Working on a Theo post

Walcott is such a weird player. Not played as a forward for most of his Arsenal career and yet I’m struggling to find a wide player who has scored as many goals as he has.

Any suggestions of modern players who are at all similar to Walcott?



  1. Off the top of my head I would say Griezmann and Aubameyang of two years back. By Griezmann I am talking when he used to play wide at Sociedad. He had always struck me as an improved Walcott who could slightly dribble and cross better. It’s renarkable how fast he has improved.
    Also had the same thoughts about Auba before he begun leading the line.
    Is Poldi still considered modern?

  2. Agree with Robben, he was my first thought.

    Other players who I believe start wide but can also drift in are Griezman, Ribery, Reus, Gotze
    (I know this is potentially top draw comparisons.

    Internally for Arsenal, could also consider Pires, Lungburg etc if data on them is available.

  3. Off the top of my head I would say Griezmann and Aubameyang of two years back. By Griezmann I am talking when he used to play wide at Sociedad. He had always struck me as an improved Walcott who could slightly dribble and cross better. It’s renarkable how fast he has improved.
    Also had the same thoughts about Auba before he begun leading the line.
    Is Poldi still considered modern?

    P.S Are high scoring wide playmakers like Robben and Hazard included or do you want wide players who are more or less forwards?

  4. you have to consider he’s scored quite a few goals as a central striker.

    if you’re looking for a wide man that scores a lot of goals, there’s this kid that plays for barcelona named messi that’s not at all bad. real madrid has a few guys like that, too. fc bayern has a kid named muller who used to be pretty prolific. willian, mane, insigne, reus. there are a few

  5. you have to be careful with griezmann. he’s played mostly as a 2nd striker in a 2-striker setup. people were clammoring for him to come to arsenal in the summer and lead the line in place of giroud. i’ve never seen him lead the front line so the idea that he could do it in the premier league was strange to me. he would have cost an awful lot of money and that strategy probably wouldn’t have worked out.

    1. Just looking at Atletico data:

      27/74 goals have been game winners for Atletico, 36%
      17 braces, 1 hat trick = 37/74 goals are multiples, 50% (like Aguero)
      he has 27 game winners in 142 games, he wins 19% of the games he plays in
      he has played 15,028 minutes – a goal every 203 minutes
      he has scored in 55 of 174 games – 32%, right in the average for forwards

      I would take Griezmann at Arsenal in a heartbeat. You find a way to play that guy and he would play amazing next to Alexis. But he’s not interested in Arsenal so it’s a moot point.

      Personally, I would spend the same to get Lukaku. With Lukaku Arsenal would win the League.

      1. You don’t actually believe Arsenal are a single player away from winning the league irrespective of who that might be, do you.
        Doesn’t that stand in direct contradiction with “Wenger is so past it” statement you have made before?

        1. Nah, I was being hyperbolic and assuming that Arsenal would pick up Lukaku, a CM, a backup RB, and get… Szczesny back.

          Also, I don’t think the manager has a huge influence in games so I’m a “it doesn’t matter which manager we have” guy. The manager’s influence is in attracting players and setting up a system. I don’t think Wenger is an attractive manager for most young players and Lukaku probably wouldn’t sign with Arsenal even if we offered Everton £80m or whatever it would take to get him.

          All this is irrelevant as Wenger is signing a new deal, Arsenal are going to lose Alexis, Lukaku would never play for Wenger, and we probably won’t sign another top forward, and Ramsey will probably be slotted at CM with Xhaka.

          So, another 4 years of top four finishes, ignominious defeats in the Champions League, and perhaps an FA Cup run or two. Which a lot of people seem to be pleased with.

          1. This illustrates perfectly as to what happens to otherwise sane and levelheaded people when they realise Wenger might sign on for 4 more years 🙂

        2. Also, Wenger’s no longer able to teach players how to pass. Ox, Coq, Ramsey, Wilshere, all young players who came up through the Arsenal system and who have had a ton of time with Wenger. None of them are very good at passing the ball and Arsenal really struggle in possession these days.

