Arsene Wenger is confident Theo Walcott will soon be back amongst the goals, but is a run of eight matches without a goal really so unusual for the Arsenal forward?
The England international has enjoyed the best season of his career so far, having scored 18 goals and assisted 15 during 36 first team appearances in all competition. However, he has failed to find the back of the net since the end of January, when he bagged in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Since then he has gone eight games without scoring, and it has been suggested that his dip in form is a result of complacency after signing a lucrative contract. Walcott was at loggerheads with the club for some time over a new deal, before finally agreeing to extend his stay until 2016.
Wenger has hit back at claims the forward has now taken his foot of the gas for the Gunners, even going as far as to argue that, with a new contract agreed, the former Southampton youngster is actually even more focussed on producing the goods for the Emirates Stadium club.
“I don’t think that is linked, especially with the fact that he has signed a contract or not,” said the French coach. “Because you can say as well he is more secure, he can express himself. At Bayern Munich he didn’t have the greatest game, but he still brought the goal. He will come back.”
Although Walcott has assumed a more central role at times this season due to the sale of Robin van Persie, going eight matches without a goal is hardly new to him. Just last season, he didn’t score from 29 October until 15 January, a barren run which took in a total of 12 matches.
And after scoring in the first game of the 2009/10 season in a 6-2 win over Blackburn Rovers, it then took him until March to add to this tally: a total of 17 matches. And, although perhaps a little harsh considering his age at the time, when he first linked up with Arsenal, it took him 27 games to open his account in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
So eight games without a goal? It’s neither a crisis nor unusual for Walcott.