The 2011/2012 season isn’t over yet with a month to go – but it is for Theo Walcott who was announced injured for the rest of the domestic season after picking up a hamstring injury in the league encounter at home against Chelsea. Luckily enough, he will still be fit for England’s EURO 2012 campaign after a great season with Arsenal where he is all but certain to finally be chosen for England in a major tournament where he’ll hopefully play. Let’s take a look at his 2011/2012 season and the forward strides he has made:
After developing at the club from a very tender age, Theo Walcott in the 2010/2011 season scored double figure goals for the first time in his career and this season he’s done the same and Arsene Wenger isn’t surprised – he’s expectant of such a tally from the winger every season now.
So let’s look at Theo’s return compared to last season:
Games played – 25 starts, 13 sub appearances
Goals – 13
Assists – 9
Games played – 41 starts, 4 sub appearances
Goals – 11
Assists – 13
Theo Walcott has contributed to more goals this season than he has ever done in any other season – with a direct contribution of 24 goals this season. A big factor has been the improvement in not only his finishing but his composure and first touch. A perfect example would be his goal against Aston Villa – the Theo Walcott of old would have probably not been able to trap it or would have sent the ball way over the bar but the current Theo did the opposite, trapping the ball down and scoring from a good finish.
A major talking point this season has been Theo Walcott’s improved understanding with club captain, Robin van Persie. The Dutchman has been scoring goals for fun this season (35 to be exact) and Theo Walcott has played a major part in that with the duo having combined for nine goals this season – three more than any other partnership. Just how important has Theo Walcott been? Let Robin van Persie tell you himself:
One downside to Theo Walcott in his Arsenal career has been his consistency – it’s barely consistent. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from him many times but not on a regular basis. This season, it’s fair to say we’ve seen a huge improvement from him in that regard.
In my opinion, the winger has been consistent throughout the full season barring the period from January to February when the team had no established fullback. Theo Walcott has done considerably better when he has an established fullback overlapping him and making runs but from that period, he had the unestablished center back, Johan Djourou playing behind him. Once Bacary Sagna returned from injury, we saw the best of Theo Walcott especially against North London rivals, Tottenham where he bagged 2 goals.
Is Theo Walcott the best English winger as Kieran Gibbs points out? It’s debatable but statistics support him in this argument as he is the English winger with the most direct contributions to goals than any other winger in England this season (at the time of writing.)
Daniel Sturridge – 13 goals, 7 assists – total contribution: 20 goals – contribution per game: 0.54
Theo Walcott – 11 goals, 13 assists – total contribution: 24 goals – contribution per game: 0.53
Ashley Young – 7 goals, 8 assists – total contribution: 15 goals – contribution per game: 0.50
Adam Johnson – 7 goals, 5 assists – total contribution: 12 goals – contribution per game: 0.32
Aaron Lennon – 4 goals, 5 assists – total contribution: 9 goals – contribution per game: 0.31
Stewart Downing – 2 goals, 1 assist – total contribution: 3 goals – contribution per game: 0.08
As for the contributions per game (total contributions/total appearances), Theo Walcott is only 2nd in England to Daniel Sturridge and by such a slight margin which isn’t anything to fret about.
It’s fair to say that Theo Walcott has improved immensely this season and has become an integral part of the Arsenal team. As his contract ends in 2014 and various reports are coming in that the winger is demanding £80,000 per week, with his performances this season along with the fact that he’s more or less been a starter for England ever since his 2010 World Cup snub, Arsene Wenger should reward the winger with a new contract and pay rise as he’s completely earned it. Walcott has made forward strides this year and should be on the plane to Poland and Ukraine this summer for EURO 2012 as England look to win it for the first time.