          I find that… odd.

          1. I think that’s not down to their passing ability but the way the team sets up. We leave our deep lying players isolated by imposing too much verticality and it asks so much of them to beat 3-4 players with a pass or a dribble. It happens time and time again so Wenger must be of the opinion that the value is worth the risk; but for me this is one of the cardinal weaknesses that he has to iron out. The midfield must play closer together more often.

          2. Agree with Doc, though I think it’s at least partly about the personnel. I think the jury is still out on the Ox, though the biggest problem with the idea of him playing in the center is that he’s a “head down” player, and that clearly effects how good you are at passing (nothing wrong with his feet in that regard, as he’s shown when given lots of time on the ball). I’ve always thought Wilshere was a very good passer, but no doubt you’ll whip out loads of stats to show how much he loses the ball with bad passes.

          3. Wilshere is a very good technician. There’s nothing wrong with his offensive talents. He doesn’t perform on the other side of the ball though which is unforgivable but even offensively he has issues with picking his moments on when to charge forward and when to use the simple pass and control the tempo.

            I really want to talk about Oxlade-Chamberlain though. Forgive me for using video once again, but his sample size playing through the middle is simply too small for any kind of analysis besides chalkboards. Hopefully though it’ll be self evident that he can be more than just a head down dribbler, that he’s able to vary his passes and his unique physical gifts are arguably best used in the center. Granted, it was only Hull City but 1) his chalkboard vs. Chelsea was just as impressive and 2) I can’t see anyone else in the team bringing what he can to the position.


          4. I disagree that it’s about verticality. The times I most notice our inability to pass is when we are pressed. The team lacks unity, movements are often off or don’t happen, and the ball is turned over.

          5. Yes, we are vulnerable to a press because we leave our defensive players isolated, because the attackers are too far upfield and thus too easily cut off from the ball. In general our spacing leaves a lot to be desired as well. These are aspects of modern football where I do think Wenger is behind the times. I thought Tom Paine did a good job illustrating that here:


            Though I don’t agree with everything he says..

          6. Doc,
            I agree that the Ox has a huge amount of potential to succeed in the middle, and I shouldn’t have suggested he’s just a “head down” dribbler. But my point is that, to the degree that there are still massive question marks about his ability to flourish in the center (and this is a propos of the last post about Santi’s replacement), I disagree with Tim that the issue is his being a bad passer per se. Rather, the issue is whether he can get his head up early and often enough, and show the kind of exceptional awareness of your surroundings that you need in the center (Xavi and Cazorla spring to mind) that you simply don’t need on the wing (in relation to this, I think Tim’s point in the last article about most of his successful recent dribbles have been down the wings, even when he was playing in the center, is very relevant, and a great example of how to use stats well). I think with enough practice he probably can be a terrific player for us in the modern number 8 role (I’d call it “the Dembele role” if he weren’t a Spurs player). But, as you say, the sample size is small. What’s clear is that, to the degree that Tim is right about his poor passing, it’s not because he doesn’t have terrific ability in his feet in that department, as the clips from the recent Hull and Southampton games attest. It’s all about how much time he needs on the ball, and about decision making in the heat of the moment. But he’s played there so rarely, it would be silly to assume he can’t improve massively in those respects over time.

      2. Never been a big fan of Lukaku. Reminds me a bit of Bony: great player for an average team, but struggling in a big club. Lukaku’s performances with the Belgium team are just OK although he has great service from Hazard, De Bruyne, and Mertens.

  6. You’re looking for an inside forward who nominally starts wide, is a low ball utilizer and hangs out on the shoulder of the last defender; also doesn’t dribble much. I agree with the Griezmann/Aubameyang shouts. The other names mentioned seem pretty wide of the mark. He’s always been kind of unique in good and bad ways. Maybe Marc Overmars is another name I’d throw out there; he was on another level from Theo technically but the pure acceleration and the way he’d burst into space to run onto the ball recalls some similarities.

    1. Ohhh.. Overmars!

      95 career goals, 21 game winners, scored in 82/502 games, 36,974 minutes, 10 braces, 1 hat trick = 23/95 goals in multiple.

