick to build on a special talent IMO.

    Anyway, I am off.


  126. Geo .please tell me what criticism I have made other than he is not scoring enough.Here is how it started
    “pedantic george | January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    Theo and Gervinho are in effect wide strikers.
    Strikers should score regularly.They don’t.That is a problem.
    It is important to have an all round game including pace,trickery,directness, touch, vision but surly putting the ball in the net should be a priority.
    I don’t care how nice they are,how well they speak or what other skills they possess.If they don’t score in this system,they they are not doing the job they should be.
    People on here have said Theo is our second biggest goal threat.Well if that’s true we are in it up to our necks.
    If those two are not going to score then perhaps a change of system is needed.”

    Two goals in half a season.!
    Am I being unfair?
    Overly critical?

  127. My case SA Gooner? You have a love in with Cesc, good for you. He is above criticism for you. You simply cannot be objective.

  128. Cesc was an very good player but his own words and actions condemn him. To say anything else is beyond a joke.

  129. Paul.A bit like me and Arshavin?
    But at least I admit it.

  130. true dat George but you did say for every Bergkamp you have an Arshavin. LOL!

    That was too funny!

  131. Thank God Bendtner is not at the club – he has absolutely gone off the rails since joining Sunderland. Amazing amount of tabloid shite he accumulated for 6 months.

    Cesc has genuine love for this club, like Andy I think we were too soft with him with regards letting him leave so cheaply. It’s amazing that Wenger fought his corner over the club’s interests – just shows what a decent man Wenger is. Admirable though that is it didn’t make it the right decision.

    Anyway he is gone – we move on.

    Hopefully the FA Cup match will be start of some regular showings for the peripheral squad members. Too early to start discussing the team??

    I’d quite like to see –

    Arsh/Henry Park Oxy
    Rosicky Benayoun
    Miquel Squillaci Per Yennaris

  132. Cesc conned us.Simples.

  133. Geo.

    I hope theo does come good. He certainly has potential and I hope he stays with the club until he retires, but on the goal scoring form he has demonstrated for the past year he can’t continue to take all the minutes in that position.

  134. Hahaha George. Don’t worry mate, I know you’ll never give up, I shouldn’t have bothered.. You will never accept even the vaguest hint of criticism towards Arshavin because he is your darling, even if much less than what you’ve written about Theo. I didn’t way you were overly critical, I was simply making the point that you were criticising, and would not stand for that if it was leveled at Arsh. Anyway i can see this going into another pointless pedantic bicker, so have a fantastic evening. Much love.

  135. Yogi ,starts a fight and then does one,eh?

  136. PG
    ‘Cesc turned out to not be the man we thought he was.Wake up’

    We thought he was going to Barcelona and

    ….he wanted to play there
    They played together as kids
    They are the best in the world
    He funded it
    and he went.


    I have been to sleep on it and I have woken up and Men like him will always have my blessing.

    I am sorry it is not his as well but let us step up to our own centre spot.

  137. But I do and have accepted criticism of AA,
    What I don’t accept is when people talk shit about him because they are stupid.

  138. hmmm george..i agree 99% …them comments on cesc are b/s..sorry. he never put in a transfer to come to arsenal. we were the ones who wanted him. i can only hope that the rest exhibit half the commitment cesc did when he was with us. imagine yourself groing inside arsenal football club with all your mates and family and at the age of 15 barcelona comes to poach you, and after three years arsenal starts winning it ALL while youre at barca with some other mugs drowning in incompetence and being a victim of spannish bias and having spannish refs mocking your right to compete and win. …wouldnt you go back to arsenal? of course you would. plus he made us 40 million….not bad ..

  139. SA,
    Cesc was just an illusion.
    A fraud
    A tease.
    The best attacking midfield weaselly cunt in the world.

  140. cesc_ara, who would have thought that with a name like that you would take such a stance? 🙂

  141. The same mugs that beat Barcelona and were cheated.

    We are the ones that wanted Cesc, huh? and I guess a gun was put to his head to sign and even sign a new contract even when he knew he wanted to go. Poor Cesc. Cry me a river to blow wow!

  142. Well I guess I am one of a few people who are perfectly ambivalent about cesc

    Positives: A lot, won many games, inspirational in midfield, joy to watch, exemplary off the pitch, okay as a captain (he succeeded gallas could not do much worse I guess)

    Negatives: That night at the nou camp last season, we needed the cesc who broken leg and all scored a penalty against them the previous season, but he well… just did not do it..

    So perfectly cancels out for me: hence ambivalence

  143. Is Nedum Onuoha good enough to be an Arsenal squad player?

  144. @ cesc_ara

    99% agree mate 🙂 ..the commitment you speak of went missing at camp nou last season..a bad game would have completely okay..but the lack of fight was awful to see..for me its right up there with bendtners first touch at the end of the game in terms of awfulness

  145. @ earflow

    He is a right back..sagna is back soon and i think jenks is not too far either, LB is definitely a more pressing concern

  146. @ Anirudh

    He can play any position across the back. If we sell the Frenchman with the Italian sounding name we bought from Spain who hardly gets a game, we would have done good business.

  147. Anirudh – I wouldn’t say I’m ambivalent – but, like you, I can see both good and bad. I miss him but I’m glad he’s gone. I don’t care that he kissed the badge and then left later – it’s just a shame that he often did not show enough belief or fight when it counted. He should have looked at himself more often.

    It is true the club could have done more also.

  148. Jonny-The club should have done more. Dude is one of the best in the world, and he was sold for less than Sandy Carroll.

    Cesc scored an exquisite chip yesterday. He has a better eye for goal than everyone on our squad minus RVP, maybe Arshavin as well.

  149. Adding to the team should be top priority. I understand that it is not easy to sign players. But the mysticism that shrouds the Arsenal transfer period hurts. We do not know who we are after.

