Theo Walcott – An Inconsistent Cup Player?

By Gunner Blogger 97 (@gunnerblogger97)

Much has been expected of Theo Walcott since he burst onto the scene since signing for Arsenal for £12 million and being a shock inclusion in England’s ‘Golden-Era’ World Cup Squad for their ill-fated tournament in Germany in 2006. However, Arsenal fans have often been frustrated by the winger/wannabe striker’s inconsistency, a trait of his that has already been seen in the early stages of this season, with an excellent performance against Fulham at Craven Cottage and a near anonymous at times performance against Aston Villa in the opening game.

Walcott has been something of an enigma to Arsenal fans, sometimes poor…

His continued agitation for a consistent role up front has often been ridiculed by Arsenal fans claiming that he’ll struggle against more physical defenders like Kompany and Vidic, and against sides who play a deeper defensive line, leaving him less room to run into behind the last man. In fact, several Arsenal fans I have spoken to feel that he would have much more of an impact in cup games, where sides are less inclined to play for a draw, for fear of a replay. He has often excelled against bottom half/lower league sides that play a high line, with little pressure on the ball and slow centre backs, most notably his first goals against Reading in the Capital One Cup and Newcastle in the Premier League last season.

Other times, sensational.

With this in mind, I set about doing some research to see if this ‘myth’ about Walcott’s inability to produce his best against bigger clubs was true and if he really was a better cup player than league player. For the purposes of these stats, assists are excluded.

Walcott’s Overall Stats:
Games: 268
Goals: 63
Games per goal: 4.3
Points earned: 34
Points earned per goal: 0.54
Looking at these stats, it’s evident that his goal scoring is an area that he needs to improve on, although his 21 goals in 43 games last season is encouraging. In terms of how he earned points, I simply took his goal away from the full-time result and calculated if his goal actually earned Arsenal any points (in the interest of fairness, the same was done for cup competitions).

His league stats are more disappointing:
Games: 184
Goals: 40
Games per Goal: 4.6
Points Earned: 16
Points Earned per Goal: 0.40

For a player who is an England first team regular and wants to claim a first team berth up front, taking 4.6 games per goal is not a flattering statistic, even for a winger. His individual contribution in terms of the team’s results is also disappointing, earning 16 points in 7 seasons and only gaining 0.4 points per goal.
When we analyse his goal scoring record against clubs who finished 10th or higher in the league the season he scored against them, his % of league goals against them is actually quite impressive, 40%. However, he has earned more than double the points against sides who finished in the bottom half (11 to 5) than against top 10 teams, and has only earned 1 point for Arsenal against sides who finished in the top 4 (Manchester Untied at home last year)

However, his cup record is much more impressive:
Games: 84
Goals: 23
Games per Goal: 3.66
Points Earned: 18
Points per Goal: 0.78
In less than half of his league games, Walcott has earned more points than he has in the league, scoring at an impressive 3.66 games per goal, almost earning Arsenal a point per goal. As a winger, his games per goal is not far off Robert Pires 3.38.


A factor in his excelling in the cup include teams’ willingness to push for the win, whereas in the league, many sides will often shut up shop. Of Theo’s 23 cup goals, 11 of them came in the last ½ hour of the game, when the opposition is looking for an equaliser/winner.
Walcott’s late goals have proved invaluable during cup runs.

But the signs from last season, and positive performances against Fulham and Fenerbache indicate that Walcott is ready to kick on and challenge Giroud for the striker’s spot.

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