      Aubameyang at Dortmund, 172 games, 12,892 minutes, 103 goals, 73 games scored, 29 game winners, 18 braces, 3 hat tricks, 1 quad, 49/103 goals in multiples!

      1. My favourite thing about Overmars was his facial expression in the tunnel before those huge title-deciding games against United. Everyone else talking or looking nervous but Marc Overmars would just look straight ahead with that ice-cold look in his eyes. Proper Arsenal Legend.

  7. Where does Lacazette fit in there? I’d still really like to see him come in in the summer (esp, if we lose Alexis)

    lacazette/welbs/ walcot(perez) with ozil setting them up?
    yes please

  8. how does lacazette look in comparison?

    i’d love to see:
    laca/welbz/theo(perez) with ozil feeding them.


  9. How about Ryan Giggs? Slightly different era and played in a dominant team for most of his career but was a premiership wInger with 114 league goals from 672 appearances so some similarities.

  10. Really looking forward to this post and your current thoughts on Theo. You have blogged about him a few times over the years so I ‘m curious as to why again at this moment?

    Theo once wanted to be a striker. I know strikers and Theo is no striker. Look at what at Ibra is doing in the Prem league right now. No comparison is fair to the little Argentine but Leonel Messi now has his 9th season of scoring 20 or more goals in LA Ligua.

    And we have Theo…I don’t dislike him although maybe I should. He is a peach of a guy and all. But such a frustrating player. As said, looking forward to your thoughts.

  11. Besides the number of assists, two things missing in your chart: poor work-rate and great service from his teammates. Walcott scores goals at Arsenal because he gets great service. When the Gunners dominate possession, Walcott has a good chance of scoring, but when they are deprived of the ball, Walcott gives very little, and his poor work-rate becomes very obvious.

    1. I think he’s made improvements in that regard this season. A quick check over on squawka tells me his tackles per 90 have doubled compared to career averages, as has his aerial duels and his fouls committed. These are stats that say a lot about whether a player is “trying” or not. I’ve actually thought his remarkable new found application in that area was a real highlight for this season. It’s not very often players just switch that on in the middle of their career. Let’s see if he can sustain it.

      1. once again, doc, we’ve got to respect the fact that he’s playing out wide and not as a center forward this season. that means all of his stats are going to change by virtue of the duties associated with this position change. while i appreciate stats, as they often provide unique insight, they only tell part of the story.

        1. I fully agree, we do have to respect that. However he hasn’t played that many games as a striker. What I’m describing is unique throughout his career (since 12/13 anyway) and he’s been playing wide right for most of those minutes. The numbers look pretty constant up until 16/17. It’s a clear difference.

        2. just like stat will never tell us how many points alexis has cost us this season with his stray passes, dribbling to no end in as far as his available team mate is not ozil? Why do you guys love double standard?

          1. “The Stats” will tell quite clearly that Alexis has won many more points for us this season than any other Arsenal player. I think Tim wrote a whole blog about how it’s totally pointless to fault him for being dispossessed a lot. It happens to every forward and it’s completely churlish when he’s leading the league in goals scored and is probably the prem’s best player this season.

          2. 1. Stats can’t tell us how many points a player has “won” for a team, because individuals don’t win points. Teams do that.
            2. Just because Tim wrote a whole blog post on it, doesn’t mean his arguments were valid in said post.
            3. Why is it churlish to expect a player with obviously exceptional gifts to not routinely make elementary errors that are clearly preventable even when we factor in the “he’s a forward so his job is to take risks” argument? It’s churlish to focus on it to the exclusion of all the good he does, or to suggest he’s anything less than one of our best and most important players. It’s not churlish to point out legitimate weaknesses in his game and claim he deserves his fair share of criticism for them, along with the rest of the players when we play poorly.

          3. Hmm, it doesn’t sound like you’re interested in being influenced here. This is good to know up front before I put a lot of effort into a reply.

