Walcott v Bale: A Statistical Comparison With Interesting Results

By on August 7, 2013

With Tottenham’s Gareth Bale potentially moving to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee, Arsenal blogger Gooner Daily compared the Welshman to Gunners star Theo Walcott.

Theo Walcott

Games between Arsenal and Tottenham are always 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 about how Arsenal were on a downward spiral. However, the Gunners picked themselves up from the precarious situation of being seven points below Tottenham and went on a spirited run that saw us collect 26 points from a possible 30 to clinch fourth place from our bitter rivals.

Walcott v Bale

With Robin van Persie departing the Emirates for greener pastures, Arsenal needed some forward players to step up their game last season and while the likes of Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski should be commended for their efforts, Theo Walcott was arguably our most effective attacker. At the other end of North London, it was undoubtedly the Gareth Bale show as he single-handedly carried Spurs throughout the season.

Both players are best known for their time on the wings but there were also periods last season 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 striker.

Bale matured well as the season went on 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.

Here’s a statistical comparison of the two players from last season. All stats were provided by Who ScoredIndex FootballEPL Index and101 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 hailed as the best player in the Premier League and won the PFA Player of the Year Award, these stats clearly show that Theo Walcott gave him a run for his money in terms of end product. Yet nobody even mentions how well Theo did last season, and he wasn’t even close to making the team of the year never mind the individual award.

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, so Bale had played far more minutes than Walcott did.

Even if Bale managed more shots than Walcott in each game, the Englishman had a better conversion ratio than his Welsh counterpart. Walcott also provided far more assists than his former Southampton team-mate and had a better pass completion rate. Obviously Bale came out top in headers and crossing – possibly two of Theo’s weakest areas.

Both players had excellent 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. But it does make you wonder when you look purely at end product how Bale can be regarded as a £100m player, yet Theo is still drawing critics left, right and centre?

This post was originally published on Gooner Daily - you can check out their Facebook page here.

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28 Comments

  1. lebowerski

    August 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Well you know what they say, there’s lies, damn lies and statistics.

    • Paxton Pete

      August 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      As someone pointed out. Walcott made 43 appearances for Woolwich Wanderers last season. Other than that, great article.

    • Mike

      August 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      Bale scored some spectacular goals apart from that he’s got some pretty poor stats. He’s supposed to be a creative midfielder – his passing is crap, he can’t cross and he can’t do much else apart for the odd “exciting” dribble and he shoots (and misses) a lot. If the Spuds get £50m for him it’ll be the best bit of business in Premiership history. Don’t be fooled by the hype. It’s the emporer’s new clothes in a football style.

      • Joe

        August 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        He can certainly cross, in fact I’d say he probably has some of the best crossing in the EPL.

        But Spurs don’t exactly have anyone up front who can get on the end of crosses do they?

  2. REN VASSILLIOU

    August 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Stats mean nothing, what do they really prove , you do it on the pitch, Bale had a great season, let’s see what he will produce next season, my view is even Walcott had a great season the first since he came there, it will be interesting what happen’s this year , I still don’t know who has priced Bale 8700000euros no way hosay I say , he is good but not that good , this season it will be proved, I say spurs sell him while you can because you will never get a second chance ,this is for you Mr Levy, Take the money and run as fast as you can.

  3. Larfin Myheadoffski

    August 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    This blog explains one thing and one thing only, and that is how to spell DESPERATION. Bale = Walcott ha ha ha.

  4. Marco

    August 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Yes but Walcott is a hobby little boy who over rates himself and his ability, Bale is the best player in the Premiership and is going to get better, stats are bs.

  5. Larfin Myheadoffski

    August 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Gareth Bale, as any player, is worth what someone is prepared to pay for him. I don’t see a queue trying to sign Super Theo. Or anyone.

  6. Matt

    August 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    For your next article please review impact of goals scored, how many points did Arsenal earn from Walcott’s goals? Bale’s impact was far greater to the team as a whole. Not to say that Walcott didn’t score a few vital goals, but I’m sure your research would uncover that his goals cam in games where Arsenal were already leading and were playing against a stretched team.