    It only takes RVP or Arshavin or Rosicky or Santos one touch to move the ball along. As mentioned above, i think that aspect of our play is lacking. Moves have become much to slow.
    Andrei receives criticism for his risky passing, but that is what we need to create goal scoring chances. We also need someone to convert them 😉 (looking at you Gervinho)

  150. but not only Gervinho and Walcott and Arteta but i feel the player that shoots and misses and gets played the ball in positions to score alot is Ramsey. he takes to many touches but then infront of goal and with his shot he is absolutely horrid. We need Jack back but still need another creative force or at the least play Arshavin in the Ramsey’s spot which is his natural position and where he would thrive. I swear if i have to see that dumbass look on Ramsey’s face 1 more time when he is standing at teh mouth of goal and puts it wide or high!!!!!! i mite have to beat him to a pulp

  151. C. I agree. We have seen Ramsey pull off some wicked shots. A few years ago at Portsmouth, and last year vs Manure come to mind.

    This year we have witnessed so many chances go to waste. It seems all too often that we will have 7 shots on goal with only 1 score. Then the other team punts it downfield, the 50/50 ball falls their way, and they slot it home. Those types of games do not sit well at all. Gervinho has had 3 or 4 opportunities this season where he made the run to the near post, and a flick on would have troubled the keeper. Eh i am dwelling too much. There is still many games to play and many points to be earned. Come on arsenal.

  152. Limestonegunner

    Yeah, what a coward. What a con. Anyone remember this game? 2009-10 season, after signing long term contract, in a battle for 3/4th with Villa, Tottenham, Liverpool. This is when his hamstring injury started to become chronic.

  153. Arshavin would thrive there.C.
    I am less sure the rest of the midfield would do as well from his inclusion in that spot.

  154. by wicked shots i mean, examples of good finishing. This year he has been pretty wasteful. The worst part is that he arrives in the correct attacking positions, but once there, the opportunity goes to waste.

  155. Chill, i agree with you those are the matches that i drink extra heavy after (Fulham, damn i need another drink) but we still have so many games left but we need goals and Arsene to buy 1 attacking player (outside of Henry, which is running into a problem but cant wait to see him in the shirt again)and let Walcott free to shoot and start converting and we will be in 3rd in no time because the spuds will start losing

  156. I would not mind Onuoha at all. I liked him a great deal when he played for Sunderland last seaason and he can play RB, CB and CM. Big, physical player with good touch and decent pace.

    This criticism of Theo is misguided. He’s not good at beating his fullback when he’s pinned to the right touchline, fair enough. Well, guess what? Neither is Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s why he is and always has been played on the left. So was Henry, who was incredibly average on the right until he arrived from Juve and Wenger put him on the opposite side. Theo fulfills a specific role in the squad. He is there to keep the fullback and LB busy throughout the game while helping out on defence. If he gets a decent enough throughball he is almost always dangerous. When he doesn’t he’s always running off the ball, keeping defenders honest and dropping back to help out our RB. In the midst of all that he can and does have poor performnces. But most of the people who say that Theo will never be a good striker or that Theo doesn’t take a game by the scruff of the neck are ignorant of the work he does for the team.

  157. Arshavin would definitely help the team if he played in Ramsey’s spot. His awareness and ability to make to right pass is on par with the best in the world. When Arshavin is on the pitch, you can see him pointing around to where the ball should go. He takes up the correct positions, and is able to spark the offense with a perfectly placed pass.

    Limestone- that was an amazing game to watch.

  158. Limestonegunner

    Cesc let us down. No question. But only the last season. Fraternizing with Barca players, playing that game unfit, backheeling. Then disappearing when injured. Bad marks and not ready to be captain. But to say he didn’t shoulder responsibility you can only really say that about last season. It is tragic that he only got to play with RvP a limited number of games at Arsenal together and that we didn’t strengthen enough after 07-08 and had such terrible injuries–Eduardo, Rosicky and so on. It is sad that Cesc lost his patience with Arsenal.

  159. Agree with you Gains. Theo’s presence on the pitch changes the game completely. The LB will be pinned back, and the LCB will be wary of Theo’s presence. The opposition know that if they commit forward too much, one of our mids can lob a ball over the top and let Theo sprint. I would like to see some more adventurous passes over the top. There have been a few instances this year where the midfielders hesitate to pass, and end up playing the ball into Theo’s feet rather than into space. You would think the midfielders would be having a field day with Theo on the pitch, but i feel that his pace is not being utilized to the fullest.

  160. Arshavin would definitely not help the team playing in Ramsey’s position. Ramsey covers in the middle and has to put in a defensive shift just like Song and Arteta do. Arshavin would cover less than a g-string in that position. Where I would like to see Arshavin play is upfront with van Persie ion a 4-4-2. I would love it if Wenger would use that formation the way he did when Titi and Pires were in the side.

  161. Interesting stats, PG, re T Henry v Theo. I agree with your point, Theo (and Gervinho, among others) don’t score enough goals.

    Theo’s stats for last season were 27 league appearances and 9 goals. Henry at the same age had 29 league appearances and 4 goals (30 and 4 the previous year).

    Henry’s breakout season, his first season with AFC, was at more or less the same age Theo is now (Theo was born in March, Henry in August). In 31 league appearances, Henry had 17 goals and 9 assists. Theo will need to have a Messi/Ronaldo-type second half of the season to get anywhere near those stats.

    Of course, statistics only ever tell part of the story. Henry played in a side that had many more attacking threats, with more and better goal-scorers and, arguably, goal-creators. Put Theo in that same side and he would do much better than he is doing now, but he is not (yet) in Henry’s class. I think if we put Theo in last year’s side, he would be doing significantly better than he did last year, but what we all want is results in the real world, this year.

    Ramsey, I think, has it in him to be a ten-to-fifteen goals per season player in the future. He, too, would benefit from the team having more clinical finishers.

    Come on, AW, surprise us and buy a top-class (but unknown and cheap) striker!

  162. Bill the thrillster – yup I said as much earlier on.

    Don’t get me started on Gerv’s shooting! Still, he was famed for his one real failing being inconsistent end product whilst he was in France – so the only surprise thus far has been the quality of chance he is capable of fluffing.