          4. Not at all. But I won’t waste my time if we’re only going to go in circles, like on the last thread.

          5. So every argument in which the other side doesn’t concede that you are right in the end counts as “going in circles”? This is how arguments work: you make a point, I make a counterpoint, etc. Eventually one of us concedes the other person is right, we both concede the truth is somewhere in the middle, or we agree to disagree. I think we agreed to disagree in the last post. You think we were “going in circles”.
            It’s hard to read that description and not think it’s code for a condescending dismissal of my views and the points I make, as if you are essentially saying (and you practically did just above):
            “I have good arguments that will establish my points but I’m not going to waste them on you because, based on what you’ve already written, it’s clear you’re not interested in being persuaded by rational argument,” which is tantamount to saying “your views as expressed and defended here are poorly conceived and/or not rationally held.” That doesn’t sound condescending to you?

          6. I’m sorry if you feel condescended upon. I’m simply stating that there’s no point in us exchanging our opinions if your views are so fixed as to be immovable. And that’s the impression I have based on comments from the last thread as well as this one. At the very least, trying to put in the same effort that I did into proving your points. If you just recycle the same thing you already said that I was responding to that doesn’t help anybody. And yes it makes me feel like I’m talking to a wall. So if that’s how it’s going to be, then I’d rather just not engage.

          7. Alright, so apparently I had a much higher opinion of my points, and my means of defending them, than you do! I didn’t use video evidence or bring up loads of stats, but surely that’s not a prerequisite to making a good point about football (e.g. in the previous post’s comments I claim that your evidence for claiming Ramsey is fast was weak; this wasn’t a point that required me to show a bunch of clips of Ramsey being slow, it just required me to point out the obvious, i.e. that one clip of him running past someone did not constitute strong evidence). And I don’t know where you get the impression that my views are “so fixed as to be immovable”. That’s not engaging with them, showing why they’re wrong. That’s just ad hominem.
            In fact, in the comments to this very article, I evidence an ability to take someone’s point on board and alter my stated position: I retracted my earlier statement that the Ox is just a head down dribbler, in light of your objection to that description.

            Now, in the comment above that had you pronounce I’m not “interested in being influenced,” I made three points in defense of another commenter you had criticized, points to which you did not respond. Let me elaborate on them:

            1. I don’t think it’s legitimate to suggest (as you did) in defense of Alexis, that the stats “tell” us he won us points. It’s impossible to single out the contributions of any one individual as the decisive reason that points were won or lost, because we have at best a very hazy idea of what would have happened if player X hadn’t done action Y (this is a quite general point about the metaphysics and epistemology of counterfactual reasoning, not about football per se). And furthermore there are any number of other actions performed by other players that also, presumably, may well have been crucial in the eventual result (e.g. for every Alexis goal there’s a goal-saving Koscielny tackle). In any event, what I object to is what I see as a double standard implicit in your remark: when we win and Alexis contributes to this with a goal/assist, he’s “won” us the points; when we lose, it’s apparently only everyone else’s fault, as we’re for some reason not allowed to point out legitimate weaknesses in his game and suggest they might just be contributing factors to a poor performance, because that would be “churlish”. This is not to deny that his play has been critical in many of our positive results this year; I’m making the simple point that the stats don’t “tell” us the extent of that contribution in absolute terms (and it is, indeed, not even clear what it would mean to claim that one person’s play in an 11-person game was *THE* reason why a particular result came about).

            2. I pointed out that just because Tim had spent an entire post arguing that it’s wrong to fault a forward for losing the ball a lot, that in itself is not a reason to think he’s offered sound arguments to that conclusion. Of course, you can complain that I haven’t offered any reasons for thinking Tim and you are wrong on this point, which is true. But then you don’t really go into any details about it either, you just point out Tim’s article as if that should stop all argument. I was objecting to that kind of appeal to authority.

