Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Walcott’s Century of Goals: By the Numbers

Signed in January 2006, Theo Walcott is the longest serving member of Arsenal’s current squad and the last remaining player connection to the Invincibles era, having trained with Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. But despite his longevity at Arsenal his career has been anything but a smooth road.

Despite going to the 2006 World Cup with England, Walcott didn’t get his first professional match for Arsenal until opening day of the 2006/2007 season. Down 1-0 against Aston Villa in the brand new Emirates Stadium, Wenger threw Walcott on and it was his cross which found van Persie, who nodded on to Gilberto to score the first ever goal at the Emirates.

Despite the auspicious start it wouldn’t be until Boxing Day 2006 when he got his first full assist, in the 2-1 win away to Watford. A cross to van Persie if I recall. Though, that was 10 years and many bottles of whiskey ago.

Walcott scored just one goal that season, his first Arsenal goal, against Chelsea in the League cup final (Diaby assist). This would turn out to be a prophetic goal in two ways. First, in that Walcott is actually a bit of a big game player. The team he’s scored the most goals against is Chelsea, he has six. He also has six against Newcastle, which isn’t a big team, but his second largest goals haul comes against our other hated London neighbor, Tottenham. He has scored five goals against them.

But Walcott’s first goal was also a poisoned chalice because Arsenal lost that match 2-1. Walcott has played on an Arsenal team which has lost six times after he put them ahead 1-0: twice to Chelsea and once each to Shaktar Donetsk, Wigan, Liverpool, and Man City. Arsenal have also won 14 times when Walcott made the score 1-0 and have drawn 4 times, with one of those draws the 4-4 to Newcastle. Walcott has scored first 24 times and Arsenal have W14 D4 L6. Compare to Drogba who put Chelsea in the lead 1-0, 59 times and won 47, drew 7 and lost 5.

I’m only counting the times he put Arsenal ahead 1-0 and the team went on to lose or draw. Arsenal also dropped points from a Walcott lead against Birmingham (2-2). These losses and draws have hurt Walcott’s game winning goals record and as a result he has only scored the game winner 21 times.

When we break out Walcott’s goals on a per minute basis and when we look at his overall goal-scoring contribution over his career, in terms of games he won Arsenal as a percentage of the games he played, he’s looks a lot like a decent winger but not a striker.

This is a busy chart, I apologize. But as you can see from the comparisons to Bale, Hazard, and even Alexis, Theo Walcott’s goals scored return looks more like a winger than a forward.

We expect strikers to score in lots of games and score lots of goals when they do. Thierry Henry was the gold standard of this, scoring in 45% of his overall games played for Arsenal and scoring nearly 50% of his 229* goals as either braces, hat-tricks, or more. We also expect our forwards to win us matches and no one did that better than Henry, with 79 game winners. 79.

Walcott’s % of games scored in, % of games won, and minutes per goal all compare closer to Bale and Hazard and not at all like the forwards on this list.

In the end, that’s just a fact of Walcott’s career at Arsenal. 100 goals is a remarkable achievement in the context of him playing as a wide forward for most of his career. That is where he looks to have stuck now that he and Wenger have decided to give Sanchez a go at center forward.

*I count the one the FA gave to Scott Dann – we all know Henry meant to hit it off Dann and besides it was on target.


Sources: transfermarkt.co.uk


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An excellent analysis. For a winger, a century of goals is outstanding.


Always feel Walcott is overshadowed by the spectre of what we thought he’d be after that run vs Liverpool in the CL and hattrick vs Croatia. He’s no Alexis, but he is a good player who turns up for big games and it frustrates me when people talk about him as if he’s a prime Ryo Myachai


All Arsenal fans are willing Theo to do well and this has perhaps been his most effective season, tracking back and tackling too. Of late he, and the team, have been less effective.

Perhaps if someone could nick his coffee machine we could offer to buy him a new one for scoring 20 goals before the end of the season.


His stats looks even more impressive if you add his 73 assists.

22021/173=127.28. That’s a goal/assist every 127 mins which is pretty impressive for a winger.


Very well said! If I’m correct, that is a goal or an assist in 7 out of every 10 games.
Through 10 years in the strongest league in the world.

That’s quite something!


I don’t believe in the notion that we play Walcott as a wide striker and say Chamberlain as a wide midfielder. If that was the case we wouldn’t be bitching about him not tracking back. Thing is he’s been hit by lengthy injury spells and did have to come on very late most of his early years as he watched some gifted wingers start (Freddie, hleb, TR7, Arshavin in his prime. ‘) plus competition from gervinho, diaby, eboue! Ramsey! plus the current crop of wingers. So a comparison with the legendary (central strikers) Henry and Drogba is funny in a… Read more »


Thank you @ gooner. The overrated welbec. That is very true and correct. Always near perfect performance. Yet fans want him ahead of walcott. Only one player I have observed do what walcott do for arsenal efficiently (running behind defense) – Lucas Perez. Arsenal are always dangerous going forward if a player is running behind defense. Otherwise, combination of sanchez, welbec and giroud will be pass pass pass cross, repeat till 90 minute elapse. Walcott goal and assist will be discarded by his haters. They will say apart from that he has nothing to offer. But the same people will… Read more »


When all’s said and done, he’s actually pretty good.

These figures stand up against the worlds best wingers, and… he’s done that despite a fuck load of injuries, and an endless stream of negativity from various sources including, shamefully, our own fans.


are you sure Hazard has played over 400 games?


I had a quick look and yes.. looks to be accurate.

About ~150 or so league games for both Lille and Chelsea. About ~75 for Belgium.

Throw in cup and CL games and he’s well over 400.

Not bad

Gallas tantrums

Theo James Walcott has been a good servant of Arsenal. Scoring 100 goals as winger is not easy folks. Cheers Mzee Walcott


He’s alright, but he would be far more impressive playing for a smaller side like Everton, West Ham or Spuds.


“Theo in” then??


These numbers are very misleading. The player comparison is inaccurate. The only players on that list with whom Theo Walcott can actually be compared to (over the entire number of matches) are RVP and Alexis because they are the only players who played most of those matches in a similar position. Eden Hazard has never played as a wide forward (big difference between a wide forward and a wide midfielder). Gareth Bale only played in an advanced position for 2 seasons. Comparing the numbers over their entire career to Walcott’s is misleading since Walcott has played his entire Arsenal career… Read more »


@ araj, you are confuse. Go and sleep


His stats are even better when you consider goals per minute and the fact that, unlike Hazard or Bale, he doesn’t take penalties or free kicks. As a winger they absolutely hold up

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