Should Arsenal Sell Theo Walcott? Vote Now!

In January 2013 when Theo Walcott had 6 months remaining before he was free to speak to other clubs, he signed a new deal worth £100,000 a week, making him the highest paid player at the club.

Previous to the latest deal he was on £55,000 a week, and as well as a hefty paid rise he also received a £3 million bonus for staying “loyal”. Ahem.

You could say he took advantage of Arsenal’s poor situation at the time – we were bedding in new signings such as Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla at a time when we were still affected by the loss of Robin van Persie.

Before January 2013, Arsene had opted to mainly use Theo Walcott as a substitute while the protracted transfer talks stalled. He had been offered £80,000 and £90,000 during negotiations, but declined them both. He was in a very strong position and rightly or wrongly, managed to engineer a deal which was beyond his worth. Arsene wanted him to sign a 5 year deal worth £90,000 a week, while Theo Walcott ended up getting a 3 and a half year deal worth £100,000 a week.

Fast forward 24 months, and the situation has completely changed.

We are at exactly the same position yet again – Arsenal and Theo Walcott are trying to negotiate a new deal but the pacy forward holds a completely different hand these days. Whereas 2 years ago he held a royal flush, now he holds a pair. A pair of 2′s.

He’s been injured for lengthy periods and hasn’t been worth his £100,000 a week by a long shot. Also in that time Olivier Giroud has improved and become Arsenal’s most important attacker. We’ve also brought in Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez, two truly world class forwards. In essence, Walcott’s absence has hardly been noticed.

Arsene Wenger has come out and publicly stated that while Theo is “quick on the pitch, he’s not necessarily quick when it comes to contract negotiations”. And if that wasn’t spiky enough for you, Theo has had to come out and deny a “bust up” with Arsene Wenger.

Clearly the current position is this – Arsene feels Walcott and his representatives held Arsenal over a barrel 2 years ago and would rather offload the striker now rather than increase a wage he feels is already undeserved. Arsene also holds all the aces as in terms of the squad and team he’s on the periphery. The sad fact for Theo is that basically, we don’t actually need him.

The team is on a great run of form and we’ve done it without Walcott. And in that run, one of the games we lost was at Tottenham when arguably, Walcott was culpable for their winning goal when he failed to close down the cross.

Look, I like Theo and on his day he is effective. He can finish when given the chances but his game is limited – in a sense he’s similar to Lukas Podolski. He came from the same academy that created Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gareth Bale, but has stalled whereas the aforementioned players have progressed (in varying degrees). Theo Walcott is only 25 years old but on the graph of progress should be at his peak right now. He can’t help the team defend and the quality of his passing is sporadic.

And I can’t see where he fits in the current team.

The inconsistency in his performances is baffling to me. Putting all the contract issues aside, on his day he is fantastic, no doubt about it. If you look on YouTube at a compilation of his goals and you think this guy is a world class player – poise, pace and deadly finishing. If he managed to perform at his top level week in week out, he’d be on a par with Gareth Bale.

But he isn’t. While Bale’s market value is around £80 million (apparently), you could only see Walcott fetching around £25 million max.

So, the bottom line is would you sell Theo Walcott? Cast your vote below!

Arsenal Too Patient And End Up Paying The Price

They say it’s the hope that kills you, and tonight was exactly that.

Arsenal dominated the game and scored a deserved goal when Olivier Giroud lashed in from close range. But after that, we showed Monaco too much respect and it paid in the end.

The game plan was clear – keep it tight, score a goal in the first half and then build on that in the second. Unfortunately, we didn’t push on as much as we needed to in the second half.

I understand that we needed to keep Monaco at bay but the majority of possession was sterile and sideways – Özil being the most guilty of that. There comes a point in the game where you really kick on and turn up the pressure but we were too patient and turned on the switch too late.

The introduction of Aaron Ramsey gave the team that extra lift and he did well to score his goal – but it was all left a little too late. We always needed to score 3 goals anyway so Arsene Wenger should have thrown caution to the wind earlier on, rather than with 25 minutes remaining.

We had the chances to score and in the end Monaco had the luck. Giroud had a chance which bounced off him and was fortunate to land in the goalkeepers arms, and Danny Welbeck had a shot fortunately blocked by a Monaco defender who was already on the floor.

Theo Walcott hit the post, and Arsenal should have scored but Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez ended up getting in each others way.

The performance was very good, but too patient. With Olivier Giroud on the pitch, and with Mertesacker and Koscielny going up towards the end, we should have really belted balls into the box and given Monaco something to think about – but even with 10 minutes left, and even in injury time – we persisted in sideways passing instead of fizzing the ball into the penalty area.