            3. The one specific defense you do bring up is that being dispossessed a lot “happens to every forward” (now surely this is hyperbole: you mean to tell me there’s not ONE above-average forward in world football with excellent ball retention stats?). In response, I said I think even when you factor this in, there are plenty of times where us fans can see with our own eyes that Alexis has used the ball poorly in a situation that can’t really be excused with the “he’s a forward so he has to take risks” point. He holds onto it way too long, or tries something super ambitious when better options are obviously available and would be fairly easy to choose. There’s a balance to be struck between risk-taking and simple efficiency. My eyes suggest to me that a fair amount of the time Alexis doesn’t get this balance just right. Now, you might disagree with this claim. I obviously can’t show you all the instances in which he’s made these mistakes over the last few seasons (and even if I were to link to one or two examples, that wouldn’t establish that this is the pattern I think it is). But as a fan I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe there are some aspects of the team’s play that I and others have seen with our eyes that aren’t well captured by the stats (the difference in Alexis’s play between mistakes-due-to-admirable-high-risk-style and mistakes-that-really should-be-cut-out being a good example). So, I challenged your claims with a perfectly clear and cogent question: why shouldn’t we expect a player of Alexis’s quality to do better with the ball when many of these mistakes seem so blatant and not especially difficult to avoid? If that’s what we see (and you are free to object that that’s not what you see) then why is it unfairly churlish to suggest that this weakness in his game contributes to our negative performances and he should really do better? Why should his goals/assists always give him a free ride?

            Ok, so there are the points again, laid out in much more detail. Honestly, at this point I’m bored of the original discussion, so I wouldn’t be offended if you don’t respond to them. And you’re perfectly free to think they’re all stupid. This is a football blog, not a discussion that really matters in the bigger scheme of things, so I don’t really care what strangers in a discussion thread think of me.
            But I don’t see how you can accuse me of dogmatically sticking to my views with no rational argument in my defense, or that (condescension alert!) I haven’t “tried to put the effort in” to defending my points.

          8. PS Bringing up the same point multiple times, because one’s interlocutor has either failed to respond to it entirely or because one feels he hasn’t responded to it sufficiently (provided one also tries to explain why the response is insufficient) is not the same thing as “just recycling the same thing you already said”.

  12. The Doc beat me to it, my first thought was Overmars too.
    The acceleration on that guy, a sight to behold.

  13. “I’m struggling to find a wide player who has scored as many goals as he has. Any suggestions of modern players who are at all similar to Walcott?”
    Official Premier League stats for this season: Walcott (8 goals, 2 assists), M. Antonio (8 g, 3 a), Hazard (10g, 4a), Mane (11g, 4a), Pedro (7 goals, 6a), Sterling (6g, 6a), Coutinho (6g, 5a). Could be added to that mix, players like De Bruyne and Lallana who have played in midfield and on the wings: De Bruyne (4g, 9a), Lallana (7g, 7a). In the French league, according to the L1 official stats for this season: Lucas Moura (9g, 3a), Lemar (7g, 6a), Thauvin (7g, 4a). In Serie A, stats from Transfermarkt since the assists table from Serie A is unreadable: Callejon (8g, 10 a), Insigne (8g, 6a), Candreva (4g, 6a), Salah (9g, 7a), Suso (6g, 7a), Gomez (9g, 7a), Falque (10g, 6a). Just in the PL and Serie A, there are quite a few players with better stats than Walcott, and I’m sure a better work-rate.

    1. I applaud the initiative to bring data to the table but I think Tim is looking for a deeper comparison than just goals/assists. I also don’t think the point of the chart above is to try to elevate him to some sort of elite player; the point is to say, geez, he’s scored a lot of goals for a guy who mostly starts wide and he’s done it throughout his career, and he does it without looking like he does much else on the pitch for most of his career. We’re looking for a Walcott simulacrum, not a list of players with more goals from midfield.

      1. “We’re looking for a Walcott simulacrum, not a list of players with more goals from midfield.”
        All the players I mentioned are wide players, except De Bruyne and Lallana who mostly play in midfield this season and just spent a few games on the wings.

    2. just like stat will never tell us how many points alexis has cost us this season with his stray passes, dribbling to no end in as far as his available team mate is not ozil? Why do you guys love double standard? And for your information, Walcott has scored 15 goals, 3 assist. Second highest scorer with limited time on the pitch in arsenal. Just say you hate him for no reason.

