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    Is Theo Walcott criminally UNDER or OVERRATED?

    Theo Walcott
    With Sunday’s game marking 10 years since Theo Walcott, (pictured above), stepped on to the right wing and into Arsenal’s fast lane, we assess whether the Arsenal and England Forward really gets the credit he deserves.

    Does the Arsenal marksman have the consistency to warrant a place in their front line? Is he a big game player? How clinical is his finishing? Having been thrown into the limelight at 16, these are just some of the questions asked of the Arsenal no.14 over the years.

    It is rare to see Theo Walcott string together a solid run of games, let alone a full season, without being struck down by injury.  For this reason, Walcott’s stats do not always tell the full story, with the England international often still feeling his way back into the team, and often barely back up to full speed before being hampered yet again by another injury. In total, Walcott has spent 40% of his Arsenal Career in the treatment room, in terms of games missed.

    In his 10 seasons at Arsenal, Walcott has accumulated 327 appearances, notching up 81 goals and 78 assists. The majority of his 53 goals and 41 assists in the league coming from his 211 starts, which sees him ranked joint second, behind Robin Van Persie, as Arsenal’s top Premier League scorer in the last 10 years. When having started the game, Walcott scores on average 1 in every 2.6 games, a very respectable stat, when earned from mainly the right wing position.

    Walcott’s performances in recent weeks have left much to be desired. However, it is worth noting that earlier on in the season, his rich vein of form with 4 goals and 3 assists in all competitions, kept Olivier Giroud out of the starting eleven, before he eventually succumbed to injury in the League Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at the end of October.

    Although Walcott’s inconsistency is clear for everyone to see, his records speak for themselves in terms of answering his critics on whether he is a big game player. Walcott has scored and assisted in wins in 2010 (3-1 at home) and 2011 (5-3 away) against Chelsea, totalling four goals.  Arch-rivals Tottenham have been on the receiving end of a goal 5 times, courtesy of Theo. Keen not to leave the North-West clubs out of the party, Walcott has recently assisted 3 goals against rivals Manchester United, in the last 2 seasons, and a goal each against Liverpool and Manchester City, not to mention his contribution for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal in the community shield, in August 2015, and rifling home the opener in last season’s FA cup final.
    Despite his undoubted potential and obvious ability, Walcott's flaws are not just limited to his inconsistency, with former teammate, Thierry Henry, criticising him for being "too nice" and "not angry enough", when commenting on Theo's mentality on the pitch.

    If Walcott is able to put his injury concerns behind him for good and really let his shackles off, the 26 year old Englishman could put the doubters to bed and cement his status as one of the Premier League's most lethal forwards.

    By André René-Gordon
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    Item Reviewed: Is Theo Walcott criminally UNDER or OVERRATED? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Andre Rene-Gordon
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