  163. A season is a long time in the career of a footballer.

    I can see why Denilson’s words before he upped sticks were so upsetting for some!

  164. (But I’ll be happy with famous and expensive, as long as he scores goals.)

  165. @ george i like the midfield of arshavin (creativity and quick passimg) Arteta and Song better than i like Ramsey. and yea i think Arshavin would thrive there because he would be able to play the quick balls and killer thro balls that Ramsey wouldn’t play because he takes too many touches on the ball. Arteta and Song i think would be comfortable playing with Arshavin (who at times has shown he has a decent work rate) because they to can play teh quick passing game

  166. Chill, that play between him and Sagna down the left against Udinese is something that should be done more often. We need proper fullbacks for that, though. That goal is the type of goal Theo should be scoring all day long.

  167. i think we should play a 442 but AW doesnt so we wont

  168. Jonny, your usage of italics and bold font is perfect.

    Gains, when mentioning Arsh for Ramsey, i was acknowledging the added offense. The defense would definitely suffer. But hey, we score 3, other side scores 2, that is still a victory.

    Anyways, i recall that play. I also recall something similar last season (against wolves maybe). Jack just hoofed to the other side of the pitch, and Theo burned his marker in a 40 yd sprint.
    When faced up against older fullbacks, we need to take advantage of his pace.

  169. March 2010 Arsenal trail Barcelona 2-1.Cesc bursts into the box.He is fouled and breaks his leg.Its a penalty against his boyhood heroes.What does Cesc do?He buries the penalty with a broken leg.And then plays on till the end of the game.Some coward

    Shame on some of you who call yourselves Gooners

  170. Limestonegunner

    Gains, I am beginning to think that there are occasions when we should consider playing 442 in the league. Song and Arteta are very strong and solid as a midfield pairing. Both Gervinho and Walcott have shown a commitment to defensive work on the wings and have the pace to cover territory. Given that our fullbacks are out at least a few more weeks we could perhaps use Arshavin’s invention through the centre of the pitch more to score some goals. The Xmas period v. Wolves and QPR would have been ideal times to try this.

    But everyone points out that it is difficult to change formation when we have practiced 433 as our shape without variation the last three seasons. I think our team, with the technical ability and experienced players, should be able to be more tactically flexible. I understand with very young players, formation changes might be less viable. But with players like Mertesacker, Arteta, RvP, Arshavin, Song through the spine, we ought to be able to do this more.

  171. we should be able to adapt our 433 with the players that we have

  172. David.
    Support Barca then.Like the cowardly weasel does.
    That was his £100k+ per week job.BTW.

  173. Arshavin only shines playing with team mates of equal intelligence and skill. If he plays badly, it just shows other players are shits, simple as that. The truth is, he joined the wrong team.

  174. Limestonegunner

    Time for AW to swoop in and capture Moussa Sow. He doesn’t want to go to Fenerbahce but Lille has agreed a fee (12mill Euros–in our range). He is a great, clinical finisher, combines well with Gervinho. Just what we need and Henry can cover for him until he returns from the ACN. Can’t play on the wing though, but RvP could roam in 442 sometimes.

    Come on AW!

  175. besides the yesteryears of Fabregas and Nasri, current players who can connect with Arshvin are Rosicky and Santos, especially Santos.

  176. DY I agree. I have been waiting to see the Andre + Andrei combo on the left hand side.

  177. Limestonegunner

    ACN losses:
    ManU, no one
    ManCity, Kolo and Yaya Toure
    Chelsea, Drogba, Kalou
    Liverpool, no one
    Arsenal, Gervinho and Chamakh

    Gervinho is a big loss for us no matter the complaints about his finishing. But I think Yaya and Drogba are bigger losses. Torres could improve but I wouldn’t bet on it. Yaya is a pivot in the spine of ManCity.

  178. Moussa Sow or Poldoski or Gourcoff i dont give a damn just buy somebody who can create and finish

  179. LG,I think City are gone and out of sight.
    But Chelsea will suffer

  180. no i think City will suffer, YaYa is the rock in the midfield and Chamakh can go and stay if you ask me

  181. Arshavin will and should stay, recently he’s “back” though with limited glimpse of his best. I wonder what if Henry combines with Arsh ?

  182. Limestonegunner

    Maybe but not so fast, George. They recovered well at home against a Suarez-less Liverpool dealing with the racism controversy after some stumbles. They have 8 games between now and Feb 12 in FA, CC and league including ManU, Liverpool twice, Spurs, Everton away, Aston Villa away. They could stumble in one or more of those league games.

    ManU have a very difficult period ahead, not so many games but us away, Liverpool, Stoke, and Chelsea away.

    Probably works to Spuds advantage but they play a touch set of league matches during this period after a pretty nice run the last two+ months.

    Hopefully Landon Donovan absolutely lights up the league because before March Everton play Spuds, City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Go Landy Cakes!

  183. Landon- the true american hero.

  184. Donovan is great , so is Demsey. The US team wouldn’t perform like they did in the World Cup if without those two.

  185. So because Cesc actually played and scored goals for Arsenal he is above crticism? So Ade is all good then.

  186. Truth. Dempsey has 6 goals for Fulham this campaign. More than our striker, i mean wide forward, i mean winger guy… 🙂

  187. Limestonegunner

    Actually, ACN is probably worst for Newcastle: Ba and Tiote. Two of their best players.

  188. Dempsey can play different positions and he’s got strength and skill and great character on the field, any chance of signing him ?

  189. Limestonegunner

    Who are you addressing your comment to, PaulN?

  190. He isn’t above criticism. We can critique him, and the manner which he left invites some criticism. Only looking at his activity on the pitch, playing for arsenal, he was friggin dynamite (usually). The backheel against Barca has kind of tainted that image for me, but that video limestone posted has got me feeling all nostalgic. Arsenal had one of the best players in the world for many years. Unfortunately he couldn’t lead us to victory, and he had to go to the team that is full of trophy winning diving wieners. ONWARDS.

