Theo Walcott - Player of the Week
Is Theo Walcott back to his best?
Theo Walcott scored a first-half hat-trick as Arsenal finished their Premier League season in style. The 4-1 victory against West Brom means the Gunners finish the season in 3rd place and qualify automatically for the Champions League. Manchester Utd, who finished fourth, will have a play-off in August to qualify for the Champions League group stages. Walcott started his first match in more than two months against West Brom and looked to be back to his best. He scored his first, and best, goal after only 4 minutes. He collected the ball on the edge of the penalty box and hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner. His second arrived 10 minutes later, poking home after taking the ball past a West Brom defender. Jack Wilshire hit a spectacular goal, before Walcott completed his hat-trick after a pass from Santi Cazorla. After scoring, Walcott ran to the bench to celebrate with the Arsenal physio, Declan Lynch. Lynch has helped Walcott regain his fitness after nearly a year out through injury.
"Theo had a great game today. He was on fire and moved well." Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger.
Has Arsenal's season finished?
Arsenal have finished their Premier League campaign, but they still have one more match to play this season. On Saturday the 30th May, Arsenal play Aston Villa in the FA Cup final. Walcott will be looking for his first major honour as a player. Arsenal won the Cup last season, but Walcott didn't play in the final because of injury. He was injured earlier in the competition, when playing against Arsenal's North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. He suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, which is one of the injuries footballers fear the most. An ACL can keep a player out of action for over a year and can often end a player's career. Thankfully, Walcott is on the road to recovery and appears not to have lost any of the speed that he is famous for.
“I've bounced back before and it's made me stronger.” Theo Walcott, talking about his career threatening injury.
Who's going to win the FA Cup?
The FA Cup is the oldest football competition in the world and was first played in 1871/72! Arsenal will start the FA Cup final as favourites, but there have been many surprises over the years and in a one-off game there is always the possibility of a shock. Only 2 years ago, Wigan Athletic created one of the biggest FA Cup final shocks, when they beat Manchester City, to win the Cup for the first ever time. It wasn't all happiness for Wigan, they were relegated from the Premier League just 3 days later, becoming the first team to be relegated and win the Cup in the same season. Aston Villa are now safe from relegation and they have won the FA Cup 7 times, but the last time was in 1957. Arsenal are the holders, they beat Hull City 3-2 in last year's final and have won the competition a record 11 times.
"To grab the match ball is a great achievement personally. But more importantly, the team is looking sharp going into next week’s final." Theo Walcott speaking after his hat-trick against West Brom.
What do we know about Theo Walcott?
Theo James Walcott was born on 16 April 1989 in London, but grew up in Berkshire, in the English countryside. Walcott is a product of Southampton's youth academy which he joined when he was 11 years old. The youth academy at Southampton has become one of the most famous in the UK and has produced many famous players. In addition to Walcott, other players that have played in Southampton's youth system include:
|Theo Walcott (Arsenal)||Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)|
|Calum Chambers (Arsenal)||Luke Shaw (Manchester United)|
|Adam Lallana (Liverpool)||Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)|
Walcott became Southampton's youngest-ever player when he made his debut aged 16 years and 143 days and scored 3 goals in his first 3 matches. In January 2006, he signed for Arsenal in a deal that was eventually worth £9.1 million. Since making his debut, Walcott has made over 30 appearances for the Gunners and scored 75 goals.
How many hat-tricks have been scored this season?
Walcott's hat-trick was the tenth and final hat-trick of the Premier League season. The first hat-trick of 2014/15 was scored by Chelsea's Diego Costa against Swansea City. The fastest hat-trick of 2014/15 was scored by Southampton's Sadio Mane against Aston Villa, this was also a new Premier League record. Yannick Bolasie of Crystal Palace was the only player to score a hat-trick for an away team, when he scored three against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. And Sergio Aguero was the only player to score more than three goals in a match, when he scored 4 against Spurs. Aguero is also the only player to score more than one hat-trick this season as he also scored three against QPR in May.
Which hat-tricks can you remember?
Click on talk and quiz and let us know what you think!
What did you understand?
Did you know......?
- Theo Walcott is a Liverpool fan!
- In 2006, Walcott became the youngest ever player to play for England. He was just 17 years and 75 days.
- Walcott was one of the sports stars that carried the Olympic flame at London 2012.
- Walcott is also a writer! He has published four books, three of them are football stories for children and aslo an auto-biography.
- Theo Walcott's wife had a small part in one of the Harry Potter films - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
What do you think?
Arsenal have some fantastic attacking players; Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey.
Do Arsenal have the best attacking players in the Premier League? Can all these players play in the same team?
Do you think Arsenal will win the Premier League next season?