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July 2021

Losing Theo: we have been there before

By Walter Broeckx

The injury to Walcott has been the start of some people freaking out. The cries to buy no matter what cost has been seen back. Probably at the first not win result people will hold up signs saying  to buy, buy, buy. People will scream to sack the manager and rubbish all the players.

Now of course it would be nice to win all our games from now till the end of the season and if it would be possible fine, where can I sign for it, but this is football in the PL and so I don’t count on it being possible for any team.

Now we have to look at the broader picture from this season. From the first game we lost Oxlade-Chamberlain with a knee injury after 45 minutes. The Ox started that game on the left side of the attack giving an early assist. A couple of days later we lost Podolski who had come in at Fulham scored 2 goals, had a good match against Fenerbace in the CL qualifier and then ruptured a muscle and was out till a few weeks ago. That was two striking options lost who we now have back.

Giroud despite being kicked from left to right without much protection from the refs stayed fit almost the entire season. Only with the too busy schedule around Christmas and New year he had to sit on the side line after being kicked all over again at Newcastle. But he is fit again now.

And then we also have Bendtner. Mostly sitting on the bench but when called upon like against Hull and Cardiff doing his job and scoring an important goal. Him getting injured when scoring against Cardiff launched the start of the buy-hysteria. The same people mostly who have been saying that he never should be allowed on the pitch after saying dumb things in the past. And who said he was useless anyway.

But Bendtner might be back in some 10-15  days time or for the FA cup match against Coventry. Surely we don’t want to buy a player whenever someone is out for 3 weeks?

So if we don’t take Theo in account we can see that in the first half of the season we were without The Ox and Podolski. Both are back.

But also in that first half of the season we did miss Theo for a considerable time. He got injured just before the match against Stoke and only came back at the end of November with 4 substitute appearances before starting again in December. And now we will miss him till the end of the season.

Will it have an impact on Arsenal? Of course as Theo offers a special thing to our game. Speed, goals and assists.

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But as he has been out before we can look at the impact his absence had in that period. So I have taken the games when Theo started and compared them to the games when Theo was out. I didn’t take the games he came on as a sub in to this. Coming on when the game is already won in the 80th minute or so has not a big impact. And most of the time when Theo is fit he usually starts. Now he can’t start so I left the sub cameo games out.

Theo starting in PL
Games Won Draw Lost








Now that is not a bad record of course. But what would that mean if we could get the same results with Theo starting in 38 matches? I know this is a theoretical exercise and no scientific certainty. But if we would multiply these numbers till we get 38 matches we would get this as the total numbers of points

Theo starting in PL
Games Won Draw Lost Total points









Not bad at all I would say. But we now will show the results of the games we didn’t have Theo at our disposal at all. As we do now. And that are the number of 7 games we didn’t have him in the PL.

Theo NOT starting in PL
Games Won Draw Lost








As you can see if you compare with the first numbers we won more and lost fewer matches. And if we take that in the same way to see how it would work out for 38 matches theoretically we could get this as a points table

Theo NOT starting in PL
Games Won Draw Lost Total points









And then you see that THEOretically (couldn’t let that one slip could I) we could have 6 points more than with him.

Now before you start writing in angrily saying I want to diminish the influence of Theo this is the least of what I am trying to do. Because I am heavily shocked and disappointed about losing him for the rest of the season. I want him to be there. But the fact is that we have seen his absence before and we have seen the impact of his absence.

And as I showed at the start of this article an absence that coincided with the absence of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski. Two of the striking options we now have again at out our disposal.

So yes we lost Theo and that itself is a very bad thing. But let us keep the perspective a bit and also notice that we now have two players back from long term injuries that we didn’t have in the first half of the season. We could say: lost one, won two.

Dare I say it…? Why not. The Ox and Podolski are our first new signings of the winter transfer window for me.

Does this mean that I say: we don’t need any incoming transfer? NO. I just don’t want to go overboard and predict the end of the world now that Theo is out injured. We still were very much top of the league when he was out before you know. Think we came top around the 5th game (with Theo) and still stayed top without Theo. And still are by the way. So let us all just relax and calm down. And enjoy the season. After all we are competing.

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11 comments to Losing Theo: we have been there before

  • Benni

    How did you get theo’s win rate go from 66% to 75% ? 😛

  • walter,

    this is not a one-dimensional team like manure as our goals can come from anywhere. sure i’ll miss theos blinding speed, but the trickiness of the ox and serge will just about make up for that. we are sitting on an abundance of riches that has been carefully planned and that few teams can replicate.

    if you took oscar and hazard out of chelsea’s team they would be rather ordinary. the oilers would be a spent force without yaya and david silva (although the little worm could turn up…nasri i mean). liverpud without suarez and gerrard would also be toothless.

    arsenal, on the other hand, can replace an entire midfield and forward line (with bendtner back) with an equally competent midfield and forward line. perhaps only bayern could pull that off. take ronaldo and bale out of real mad and iniesta/fab and messi out of barca and they are reduced to mere mortals.

    theo will be back, but i intend to enjoy the serge of the ox in the meantime.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do hope that whoever plays in the attacking roles do a decent job and keep us in the hunt . The midfielders if on song will contribute their fair share of goals and keep us purring along .

  • Florian


    66.67% of 38 matches = 25.32 matches won
    25.32 * 3 points per victory = 75.96

  • The font

    What you have to ask your self as a pontificator wordsmith is it nessAlls. Or nessLAY
    of course it was nessALLS to start with but then we have been brainwashed by the French to say we got it wrong even though they spent millions on advertising nessALLS so are they actually asking us to Speke in a French language when we say nestles
    Your answers. On a post card to p.o box Sami nasri

  • WalterBroeckx

    I could have made it clearer that in the second set of numbers I talked about points

  • blacksheep63

    off topic. I am going to see Brentford vs Port Vale today and hoping to see Chupa Akpom play for the Bees. He’s there for a month

  • blacksheep63

    Chuba not Chupa – doh!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Have a gut feeling bendtner is going to prove extremely important this season with the right attitude he is the closest to og we have or will get in jan. As for signings not much out there. If a rival gets a top striker at a reasonable price maybe we can have a go at the club if so inclined bit I bet they don’t. Chelsea and utd are desperate for players to fill certain positions but I bet they don’t get em this month

  • AL

    Is that Riley there, the one snarling in the second picture, in the midst of spurs fans hurling abuse at Theo 🙂

  • TommieGun

    I don’t know about this post, some parts I agree and some not.

    1. Losing Theo is a disaster. There is no way around it. I don’t think there is any player like him in the world right now. Plus him coming back very strong from the stomach injury – I think all of us, including (and perhaps mainly) Wenger counted on him to make a big impact in the 2nd half of the season. And losing him is a big, big blow. There is no way around it, he is much more experienced than the Ox and Gnabry and they are no replacement for him (at least Theoretically, of course I could be proved wrong and they will contribute 14 goals and 10 assists or so but I doubt it). So all the talks about who we have – I don’t find it very relevant or comforting.

    2. Having said that, I do agree that the answer is not buying. Simply, there is no one to buy who is BETTER than what we have. By a long shot. So buying will serve no purposem, except for relieving the Panic Brigade dummies…)

    3. So my bottom line is – shocked, freaked, pulling out my hairs over Theo. But we have to make do with what we have, everyone will have to give a little bit extra, and keep our fingers crossed that we won’t suffer any additional long term injury to our forward players.

    PS what about Sanogo ? Any news about him coming back anytime soon?