  191. Evil | January 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Gainsbourg69 | January 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Good posts.

    In a team sport it’s not just about the qualities of the individual player – it’s also about how they fit with their colleagues and contribute to the overall balance of the team. I thought we missed Theo against Wolves.

  192. The manner in which Cesc F-word stayed that last season* invites criticism too!
    *the months of the previous one, till just up to that flying crack onto his soon to be broken leg by Gardner.

    Anyway, please go back to to Theo! The topic of the post? Something? Anything but Cesc. Please.

  193. * & the months of the previous one…

  194. No one in particular, Limestone. Just making a comment.

    If no one should be criticised, then so be it, but I am not down with showing favour to one just because.

  195. ok finsbury, I am off the Cesc thing. I just want to say that I can post some wicked vids of Ade also.

  196. Passenal, I missed him against QPR And Fulham as well 🙂

  197. No problem Paul N. I confess, ‘Poor Cesc. Cry me a river to blow wow!’ had me in serious trouble. Very funny!

  198. I’d have loved a reply from some bleedin’ Barcelona Bibins to my Pedro/Walcott comparison.

  199. Finsbury, you have me laughing now! ha ha ha!

  200. You are such a hypocrite George. Same could easily be said about another wide player, but you would be the first to slaughter anyone who dared to say it. Perhaps you should go back and read the two posts I highlighted and educate yourself before you start throwing your flippant comments around.

  201. I think you will find I have already admitted the other fellows shortcomings.Passenal.
    If you think 2 goals this season is enough from a first choice forward.Then fine.

  202. Here’s my effort.: Pedro’s two years older. That makes a bit of a difference at that age. Come on. You all remember. Probably a better finisher, guessing there’d be some more techincal consistancy although that didn’t matter to Koscielny. A little slower! Annoying. That’s about it.

    Yes. It’s true. All Great teams have eleven(or more!) Great players. Eleven funting Ronaldo the Greats, that is what you want. No bleedin’ passangers. Like Ronaldo the Great in that infamous final. No thanks.
    Which is why Barca signed Sanchez and WC & CL winning Pedro hasn’t been a regular this season. I’m not sure I care if he played to whilst Sanchez was out…

  203. I must not have been paying attention when you admitted that he who can do no wrong in your eyes, does not walk on water. Theo may have only scored 2 goals this season, but those 2 goals helped us qualify for the CL, which was crucial to us for a number of reasons. And I value RVP’s opinion of how important Theo is to a number of the goals that he has scored, over your biased opinion.

  204. Paul-N – of course players should be up for criticism – what’s the point of discussion if we can’t look at who is working and who isn’t and why? We all have our favourites but, that said, from the beginning of this season, I have been jumped on from various quarters for saying –
    that Chamakh might have a long road back to favour with Wenger,
    that I was glad Bendtner was gone to Sunderland (even though he had already slagged off our own club),
    that Gervinho was a poor finisher and (whilst an otherwise excellent signing) we knew that when we signed him.
    I do think criticism should be thought through and worthy of discussion – in this respect George is right – it’s unhelpful to point out that AA is shite. We would be better to critique why he might be failing (what system is he playing in and who with?) than just slinging mud as some do. That said, George is also the best example of the opposite (being SO blinkered by his love, he is at times, unable to take even take remote constructive criticism his paramour)!

  205. My final point for tonight for those comparing Henry with Theo – Theo is still serving his apprenticeship on the wing. By the time Henry came to Arsenal he was ready to graduate to centre forward with Pires and Bergkamp to feed him chances. Who does Theo have to supply him?

  206. what I said and try to comprehend it .It might help if you climb down off your high horse for a minute.

    “pedantic george | January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    Theo and Gervinho are in effect wide strikers.
    Strikers should score regularly.They don’t.That is a problem.
    It is important to have an all round game including pace,trickery,directness, touch, vision but surly putting the ball in the net should be a priority.
    I don’t care how nice they are,how well they speak or what other skills they possess.If they don’t score in this system,they they are not doing the job they should be.
    People on here have said Theo is our second biggest goal threat.Well if that’s true we are in it up to our necks.
    If those two are not going to score then perhaps a change of system is needed.”

  207. Limestonegunner

    He had Cesc, RvP, and Arshavin in seasons past. But I agree there are, this season, fewer such providers who can and do put balls through for him behind the opposition defensive line in space he can run onto for chances to score or assist. We don’t play that way quite as well.

    The main difference, Passenal, that I see as relevant in the Henry-Theo comparison is that we don’t play the same formation anymore and the responsibilities of the central striker in the 433 are quite different.

    Only one of those goals, from last year, in the compilation Fins posted, shows Theo receiving the ball in the box with his back turned to goal. It was against Blackpool and I remember it very distinctly because I was quite excited by the way he and Chamakh switched positions during the game and that Theo made a brilliant touch and turn to blast a goal. I thought if he showed more of this kind of invention in and around the box, he could play there.

    It could happen but it seems the formation we play uses him in a different way.

  208. Limestonegunner

    Which leads us back to a question that has come up a couple of times in different ways in our recent discussions.

    Why can’t we contemplate adjustments to the formation to suit the players we have and opposition we face to give the team the best options?

    With the experienced players we have, I do think the occasional 442 would possibly work well. We have done it once or twice in the Carling Cup and we might see it v. Leeds in the FA cup. Perhaps it could work in some of our league matches against the right opposition as well.

  209. Passenal- that wasn’t meant to be snarky. RVP is also very capable of freeing Theo. The responsibility has to be placed on Ramsey, Arteta and Song. They are good passers of the ball. The question is, do they have the vision to see Theo’s run, and the ability to move the ball along quickly. I don’t think Ramsey possesses those abilities yet. Well, he sometimes executes, but not at a consistent enough level.

  210. Limestonegunner

    I also think 4231 is a good formation for us. On the other hand, I was quite dismayed that Fulham seemed to be able to overrun our midfield three. Ruiz and Dembele wrought some havoc in the second half, I thought. Perhaps we were too exhausted and I did post that I didn’t know how we could keep up the intensity of our play after an amazingly energetic first half.