      1. “Why do you guys love double standard?”
        On the contrary, I think the debate is more fair if we include assists, while Tim only considered goals initially.
        “And for your information, Walcott has scored 15 goals, 3 assist.”
        For a fair comparison, I only mentioned the PL stats because Chelsea and Liverpool players didn’t play in the Champions League and therefore had fewer opportunities to score or assist.
        “Second highest scorer with limited time on the pitch in arsenal. Just say you hate him for no reason.”
        I think Walcott is great against average and weak teams, or when Arsenal dominate the game, but becomes useless when the team has to fight for the ball or is outplayed. You think his poor work-rate is just a detail, but it’s one major reason why the Gunners are not contending in the Premier League. Pundits and former players say this team lacks character, leadership, and physicality, and it’s exactly what’s wrong with Walcott, Ozil and other players.

        1. Actually, Walcott tends to score more against big teams than little teams. He’s scored 11 goals against Chelsea and Spurs. He also has a propensity to score the first goal in a contest, having scored 24 times to make it one-nil. But Arsenal only went on to win those contests 14 times. The problem here is that the whole team, Arsenal as a team, are unable to protect leads.

          Also, he is tackling at a career high rate this season.

          1. “Actually, Walcott tends to score more against big teams than little teams. He’s scored 11 goals against Chelsea and Spurs. He also has a propensity to score the first goal in a contest, having scored 24 times to make it one-nil. But Arsenal only went on to win those contests 14 times. The problem here is that the whole team, Arsenal as a team, are unable to protect leads.”
            Let’s look at his PL stats for this season. He has scored 8 goals so far. 5 of them were against Hull, Swansea, Bournemouth (weak sides) and Stoke (average team according to the standings). And 3 were against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. Against Chelsea, Walcott scored the second goal in the 3-0 win. Arsenal completely dominated that game since Conte had not yet switched to his back three at that time. To your credit, I acknowledge that Walcott scored the opener vs. ‘Pool and City (two big teams), but those goals became irrelevant since Arsenal went on to lose those games as you hinted. Walcott can have this tendency to score and then disappear from the game. Also, he has scored fewer game winners than Giroud.
            “Also, he is tackling at a career high rate this season.”
            I acknowledge that Walcott has better tacking stats than in the previous seasons. Competition from Perez is definitely pushing him. But there’s still a problem with his attitude. Take for instance Chelsea’s opening goal in the 3-1 loss. Walcott makes no effort to track back and then shies away from an aerial duel with Alonso. It doesn’t look as bad as when he jumped out of a tackle vs. Sunderland last season, but it still speaks volumes about his mentality.

      1. I don’t think it’s a straw man at all. I think someone is finally calling out the punditocracy for being the charlatans they are for falling back on one explanation for every result. This isn’t being addressed to you or me, mind, but to the Alan Shearers of the world.

        1. I think it’s valid to say “look at the team, they aren’t closing down spaces, they aren’t fighting to win the ball back, they look lethargic.” I’ve been doing this now for 8 years, the cycle of criticism is always the same. Someone makes a valid observation, people set up a straw man to beat as a counter argument to that observation, people take the straw man argument as a good riposte. That’s what you’ve done here.

  14. John Barnes comes to mind. Of course, not a current example ifmthat is what you are looking for.

  15. theo should be applauded for holding his hand up and admitting that he’s not a center forward. i’ve said that for years as it’s plain to see he lacks that requisite tactical skill or knowledge to play the position. what’s more sad and damning is that if theo wasn’t determined to be moved back out wide, wenger would still be actively trying to shoehorn him in as a center forward.

    going back two threads, where tim revisited his predictions, i didn’t participate in that discussion but the player i feel would have made the most significant contribution to arsenal is lukaku. my opposition to arsenal signing this kid was that he might have been over-priced. however, i’m coming around. whenever i watch everton play, they score very simple but great team goals and he’s the catalyst. i think, at worst, he would be as good as adebayor was. ade wasn’t bad; he’s certainly better than any of the current forwards on the arsenal roster. i believe that lukaku would be better. assuming a top 4 finish, arsenal should actively pursue this player during the summer. the allure of champions league football would prove attractive, as i don’t think any other champions league teams would be interested in acquiring him. certainly, his national team coaching staff would support this move. we’ll see.