There were also chances where I was screaming for Arsenal to shoot, but they ended up playing that extra pass.

The sad thing is that Arsenal performed fantastically tonight in an away game, in the Champions League. Even though the first leg ended up killing us off, we did enough tonight to progress. If you evaluate the two legs we were the better team. We did really well tonight and naive in the first leg – Monaco were good in the first leg but non-existent in the second.

It’s an all too familiar story for Arsenal fans and tonight I feel devastated, dejected and deflated. You’re hoping and praying that Arsenal can fashion 3 good goal-scoring opportunities to give us a chance of that 3-0 we needed and we were so so close.

There’s not much more we could have done tonight overall – we defended excellently (when Monaco did decide to actually attack) and generally, we played very well. The one thing I regret is the lack of urgency and incisiveness upfront. We got into excellent positions and needed to be more clinical. Giroud and Ramsey both took their goals well but tonight is one of those nights where a truly world class striker makes the difference – someone who can take a half chance or fashion something out of nothing.

Yet another year where we get knocked out at the first stage and it’s back to focusing on the FA Cup and Premier League. It’s the same old feeling Arsenal fans are only too familiar with – major disappointment and the feeling that we could have qualified.

Can Arsenal Progress In The Champions League Tonight?

All the statistics are against Arsenal, and I’m sure you’ve seen them all today in the newspapers and online. Basically, no team has managed to overhaul a 2 goal deficit after being away in the second leg of the tie.

Monaco have basically conceded only a handful of goals, have the best defensive record in this seasons Champions League and Ligue 1, and are virtually invincible at home.

So the bottom line is Arsenal need a miracle.

The fact of the matter is the minimum Arsenal need to progress is to score 3 goals and concede none. We can concede one goal and score 3, which would take us to extra time.

And that’s what we need to hope for.

Our domestic form is excellent, and one of the best in the Premier League, but after the spectacular collapse against Monaco in the first leg we are left in a very poor position.

Can we score 3 goals?

According to Arsenal.com, we’ve scored 3 or more goals on 9 occasions this season, although I’m not sure which teams they were against. Winning 3-0 at Monaco is not impossible, almost impossible but not impossible.

We have to just go for it. We have to keep it tight for the first 30 minutes and see if we can nick a goal. The first goal is massive for the tie and as long as we have enough time to score a couple of more then we have a real game on our hands.

We can afford to be slightly more adventurous as a Monaco goal still means 3 goals will keep us in the tie.

What do I think?

I think we can do it. It will be so difficult to win 3-0 but if any team can do it it’s Arsenal. We are setup to attack and if Giroud, Sanchez, Cazorla and Özil are all on song then we are capable of scoring against any team. The injury to The Ox is a big blow because of his inventiveness and pace, but we still have a top quality side to field in Monaco tonight.

If Arsene Wenger prepares the team in the right way and we’re correctly motivated and play with the aggression we’re capable of, then anything can happen. There might be a case in playing Tomas Rosicky if he’s fit, because he is a big player in the big games, capable of setting the tempo for the rest of the team. Even if he only played the first half or first hour, it would stand us in good stead in a must win game.

We just have to believe! #COYG

Manchester United Were A Complete Disgrace Last Night!

What I thought would be a nervy night turned out just to be that, but Arsenal put in a solid performance and for once, got what they deserved – a win at Old Trafford.

I thought that Arsenal were destined to lose. Before tonight’s FA Cup quarterfinal, our record was atrocious – in the last 15 games we managed to win once, draw three times and lose eleven!

The main factors why we lose to Manchester United are:

1. We just bottle it when we face United.
2. They get all the refereeing decisions.
3. Manchester United are the luckiest team in England.

However, they didn’t have any of those things on their side tonight.

Normally, when players like Di Maria and Januzaj dive like they did last night – and especially at Old Trafford – that would normally mean a freekick or penalty against us. Yesterday however, the referee Michael Oliver was surprisingly excellent. Not that he isn’t a good referee – it’s just that every referee that goes to Old Trafford is easily swayed and is inclined to give Manchester United every single decision. And I thought it was more of the same when Danny Welbeck was denied a clear penalty in the first half.

But credit to Michael Oliver, he was excellent. You’ve got massive cunts like Wayne Rooney constantly hounding the referee, which is why they always get the decisions. Their reactions to every refereeing decision is quite frankly a disgrace and it was just desserts when Di Maria was sent off for a petulant pull at the referee – Manchester United players think they make the decisions and that’s why Di Maria thought he could literally push the referee around. They are used to being able to bully the referee’s into giving them every decision.