  211. Chill, the midfield have not played in Theo as quickly/early as they caun or shold on more then a few occasions. They wouldn’t want to everytime, but it doesn’t happen enough. That clip over the top from Coquelin the from just a few games ago must’ve been a rare treat for Theo. A shame he’s now playing at LB!

  212. < can or should

  213. Walcott told off Rosicky for a pass to feet and not behind the opposing FB (they were 10yrds into Arsenal’s half). Walcott telling Rosicky where to pass was a funny sight. But Walcott was correct to have asked for the more direct pass on that particular occasion (Wolves, I think).

  214. p.s. he did manage to control the pass from Rosicky.

  215. George, Walcott was scoring last season. What I see is that he is playing different. He is defending more and looking for the assist first, to a fault at times. Strikers have to be a bit selfish and he is not playing with that mindset right now because of the system. I can’t wait until he plays in the middle regularly. Just becuase he is not hot now, does not mean that he has shown nothing and that he cannot do the business in the long run.

  216. Poor Thomas,not on Theo’s wave length.No football brain our little Mozart,that’s the problem I suppose.

  217. Finsbury I know the one you are talking about. I bet Theo can outspring almost any EPL player in a 30yd dash, why not make use of that more often?

  218. Well Paul .
    See it how you wish.
    I have never seen anything that make me think he will be a central striker.

    But Arsene does keep starting him so……………………………..

  219. Also, Arsene say’s that he see’s him playing central striker in the future. In Arsene We Trust.

  220. george will you fecking lay off our theo your effin little eff!!!

    messi knows how fukin good theo is and i’d take his opinion over anyones even yours georgey.

  221. Chill I think they do try. I’m guessing it’ not something they want to try all the time, especially not when you can rely on Koscielny or Vermaelan to spring a beautiful long ‘un every now then. If I had the answers…

    That pass from Vermaelan for RVP’s chocolate volley against Fulham was very cultured. We were denied the clip from TV5 to TH14 for all of last season! *sobs*.
    My favourite long clip this half season was Koscielny (at LCB) spinning loft (right foot) down through a breach in the Pulisade and into the path of their chief tormentor that day, our very own Gervias ( at LW/LF. A lovely move which led to a decent shot, not far over).

  222. Arsene also said Song would be a CB,
    Duke , Messi fears his pace because of the high line Barca play.And to be fair ,Messi is right ,Against a high line he is the greatest threat.
    I am sick of posting this but read again what I said.
    ““pedantic george | January 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm
    I don’t expect Theo to be brilliant in every game.
    His strength is running in when teams push up.
    He is a great asset to the team .He keeps the opposition honest.He has an effect on games .His defensive work is improving all the time.
    Robin benefits hugely from his game.
    All that I accept and he is still only 22.

  223. hah. George, nobody understands you!!!

  224. Doh! Was it TV5’s pass? I’m confused and can’t be bothered to check. It was a pass from a CB.

    Anyway, you all want goals eh?

    Well here are all of RVP’s 2011 goals from Arsenalvid:

  225. Duke you say that but all too often the brilliant are poor at evaluating it in others.
    Look at Pele! Greatest footballer of his time but couldn’t evaluate a great player if his life depended on it. Wenger – rather shit at football – great at seeing greatness in others.

  226. Damn these typos. < We were denied the clip from TV5 to TW14.

  227. well…what about if you say something like he will be better then AA when he gets to AA’s age george?????

  228. Duke ,Was it you who first pointed out “site etiquette”?
    Hypocritical,might you now say?

  229. George, Song would be a boss CB, if he played their all the time, who drops back, if needs be?

    His skill set dicates that he plays further up the field.

    tek dis, straight to yu chest.

  230. He will never ever ever be as good a footballer Duke.
    Get real.
    He will be able to run faster though.

  231. Theo has always had a poor technique.
    Can’ pass, can’t turn past a CB, can’t shoot.

  232. anyway where has all this top trumps shit started from. we have a great bunch of players and squilacci so its good.

  233. OK ,Paul Arsene said we would not sell the cowardly two.
    He knows .but not always.
    Two goals is all I am saying.

  234. Who has said that Fins?
    If you all dont think his lack of goals is a problem in the system we play .then I clearly understand less about the game than I thought I did,

  235. I think our lack of goals from every one else except rvp is a worry not just theo.

  236. George, he does not know a man’s mind. Cesc was not even committed when he was here , neither was Nasri. At the end of last season, maybe more. The boss is a man of principle, them not so much. But as far as knowing the skills of a player, he is the best going.

  237. Duke if you bothered to read the posts you would have seen this.

    “pedantic george | January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    Theo and Gervinho are in effect wide strikers.
    Strikers should score regularly.They don’t.That is a problem.
    It is important to have an all round game including pace,trickery,directness, touch, vision but surly putting the ball in the net should be a priority.
    I don’t care how nice they are,how well they speak or what other skills they possess.If they don’t score in this system,they they are not doing the job they should be.
    People on here have said Theo is our second biggest goal threat.Well if that’s true we are in it up to our necks.
    If those two are not going to score then perhaps a change of system is needed.”

    So I never said it was just Theo.

  238. yeah i agree george though. something needs changing doesnt it.

  239. highbury lament

    The enigma that is Theo, what to do with him ? Keep him and hope he improves, or get rid of him before the only real asset he has, his pace deserts him.
    As a season ticket holder for many years i have watched him very closely and can honestly say he lacks any real natural ability, he relies on his pace to get behind the defence but has no natural goalscoring flair.
    Having said that he will surprise you from time to time with a bit of skill you don’t expect to see and threatens to convince you that this is a new beginning for him but then goes on to do not very much.
    He has been at the club for six years now and quite honestly i can’t see much improvement from when he first came.
    I agree with George he will not make it as a central striker, far too light weight and very easily brushed aside and also not really knowing where the goal is as his sunday morning effort recently showed.
    As you probably will gather i am not a great fan, i feel Oxlade Chamberlain is a much better prospect but as i keep saying i hope he proves me wrong in the future.

