by David Sweeney
Theo Walcott is shit, there I said it. Once dubbed as the next big hope for the English national side, taken to the World Cup as a 17 year old ‘wonder’ kid Theo appeared to have the footballing world at his lightening quick feet. However he has spectacularly failed to fulfil his early potential and has developed into THE most frustrating player to watch in world football. Before this weekend the former Southampton man had made 103 crosses from open play and found a team-mate with just 14 this season, an absolutely shocking statistic for a winger, which to me highlights his lack of a footballing brain and the puzzling technique which he has adopted which has supposedly been honed by Arsene Wenger. He just isn’t very good at delivering the ball into the box when there is a player in front of him. He can cut it back from the byline averagely but his crossing from wide is terrible and this combined with his poor ball control acts as a constant end to most promising Arsenal attacks.
I view Walcott as a ‘safe’ player who fails to take risks in terms of attacking his fullback which makes him look okay and so he fails to get the criticism he deserves. However in reality it hinders him as he fails to make any real impact on a match. During Saturday’s defeat to Sunderland it took me a good 30 minutes to realise little Theo was even on the pitch, his display was that bad.
It wasn’t just Saturday’s performance that was poor; he has been terribly disappointing all season. He needs to grow a pair of balls and become the player Arsenal is crying out for, the player Wenger believed he had bought!
Originally purchased as the long term successor to Thierry Henry, Walcott comes a very sorry second to Thierry’s greatness and the past masters return to the club in January emphasises the lack of impact the ‘prodigy’ has made in the time elapsed since his departure.
Many Walcott supporters surely thought his hat-trick for England in Zagreb would be the springboard off which his career would flourish, however quite frankly it hasn’t. The speedster has, if anything, gone backwards.
Maybe I am being overly critical but for me in the last few seasons Walcott has been a complete waste of space for AFC. His lack of passion and fight perhaps is a reflection on his middle class upbringing; he expects it to be delivered inch perfectly to his feet and he rarely tackles or tracks back for the team. If Arsenal are to somehow turn their season around he needs to be dropped for Gervinho or Oxlade-Chamberlain, who looks every inch the player Theo should be. As for this summer’s Euros in my view he has about as much chance of making the final cut as Emile Heskey. Then again if the tactical genius that is second favourite for the job, Stuart Pearce lands the post, anything is possible.
1,298 minutes, 20 games, no goals, only one striker could hold such a record and his name is Fernando Torres! I know I have previously slated him to death but it’s amazing that his barren run dates back to last October and on Saturday the situation hit a new low as he was embarrassingly hauled off at half time having managed to touch the ball 15 times at Stamford Bridge against CHAMPIONSHIP side Birmingham, the same number of times as the largely untroubled Petr Cech.
Torres’s woeful form means he has a worse goals to game ratio than Abramovic’s other expensive flop Andriy Shevchenko whose record many deemed impossible to beat.
Villas-Boas refused to criticise the striker after the match, stating: ‘I’m not concerned. When he scores the goals, he’ll be a different player for sure,’ A bold statement but I genuinely don’t think he will, I am even deliberating whether he will in fact EVER score again. Come on Chelsea fans, he is the biggest pound for pound flop in the history of football and it’s about time everybody stopped harping on about the very slim chance that he MAY rediscover his previous form. His big chance to shine was when Drogba went to the African Cup of Nation however he failed to score once and barely mustered a shot on target during the whole month. It’s so strange to see a player of such quality, world class quality mutate into a player that would struggle to get into the Stockport County starting eleven.
I can’t see any way back for Torres now and it’s such a shame.
When you look back at his time with Liverpool he was arguably the complete striker. He scored scruffy goals, delicate goals, headed goals, skillful goals and regularly created his own chances. Yes he had an almost telepathic relationship on the pitch with Gerrard and Stevie G often did provide him with pinpoint ammunition but I distinctly remember quite a few occasions where he single-handedly using his raw pace to beat players in one-on-one situations before slotting the ball home; this weekend he couldn’t even beat Curtis Davies in a one-on-one footrace, never mind with the ball at his feet.
I can’t see any way back for Torres now and it’s such a shame but surely the best move for every concerned party would be for him to return to Spain with his tail between his legs, a sad shadow of his former self.
What on earth was he playing at? In front of the Kop 4-1 down and under no pressure Brighton defender Lewis Dunk somehow managed to ‘control’ the ball into his own net. This blunder summed up the Seagull’s inability to guard their own goal from Liverpool’s waves of attacks. The defensive performance could warrant its own football nightmare DVD. Three own goals and a penalty conceded
Still anybody that took heed of Ray Winstone’s gruff half time tone stating that 5-1 was 9/1 at Bet 365 would be laughing all the way to the bank. It would seem the Brighton boys whacked their week’s wage on it as that score-line looked likely until the Reds ultimately extended the lead to six in the 85th minute. I have never seen more calamitous defending by one team in one game. Absolutely shocking! Surely Gus Poyet has his work cut out if he really thinks this bunch of players can make the play offs. They were that bad that even Stewart Downing managed his assist and with it equalled Raul Meireles’s assist tally for the Reds this campaign with 1. The only minor difference being Meireles only played 36 minutes for Liverpool compared to Downing’s 24 full appearances.
Finally it emerged on Saturday that a pound coin was thrown onto the pitch at Ibrox. Police are trying to determine whether it was a missile or a takeover bid. Buddum Tsch.