Another disgrace was Manchester United tactics. Watching the game tonight, I have to constantly remind myself that we were playing Manchester United, not Wimbledon or Bolton Wanderers. How many times did they punt the ball upfield, and how many times did they hoof the ball up to Marouanne Fellaini? Jesus Christ, it was ridiculous!

This is a team that has aspirations to quality for the Champions League. The standard of play was shockingly poor, and worse than it was under David Moyes.

Manchester United’s “tactics” (if you can call them that) consist of getting the ball to the fullbacks, and then punting a high ball up to Fellaini on a diagonal. If that doesn’t work, their “Plan B” is to get the ball slightly higher up the pitch to their wingers, to then cut inside and then play a long ball forward.

Their tactics and play are an utter disgrace.

Fortunately, Arsenal were solid as a team and managed to play their way out of most of the  problems Manchester United threw at us – except for the goal when surprise surprise, Di Maria cut inside and played a long ball to Wayne Rooney, who headed in from close range.

The Manchester United teams of old were direct, incisive and always a threat. At the moment they are simply a hyped up Bolton Wanderers – they really should have appointed Sam Allardyce instead, he would have been cheaper.

Yesterday was a great result and the draw (thank you Dermot O’Leary!) was the icing on a very tasty cake. The bottom line was though Arsenal weren’t, and didn’t need to be, at their best. The Manchester City performance was better and if we played like we did that night we would have won by 4 or 5 goals. What we were though was disciplined, focused and worked well as a team.

David De Gea is a phenomenal goalkeeper and for me is one of the world’s best at the moment. If it wasn’t for him (and they had someone like Szczesny in goal for example) we would have scored 5 goals. Some of the saves he made (from Sanchez and Cazorla in particular) were out of this world.

Everyone from the back to the front put in an excellent shift, but problems still remain over Szczesny. He made several mistakes tonight and looked nervous – and two of his very poor kicks almost allowed Manchester United a chance to score. He is a shadow of the player he used to be and Arsenal really need to think about signing a world class goalkeeper in the summer.

Why Arsenal Will Lose Yet Again To Manchester United Tonight!

Tonight sees the showcase tie of the FA Cup weekend as Arsenal travel to Manchester United in the Quarter Finals.

In terms of Premier League performance, Arsenal sit in 3rd place on 58 points, a solitary point ahead of Manchester United who sit in fourth.

Arsenal have had an up and down season, but have managed to win 5 of their last 6 Premier League games (losing the other), while Manchester United have won 4 of their last 6, drawing one and losing the other. So in terms of domestic form, it’s hard to separate the two sides.

How about history?

Unfortunately this is where Arsenal falter badly and it’s because of this I am very worried about tonight. In the last 15 meetings between the teams, our record is:

Won 1, Drawn 3 and Lost 11.

That record is an absolute disgrace!

Last season, we faced the worst Manchester United side in living memory who were completely shot of confidence under David Moyes. Arsenal on the other hand were riding high, top in fact, of the Premier League table and still managed to lose 1-0. It wasn’t an embarrassing scoreline by any stretch of the imagination (especially compared to previous seasons) but losing to an awful team like that was shameful.

And if you look at our record at Old Trafford, it’s even worse! If that’s at all possible…

The last time we won a match at Old Trafford was on Sunday 17th September 2006, when Emmanuel Adebayor scored from a Cesc Fabregas assist. If you click on the link, you’ll see that it was so long ago that the BBC Sport website was still in a basic format!

So what’s the problem? The problem is that Arsene Wenger and the players just end up bottling it against Manchester United. It doesn’t matter if they’re a team in disarray, or that they have an idiot managing them, we see the name Manchester United and go weak at the knees. We’re scared of their history, and scared of their stature in English football it seems.

I can’t understand why we are so terrible against them. In the home league game this season we tried our very best not to score any of our chances (remind you of the Monaco game?) and United scored on the break. Some people can call is naive, but against Manchester United we just freeze.

Manchester United were lucky against Newcastle last week and unfortunately, I can see that luck being on show tonight. Another problem we have is the game is at Old Trafford – the home of cheating. We saw it when Shrek “won” a penalty against Sol Campbell in that monumental 50th game of our unbeaten run and I’ve seen countless decisions given against us which still baffle me today.

Don’t be surprised if Arsenal go out there tonight, show Manchester United “too much respect”, fail to score the opening goal and then concede a stupid penalty or give them a sitter from a defensive mistake.

Some of you might call me a pessimist for thinking that a loss tonight is a forgone conclusion, but the fact is I’m just a realist.

Prediction for tonight is a 3-1 win for Manchester United, after missing about 3 or 4 very presentable chances (most likely squandered by Olivier Giroud).