  240. I love your commitment pg it matters and it is felt all ’round, but a spade is a spade.

    Cesc is a fantastic player, Henry was a fantastic player and Theo has all the potential.

    Players don’t just play in matches, they get there by impressing the coach in training. Park has not impressed and has not featured, if AA had the fire he would be setting it alight wherever he started, but he isn’t and as it stands he will go rather than get the chance in the middle.

    Hey ho.

  241. Yes Paul,but even then he has made some serious Gaffs,with players and bought some real Turkeys.and shown faith in some average players.
    So you cant quote him saying Theo will be a striker as if it will come to pass.Because many of his predictions have turned out to be wide of the mark.

  242. So how long did theo get to prove he is a shit striker then?????

    fukin bullshit…… i remember him playing upfront i forget who in the cl and he scored two goals and he looked a dead ringer for that little gambling boring horse loving striker in his hayday.

  243. I have said time and again SA,Andrei’s skill set does not appear to fit the current carnation of Wengerball.
    What has “fire”got to do with anything other than your preconceptions?

  244. george are you having a pop at Wenger there?? you have changed… do you still like Blair then or are you seing his faults to??

  245. You eat something that disagreed with you today PG? Never known you so pissy and antagonistic. I have consistently applauded your support for a derided Arsenal player and as such am deeply disappointed to see you jump on such a lazy haters bandwagon.
    As a useful thermometer, when you find yourself in vehement disagreement with quality like Passenal and Paul N it’s time to have a serious think about your position.

  246. Limestonegunner

    I thought you were off the Cesc issue, Paul. You are going to make me post something serious on the topic!

  247. George. Do you remember that re-built team in 08/09? They had trouble scoring for a while as well. Especially when the injuries kicked in. Around about this time of year they were very dependant upon one…RVP! (Ade was already gone or on his way out, I can’t care to remember). That does not mean that there shall never ever be another striker signed by AFC. Or that Arsenal are scoring lots of goals at the moment*. It is just an observation.

    *The odd pelanty would surely help! Not just the one the other day where the assist went to Theo. Just kidding.

  248. Please don’t ever, never, compare Arsene Wenger with Tony Blair.
    Don’t do it! It’s not good for you.

  249. He is right most of the times, that says a lot.

    However, this is the first I have even mentioned Wenger, that is not the foundation of what I am saying. My opinion is.

    As for me, my opinions are usually bullseye.

    hee hee!

  250. Two goals in half a season is prof enough,Duke.
    Chamakh scores more per minute(he might not I just said that )

  251. Limestonegunner

    Not allowed to step out of line PG or you won’t be in the ACLF in crowd anymore. I am more on the defend Theo’s value and quality side but can respect the point that 2 goals in the league is not what we or he would expect. He himself emphasized twice in his interview on Arsenal Player that he wants to score more goals. But neither ought we to diminish his assists since his final ball has been better generally this and last season and that he does link up well with RvP who does appreciate that relationship on the pitch greatly.

    What I wonder is why we don’t rest him for Arshavin sometimes and bring him on at 65-70mins to stretch defences when they are tired and his pace becomes a big weapon.

    Anyway, we’ll see some new situations now that Arshavin can play more. If he does well, there might be more rotation among the forward wide players when Gervinho comes back. But Arshavin will have to fight for the position with Benayoun and surely we will see the Ox getting some appearances late in games.

  252. You could write four goals (” in CL) in half a season is prof enough.
    But then last season that was about enough for Bale to win that silly bauble ting.

  253. “Not allowed to step out of line PG or you won’t be in the ACLF in crowd anymore.”

    What a load of horseshit.

  254. Look for fuck sake.
    You people are having serious trouble reading.
    I have had one criticism ,and that is he does not score enough .
    And anyone who thinks he does ,Passenal,Paul, Stew or Jesus Christ himself is very easily pleased .Read my original posts before having a pop at me .It helps to know what you are critisising someone for.

  255. I’ve never agreed with George.

  256. Limestonegunner

    Penalties really have dried up, Fins. But 08-09 was a tough year for us principally due to weakness in midfield. Song and Denilson were very young and we had lost Gilberto, Flamini, and Diarra. Hleb left. Adebayor wasn’t quite on his way out but he had flirted over the summer and was always offside and didn’t run.

    At the time though we did have RvP, Bendtner, Vela, we had lost Eduardo and weren’t scoring so much–but that is the year we brought in Arshavin during the window because we were in a dogfight for 4th. We needed a boost and we do this year as well. Hopefully TH gives us that lift and we can capture Sow!

  257. Finsbury @ 4.01

    ‘It’s not like anyone above wrote ‘he’s scored lots of goals, no more please!’

    Just five more league goals and he can match Bale from last season. Yipee.

  258. from playing out wide though george with heavy defensive duties….
    like i say lets actually play him upfront before we all start writing him off a. for me he would be like an owen for sure so lets play him before he does lose his pace which happened to owen.

  259. “pedantic george | January 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm
    I don’t expect Theo to be brilliant in every game.
    His strength is running in when teams push up.
    He is a great asset to the team .He keeps the opposition honest.He has an effect on games .His defensive work is improving all the time.
    Robin benefits hugely from his game.
    All that I accept and he is still only 22.

    Steww how is that being pissy and antagonistic?

  260. Yes, that means that nine league goals (and oh so few assists) in total for a wide forward is also not that impressive. Make of it what you will.

  261. I dont think passenal has george in the in crowd!!

  262. Fuck, now I can’t count. I blame George.

    Wait for it. Seven. Yes, that is seven, the sacred number. Seven league goals and one or two assists for Bale last season in the league.

  263. Finsbury I am sure I would always agree with you if I had a clue what the fuck you were on about

  264. Limestonegunner

    Lol, Fins! But so you’re in the “in crowd”? Who knew?!

  265. Limestonegunner

    Last season Theo had a much better record of goals and assists than Bale aka the best player in the world besides Messi.