  16. a few years back, we had a discussion about why there were so few good center forwards in football. i introduced the idea that most strikers developed as youngsters playing in a two-striker set up and are used to having a strike partner. that idea was rejected by most here but i still believe it’s legitimate.

    at the turn of the century, 4-4-2 was the rave. essentially everyone played this formation. the kids that are professionals now, developed under a similar attacking system. if arsenal played in that system, i think theo walcott would have thrived. if you look at the teams that play with two up front with good success, many of them get mentioned as giroud replacements. but you have to ask if they are capable of playing up front on their own. atletico madrid, juventus, leicester city, just to name a few, have multiple strikers with a good goal record but how many of those player can lead the line? fernando torres, mandzukic, higuain; that’s all i’ve got. vardy? nope. griezmann? dybala? negative.

    theo is one of many strikers who’s been caught up in this revolutionary change to modern football. unfortunately, i don’t feel he’s received direction from his management team to see him find maximum success.

  17. El Shaarawy? He was hyped at the begining of his career, plays on the wing (although the left) , tried to make the transition to CF, is injury prone, he can score but not too much and pace is his main asset. Oh, and forget about him tracking back.

  18. Sorry, but Walcott is shite. When he leaped out of a collision with Kaboul last season that was the final nail in the coffin for me. Yes he had a good stretch at the beginning of the season, but inevitably he’s fallen off. Was responsible for letting Alonso loose to score against us v. Chelsea. I strongly dislike Walcott and why he gets played ahead of Lucas who seems to be a consistent force (and a fighter) is a mystery and yet more proof to me that Wenger is too loyal to some players (Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere) which breeds unaccountability which in turn breeds a lack of leadership which in turn breeds an inability to win big games.

    Walcott out. Ramsey out. Wilshere out. Wenger out.

  19. Michael Owen would have had a Theo-like career if he’d played in this day and age, after the death of the 4-4-2 and the “little and large” classic English strike partnerships. I think Owen was considerably better than Theo (as sad as it makes me to admit it, since he’s a loathsome individual) but I don’t think he had the skill to be an Alexis-style lone centre forward, at least not after, say, 23 (his career really did peak remarkably early). So as a fellow small, nippy, pacy goal poacher, I think he would have wound up on the wing like Theo, with little expectation to get involved in the buildup but instead allowed to focus on runs in behind and getting into goalscoring positions in the box.

  20. Please, not Lukaku. No matter what the stats say. Ive not seen a more frustrating player. He seems to miss an awful lot of easy goals, and then goes on to score a ridiculously difficult one. I’m no scout but I’ve watched him lot, and he would frustrate the hell out of our fickle fans.

    The central solution is simple. We need to pay big for a marquee striker. I advocated going for Ibrahimovic from PSG two years ago. Now the’s got, what…? 25 goals for United? A 30 goal a season striker would be the perfect accompaniment to Theo on the right, Alexis on the left, and Ozil pulling the strings. Someone who is a classic CF but can also play, like Ibra or Costa.

    Theo’s record, for someone often injured and who had less than a season as the line-leading striker, is pretty good. Fans tend to go down rabbit holes such as defence, but he’s bloody good at his main job, and technically, one of our more clinical finishers (though prone to missing lot too on his bad day). You’re not going to buy that for anything less than £40m. He’s better than Lingard, Martial, Rashford, Sturridge, to name a few.

  21. Also with Lukaku, we shouldn’t be buying more strikers before we offload some. He’s too much like Welbeck already, only better, but slightly short of the class we need. I’d sell two of our strikers (Giroud and Welbeck would be favourites) and break the bank for a Lewandowski. Something about Lucas I like. I think he could be our Eduardo.

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