After weeks of waiting, Theo Walcott finally managed to score goal number 100 for Arsenal. Admittedly the goal was only against Sutton United, but you can only score against what’s put in front of you.
— Arsenal (@AFCvideosHD) February 20, 2017
Theo is now Arsenal’s longest-serving player. The question is after netting his 100th goal, can he now be considered a Gunners legend?
Of course, 100 goals in 370 appearances is pretty impressive for a club of Arsenal’s stature. But can any Arsenal supporter really put him in the same bracket as say Thierry Henry or Dennis Bergkamp?
Walcott signed for Arsenal back in 2006 from Southampton, with Arsenal paying £5million plus add-ons for his services. He had already played a handful of games for Southampton and all the talk was of the potential of this young player with lightning pace.
January 20, 2006: A 16-year old Theo Walcott signs for Arsenal for £5 million. Has he achieved his full potential yet? pic.twitter.com/3BP37R3VYq
— Football History (@footballscrolls) January 20, 2017
But speed alone wasn’t going to catapult Theo to the top level, and sadly for England and Arsenal the hype now seems to be unjustified.
Walcott has produced in stages but apart from one season, the forward has never really shone and has always been a player that frustrates the supporters rather than impress.
The injuries are an obvious go-to point, and a valid one, with Walcott extremely unlucky in that department. Unfortunately the injuries always seem to occur just when the former Saints winger is gaining some sort of form and consistency.
Theo Walcott is a player who thrives on confidence but when this confidence is low he will rush his shot or cross or fail to beat his man. But every time he gets a run of games, injuries kick in and he is out for another number of weeks.
In Walcott’s 11 years at the club you can only point to one season where he really stood out. This was the 2012/13 season in which he scored 21 goals in all competitions. That year he was mainly played as a striker. The position that Walcott would prefer to play.
That season, Walcott made runs beyond the defence time and time again, his pace was used to great effect and his finishing that season was excellent. The English international looked the complete article and was prolific in front of goal. With Walcott playing regularly in his favoured position, his confidence grew.
The 2013/14 season began and after the previous season, the club felt they may of finally have had a replacement for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. However, Walcott was struck down by a stomach injury, meaning he missed two months at the start of the season. He returned from injury and started to get back into form, until he ruptured his cruciate ligament against Tottenham in the FA Cup. The injury putting him out for the rest of the season and the start of the following season.
— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) January 6, 2017
Since Walcott’s return from his cruciate ligament injury, he has struggled to find any consistent form and with Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez now at the club, Walcott’s chances as a striker are sparse.
This current season has been average for Walcott, he currently has 15 goals to date. But apart from the 2012/13 season, where the Englishman bagged over 20 goals in all competitions, we have not seen anything close since. It seem strange after all these years we are still talking about Walcott’s potential, when we should be seeing a player at his best, in his prime years.
Unfortunately for Walcott, he can not be considered as an Arsenal legend, but at 27 years old, time is still on his side. But when you think of such players, such as Henry, Bergkamp, Tony Adams, and Patrick Viera to name a few, you have to question if Walcott would of been on par with some of these greats, even without injuries.
No prizes for guessing that Theo doesn’t make Alexis Sanchez’s all-time XI, but who does make his Arsenal teammate’s line-up?