A Statistical Review of Walcott’s and Bale’s Performances Last Season

Youth products of Southampton’s academy

Since 1996, Arsenal fans have always celebrated St. Tottenringham’s Day, which is that joyous day when Tottenham can’t go above the Gunners in the Premier League, but the pendulum has swung both sides in recent encounters. While Arsene Wenger remained steadfast in his role as Arsenal’s gaffer, their North London rivals have used a plethora of managers with the latest recruit being Andre Villas-Boas that returned to Premier League football after a disappointing spell with Chelsea.

The games between both clubs are always very intense and last season was no different.

In the North London derby that took place in November 2012, an early Spurs goal was cancelled out by a Per Mertesacker equalizer. Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla extended Arsenal’s lead before Gareth Bale scored a consolation goal to reduce the deficit. Right at the death, Theo Walcott scored the match clincher that was the icing of a well-baked cake. In the return fixture in March 2013, two quickfire goals from Aaron Lennon and Bale were enough to seal victory as Mertesacker’s headed effort was nothing more than a consolation.

Shortly after the Tottenham victory, AVB was quick to blow his trumpet on how Arsenal was in a downward spiral. The Gunners picked themselves up from the precarious situation of being seven points below Tottenham but they went on a spirited run that saw them 26 points from a possible 30 but with that kind of championship form, Arsenal only had a fourth place finish show for their efforts.

With Robin van Persie departing the Emirates for greener pastures, Arsenal needed some players to step up their game and while Olivier GIroud and Lukas Podolski should be commended for their performances in the 2012/13, Theo Walcott was the star that shone the brightest. On the other end of North London, it was undoubtedly the Gareth Bale show as he was fresh from winning the PFA Player of the Award in the 2011/12 campaign.

Both players plied their trades on the wings and there were also periods when their roles were changed with Walcott getting a brief stint as a center forward while Bale had some game time on the right wing as well as the hole behind the forward line. Bale arguably matured so well, became Tottenham’s and his influence grew in the Tottenham squad while Walcott went from strength to strength, fighting his personal demons, his protracted contract saga and his fair share of critics.

However, both players were outstanding in their outputs to their teams last season and I’m going to focus on these stats juxtaposing between Tottenham’s messiah and Arsenal’s own version of the Flash. All stats were provided by Who Scored, Index Football, EPL Index and 101 Great Goals.

STAT

Gareth Bale

Theo Walcott

Appearances (Subs)

41 (0)

27 (10)

Goals Scored (All competitions)

24

21

Goals Scored (Premier League)

21

14

Overall shots (Shots per Game)

165 (4.7)

87 (2.4)

Shot to Goal Conversion %

15.8

22.6

Assists (All competitions)

8

15

Assists (Premier League)

4

10

Total Passes (Key Passes)

1131 (75)

531 (38)

Pass Completion %

78.4

83.1

Headers (Won/Attempted)

57/139

7/24

Total Crosses (Accurate Crosses)

272 (62)

173 (29)

Interesting isn’t it?

In as much as Gareth Bale was regarded as the next best thing in the Premier League, these stats clearly show that Theo Walcott certainly gives him a run for his money but you wouldn’t hear people signing Walcott’s songs. Except when we all wanted him to sign da ting.

As long as Bale was fit, he was the first name you would expect to see on the Spurs team sheet but there was a period Walcott was frozen out of the squad by Arsene Wenger when he rejected the initial £75,000 per week deal Arsenal offered him early in the season. Bale scored 24 goals in 41 games while Walcott scored a career best 21 goals in 37 games, with him coming off the bench in 10 of those matches. Even if Bale managed to shoot more balls than Walcott in each game, the Englishman had a better conversion ratio than his Welsh counterpart.

Soccer - Premier League - Arsenal v Tottenham Hostspur - Emirates Stadium

Moving over to passes, Walcott was certainly going to have an edge over Bale as he’s widely renowned as a selfless player unlike Bale, that’s also a team player but he takes the selfish approach, which ends up having devastating effects, like his goal against Norwich for instance. Notwithstanding, Bale’s pass completion percentage is not far off from Walcott but the Englishman had 10 assists in the Premier League alone in contrast to Bale’s eight assists in all competitions.

On the air, there is no comparison between both players as Walcott’s hobbit-like frame would certainly not give him any edge that’s why I was a bit puzzled when he was wailing to get a stint as a center forward.

There are other football attributes both players possess and I’ll assess them using my own unbiased judgment, as I’ve been opportuned to watch them week-in week-out in the Premier League and in their European outings as well. These ratings will be done on a scale of 1 – 10.

ATTRIBUTE

Gareth Bale

Theo Walcott

Set Piece Taking

9

7

Crossing

9

7

Dribbling

8

7

Technique

8

8

Flair

8

8

Pace

8

First Touch

8

9

Composure in front of goal

8

9

Creativity

7

8

Many may dispute these set of stats because they aren’t in sites like Who Scored, SqwakwaIndex Football and EPL Index but I tried my best to be as unbiased as possible even if I’m a die-hard Arsenal fan.

When it comes to dead ball situations, crossing and dribbling, Bale is better than Walcott but the Englishman’s composure in front of goal has drastically improved and his first touch is legendary.

There’s certainly no point in trying to make a case for Bale over Walcott when it comes to pace. Bale may be Tottenham’s Superman, but he’s can’t be as fast as Arsenal’s own Flash.

Both players had awesome performances in the last campaign and while Walcott is set to stay at the Emirates a long while, Bale’s future at Tottenham hangs by a thin thread.

Sayonara.

Bonus Reading

Gareth Bale from an Arsenal fan’s Perspective – Straight Talking Gooners

Statistically there are none more effective than Walcott at 24 – One Nil Down Two One Up

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About enigma106

An Arsenal fan with a good sense of humor

Posted on August 7, 2013, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I really love the way you write snd analyze football. keep it up.

  2. :-)
    so all things being equal in a game at the local field you being the on of the team pickers will go for our THEO as opposed to mr. Ears galore. Right?

  3. Hello there,

    First of all, let me start off by saying i’m a huge Arsenal fan myself, and have been ever sice Thierry Henry’s magical goal against Manchester, on the 30th of September, 2000 :). I was 9 years old then, and Henry’s goal made me fall in love with Arsenal’s unique style.

    Then, as time went by, i started gathering information on Arsenal, becoming more and more interested in the club’s history. Now, i can say i’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to Arsenal, despite never going to a match (i’m not from Britain).

    I find your blog to be extremely interesting, and informative. Keep up the amazing work!

    Now, more to the point :
    Bale has been the main player for Tottenham this season, that I agree. I also agree that Walcott is a bit of an “unsung hero” compared to Bale. However, and i’m just shooting in the dark here, i think Bale has been “favorized” by the press because he tends to score more important goals (either against important teams, or decisive goals). This is just a thought based on my memories of last season. An analysys on this criteria would be interesting though.

    Cheers mate,

    A fellow Gooner from Europe.

  4. How can Walcott have had half the number of shots Bale had, scored pretty much the same number of goals, but needed significantly more shots per goal…? That doesn’t add up. Something is wrong with those stats..

  5. Rob, The shots per goal is a % figure. Walcott scored with 22% of his shots whilst G Bale scored with only 15% of his shots. It’s your reading that has something wrong with it, not the stats!
    W Zeem, North of the border Spurs fan.

  1. Pingback: A Statistical Review of Walcott’s and… — Nigerian Favourite Blog

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