  266. Does Bale play in a 4 3 3 ?
    Is the a wide striker?
    See I though he wasn’t.
    Was I wrong?

  267. PG 10.48. Behave.

    2 goals in half a season is bad?

    Last season Bale, the bestest player ever had 3.5.

    Methinks you doth protest too much.

  268. This has been all in good fun to me.

    George, this is why I even said anything.

    ‘He has shown NOTHING to make us think he might’..become a good central striker.

    I am not sure how you can make such a statement but you have that right.

  269. Is bale feeding the ball to a red hot RVP?

  270. Limestonegunner

    What formation do Spuds play? 442 sometimes but often a 451? But Bale has license to play like a wide forward, I think. I don’t know because I don’t watch their games much.

    How different is the wide forward from a winger, especially when we expect the forward to get back defensively and not just to press at the front?

  271. Well ok.
    we are judging or players against a failed Left Back now are we?

  272. Oh my bad PG. Of course Bale is an orthodox winger clearly.
    Theo has had to be more orthodox this season as his FB’s have faltered one after the other. He’s spent as much time running back as forwards, hence the reference to the adjusment he was making to these particular changes in the squad by the manager earlier in the season. ANd conversley Bale has been less orthodox. So yes, it is a similar role. End of.

  273. Paul good point.

    Why do we always have this fukin top dog player who everyone is obsessed with passing to , first it was henry then cesc now rvp.

  274. Limestonegunner

    Well, what has he shown that gives us confidence in his ability to play centrally in our formation, Paul?

    I mentioned the goal v. Blackpool that was a promising sign in the Fall last season. He hasn’t played much in the box or done many 1-2’s in that area or played back to goal recently. In general this year has seemed to have him take a step back from the progress I saw last year toward playing more centrally. Now that he has improved his defense on the right, I see less of a chance for him to develop the techniques and sort of positioning that would help him progress toward that. Last year, especially with Chamakh I saw more of those things happening. With RvP he tends to play differently.

  275. Well Paul I have been watching him for 6 years now any I have seen some tremendous things and he has, and is ,developing a very effective skill set.
    But none of that which I have seen leads me to think he might become a good central striker.
    If that is some sort of ACLF crime then please ,you stalwarts (including you Duke),accept my heart felt apologies.

  276. Limestonegunner

    Duke, that’s an interesting point. I think the best and most balanced I’ve seen us play was 07-08. RvP, Adebayor, Eduardo up front. Rosicky and Hleb playing on the wings but not like wingers. Cesc, Gilberto, Flamini in the centre. The formation hadn’t been changed to suit Cesc yet and there were lots of players good on the ball and lots of finishers up front.

  277. Ok Fins,Have it your way.
    Its the same position(of course it is)
    He is then (and I don’t rate Bale) 350%more effective.

  278. Limestonegunner | January 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Lol, Fins! But so you’re in the “in crowd”? Who knew?!

    Clearly Limestone, you’ve stepped into the doodoo again there.
    Which is why we disagree above but then, shock, horror, come back into formation with your 10.55. Funny. Isn’t it. A generous forum where people sometimes agree and sometimes don’t. Fuck me. How weird is that?

  279. Paul-N | January 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm
    Is bale feeding the ball to a red hot RVP?

    No ,but if he was he might have 20 assists by now.
    For the record I think Theo is better than Bale by a distance.
    But really ,how are you suppose to spin 2 goals?

  280. Limestone’s 10.55 was unsurprisingly far more eloquent then any of my efforts.

  281. I love a good rumble between the militant Arshavinstas and The Theo Supporters Trust.
    Nighty night George.

  282. george our players are passing to rvp coz they dont want him to leave.

  283. ****! < Arshavinistas

  284. Duke ,you have sold out .
    Shame on you.All in the pursuit of popularity.

  285. You have to make the game come alive pg.

    Hopefully with fire.

  286. Wait a second:

    PG wrote: ‘He is then (and I don’t rate Bale) 350%more effective.’

    Total goals & assists for last season and this,

    Bale: Goals 14 Assists 1! (Quick double check. Yup. Uno. For an ‘orthodox winger’. Heh.)
    Walcott: Goals 13 Assists 5

    That is not my first, nor my everything, but is definitely the last.

  287. You just can’t say Maradona would not do anything with the ball if he played in the wrong type of team. It is just not true.

    Cesc will prosper where Cesc goes. Nasri may, Arshavin may. Wengerball or Neigh that is what separates the greats.

  288. Yes but I am only talking about this year(this team in other words) and league goals scored.As that is my one and only criticism.
    Is it beyond you to understand my posts?

  289. Limestonegunner

    Sorry to change the subject from our fascinating and productive discussions, but can someone tell me what Ken Bates is talking about? Also, how does he think he has any credibility to talk about how clubs should be run? I thought Barton was a hypocrite. It’s totally nonsensical.

  290. So Nasri is Great?
    Do me a favour.
    Dennis did not prosper in Milan.,because of the system.Was he not great?
    Try again SA.

  291. Limestonegunner

    Actually, why didn’t DB10 prosper in Milan? System, manager(s) didn’t trust him, injuries and fatigue after WC, wasn’t given time to adapt and didn’t deal well with Italian media/culture, different managers and a bad team around him? I honestly don’t know what the story is there. But Inter were in the midst of quite a lot of turmoil–several managerial changes and a new owner took over, Moratti.

    Thankfully, it led to him coming to Arsenal.

  292. The system did not suit him,It was that simple

  293. And I know that because he said so

  294. Limestonegunner

    Also, he came to Arsenal for about the same money Inter purchased him from Ajax. So it isn’t like he flopped. Even at Arsenal he never scored at the same rate that he did for Ajax in the Dutch league. But his class was apparent and should have been at Inter as well. Perhaps they thought he would be just like Marco van Basten, but he had a much better team around him.

  295. Bradys right foot

    George I commend your all day Theoathon on ACLF, if only Arshavin had your work rate and comittment 😉

  296. LG ,I believe he was the greatest player on the planet(a bit like Theo is now according to today’s posts)
    He should have been a huge success anywhere.My point is that even Dennis looked average if the system did not suit him.
    Do you disagree?

