In the blockquotes below are thoughts on the winger from Travis King at TSF while RBM’s Adam Braun interjects some context regarding how Walcott will fit at Goodison Park. Thanks, Travis!
Theo Walcott’s most effective when he’s allowed to sit up front, making runs in behind the defense and, when given adequate time on the pitch, finishing.
His total goals don’t necessarily reflect that of a guy who’s made over 350 appearances for Arsenal, but for the first few years at the club were spent trying to fit in to a side that was seeing out Thierry Henry’s tenure and dealing with various injuries.
Under Sam Allardyce, the Toffees haven’t really tried to play through opposing midfields or defenses, so the idea of a player who is capable of getting over the top and wreaking havoc is a positive one — even if you don’t agree with Sam’s tactics.
To Travis’ point regarding Walcott’s goals output compared to his number of games — Theo has made a ton of substitute appearances for Arsenal, which deflates his goals and assists per match ratio. In all competitions, Walcott has 108 goals and 77 assists in 397 appearances. That’s not a bad output, but it isn’t great either.
Instead consider his output per 90 minute. In all competitions for Arsenal, Walcott averages 0.7 goals plus assists per match — so he’s contributed to a goal being scored better than every other game as a Gunner.
If an Everton fan is to hold hope that they’re getting a guy who can make a difference, look no further than last season.
Theo Walcott paired beautifully playing next to Alexis Sanchez, who started out the year playing central forward. Alexis’s natural playmaking skills and ability to drop back into space and pick out passes to either onrushing midfielders or wide players attempting to beat their markers allowed Theo time to make easy runs into space left open by the defense, and due to this setup Walcott netted a total of 19 goals in all competitions.
With Wayne Rooney healthy and starting on a regular basis, Walcott could replicate this sort of production if his fellow Englishman utilizes these similar traits that made him dangerous.
Everton doesn’t have a center forward who is capable of doing what Alexis Sanchez does, but the hope will be that either Gylfi Sigurdsson or Wayne Rooney can operate in a similar way from an attacking midfield role. Sigurdsson will likely be the starter there going forward, with Walcott and Yannick Bolasie on the wings.
If Allardyce can find ways to get the Icelander on the ball with time and space to pick those wingers out, there could be real danger in the pace of Everton’s attack.
Many Arsenal fans like to point out that Theo has a tendency to wander offsides more than most players, and while that may be true his game is one that starts and ends sitting on the line and making runs into space.
These types of players find themselves offsides more than players, but that’s part and parcel and more than makes up with their final end-production.
Playing for Sam Allardyce and Everton, I wonder if this will be a problem we see less frequently. The Toffees will need Walcott to defend much more frequently than Arsene Wenger did at Arsenal, so he’ll not have the luxury of hanging out on the back shoulder of the last defender.
Of course, if Walcott doesn’t contribute defensively, his time in the starting lineup may be short-lived. Allardyce seems unlikely to tolerate a lack of defensive commitment, and in front of a shaky-at-best back four (at least until Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman return), the Toffees need all the defensive help they can get.