  297. Fuck me its” bash George Thursday”
    Bring back the music .

  298. We need more goals from the Theo position. No one wants to jettison Theo because he has great potential and does some great things. It looked like he had made his breakthrough in the first 1/2 of last season. Unfortunately he has been struggling to score for the entire calendar year in 2011 and the team has suffered because of the goal drought from everyone outside RVP. Its not criticism to say what is actually happening on the pitch. The numbers don’t lie.

  299. “Its not criticism to say what is actually happening on the pitch. The numbers don’t lie”

    Well Bill it appears it is criticism and the numbers do indeed lie.

  300. Forgot music Thursday so thought I’d post something to help you sleep

  301. George:

    Welcome to my world. I have absolutely no doubt of your support. 🙂

  302. Bit of PG needed with that track

  303. Limestonegunner

    I don’t disagree, George. I think that Bergkamp was the best player of his time. He is the football connoisseur’s choice for sure. I agree that how the player is used is very important. I was just curious about the specifics of his Italian adventure because I don’t think it was such a failure and that there probably were multiple factors involved in why he wasn’t spectacular there including the system.

  304. i say the numbers do lie as we have a player that no one wants to leave so is getting passed to at evry fukin opportunity…gervinho and theo need to start being selfish and forget about teeing up rvp all the bloody time….ironic coz if they just shot and scored instead of passing we might score more win more then he will stay instead of all this pussy footing around give the ball to rvp shit.

  305. Limestonegunner

    Notably, none of your combatants really explained why Theo would make it as a central striker in our current system and what evidence they had to support such a view.

  306. We know why Gerv side-hoofs it to Van,
    Cause he can’t shoot for toffee

  307. Limestonegunner

    Duke, do you really think the players are worrying about RvP’s contract while they are playing or are they getting the ball to the guy who is finishing best? I agree that it can imbalance our play. I also do think that this ridiculous record was actually having a bit of influence on his play and those around him. But the main point is that he actually had an incredible rate of scoring from chances. Gervinho in particular has had a number of superb chances that he hasn’t finished. Eventually, he is going to be doubting himself and looking to pass to RvP rather than take a shot. Hopefully he gets some goals at the ACN and regains some confidence to shoot and some sharpness to be more clinical.

  308. last matter on this but everytime theo has ACTUALLY played upfront instead of out wide he has looked pretty good….. for england u21’s and for southampton and the couple of games( chelsea cc final and cl) for us, also he has not actually played upfront for us for any given spell and looked out of his depth either has he??
    like i say if you put owen out wide how could you judge his striker abilities.
    right night chaps.

  309. LG.I noticed that.
    Everyone wanted to change what I had said so their argument fitted.
    Still ,perhaps strength, positioning and a steady nerve are less important than I had thought.

  310. Limestonegunner

    PG, in fact I think I was the only one recently who even provided any evidence in his favor on that score. Since that time his play in our system has shifted and he has done more defending along the right. Honestly, we’ve heard less from him about playing centrally as well. Last year he mentioned it all the time. I think he has put his head down and worked on playing the wide forward/winger that the team has needed him to do. And I think his crossing has become better too.

  311. LG, I agree.He is becoming more efficient,as they seem to say.
    As AA said about himself last year.But their new efficiency seems do be detrimental to their shooting boots.

  312. duke @ 12:30 AM:

    Thats the most interesting and unique idea I have seen in a while. Spin it anyway you want if it makes you feel better. Theo didn’t start worrying about RVP’s contract last Feb. I don’t think Theo is a bad player and certainly no one thinks we should send him back to the reserves, but he has not been as effective as we need for a long time. The squad needs another goal scorer if it wants to take the next step.

  313. Bill,or less efficiency 🙂

  314. Limestonegunner

    True, PG. It might indeed be that more defensive work has affected Theo’s ability to get forward or more importantly for our midfielders to recognize an opportunity for a pass into space for him to run onto behind their defence. When he just pressed from the front, he was in position to break forward more easily and JW or Fabregas could find him.

    So better all around game and providing crosses but less goal-scoring.

  315. Limestone:

    We need him to be able to attack and defend in our system from the position he plays. The idea that a team can’t defend and attack at top level at the same time just does not fit with reality. If Theo can’t do both at the same time then we have a problem. JW and CF4 were both present the last 1/2 of last season feeding him thru balls. I know its a pipe dream but we should bring in an effective goal scorer and let Theo rotate with him. Theo can play as much or as little as his form allows. Theo is still young and inconsistent, hopefully we will be able to grow into the role and become the player he needs to be.

  316. PG@ 11.33
    Yes but I am only talking about this year(this team in other words) and league goals scored.As that is my one and only criticism.
    Is it beyond you to understand my posts?

    I thought I hadn’t been that vague much earlier in the day when I’d agreed that it would definitely be nice to see more goals from Theo. Then looking at other players in a a similar role and simply reflecting that he’s doing ok overall. The post on ‘pass, turn, shoot’ was meant as a commentary to the video of the CC goal. Not referenced so not clear, sorry.

    You remember some comments I made earlier in the season on rotation? That Arshavin will play more later on, the old classic ‘run of games’? What about the other players who’ve spent more time on the bench so far? I don’t really know how players get into a rhythm in high level football but I was thinking of players being given time to play into form around other players’ dips in form and injuries. Frimpong’s must have gone because there’s the potential for playing. A few times in succession, not just every once in a while. RVP was crap in his first few games back before Xmas last season!

    I might be an alleged combatent combatent, but I don’t care where Theo plays. After the injury gods chose to smite four full backs for fun I gave up wondering who will play when and where and am relieved to see them running and playing.

  317. Combatent x2! Wow, that was a bad one.

  318. Darren @DarrenArsenal1 (on twitter)

    “Landon Donovan signed in 24 hrs, TH14 10 days and still not signed ………hmmmm”

    Typical Arsenal

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