    • Dylan

      August 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Theo’s efforts meant less to the team because Theo isn’t the only super-star in his team and he isn’t playing above his grade at a lower level club.

      Which explains quite alot with regards to how Bale stood out and Theo didn’t.

      • JR

        August 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

        Not that I agree with you at all, but using that logic should make Bale’s performances more remarkable than Walcott’s, not less.

        If anything, if Walcott is on par with Bale, playing a team ‘full of super-stars’ should have him putting up better numbers, better service, more opportunities, etc, etc, etc.

        Of course it’s all bullshit seeing as Arsenal(TEAM FULL OF SUPERSTARS!!!!1111) barely beat out Spurs(LOW LEVEL CLUB!1!~23~!!) for the 2nd year running, but hey, if we’re using deluded logic we should at least get it right, no?

    • Irate

      August 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Next time you want to comment review the impact of one player carrying the entire, nobody asked the other spuds not to score. Bale was just the standout player in an average squad… Nothing special

  7. laudgunner

    August 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    wowww. Great stats… Guess theo is doing great after all.. Keep it up TH14

  8. mr arsenal

    August 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    coz spurs was ONE MAN TEAM
    he is the 3t player reach 20 goals a season ever and ever
    so he was every thing for spurs
    but welcot stays a big club with big players
    that’s the difrence between them
    but THIO IS THE BEST

  9. sybrian

    August 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    the difference is that RM want to pay a fortune for Bale and NOT for Walcott!!

    • Sam

      August 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Which is nice for Gunners.

  10. DoubleDoubleDouble

    August 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Other than they both came from Southampton, there isn’t really much that is similar in their playstyles.

    Bale is a good dribbler, with a great long range shot – he was playing out wide, but has been switched to more of a free role.

    Walcott is a pretty poor dribbler, but a good close range finisher, and is lightning quick – he wants to be given a free role, but is most effective as a winger.

    Take Bale out of Spurs’ side, and they are mid-table fodder. Take Walcott out of Arsenal’s side, and they remain a top four challenging side.

    The £80-100m that Spurs could get for Bale probably won’t compensate for his loss – I expect Spurs to struggle without him.

    Spurs had their chances to make that 4th spot their own, but due to bad luck (2011-12 season) and poor management (2012-13 season), they’ve blown it, and the four richer clubs will be pulling away for the foreseeable future.

  11. kk

    August 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    How can you trust these stats when Walcott appeared 43 games for the Gooners last season?

  12. omar

    August 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    the do prove true……….. despite all the hype around bale last year he does not dominate games, he would pop up with late goals and everyone started saying hes the best in the league……. he is not worth 100mil let alone 85mil… 35 million player at best and that’s because of his age..

  13. Feenix

    August 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Bale would get into any team in the world…would Walcott?
    I bet the gooners are getting really pissed off at the way their transfer window is shaping up. All that crap about how much they are going to spend and all they have got is a guy on a free transfer.
    I always remember a story that goes back to the 80′s regarding Arsenal. It was about a guy who was looking forward to a big game Arsenal v Man Utd that was about three months away but he died. In his will he requested that his coffin be placed on the terraces at that game. So on the day there he was in his coffin on the the old Northbank. Trouble was Arsenal were so boring he went home at half time.

    • Mike

      August 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm

      You should be a stand up comedian. If he goes to Madrid he’ll be back playng in the Championship well within two years. Don’t believe the hype o th papers and the tv highlights

  14. steve

    August 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    could you please tell R.Madrid walcock is better then bale and they can have him for 10 bob

  15. Pingback: Walcott v Bale: A Statistical Comparison With Interesting Results | Futbol News

  16. goonered

    August 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Typically Spurs fans are throwing tantrums and spite as usual.

    The way I read the article was nobody was saying Bale isn’t the far better player. He clearly is.

    What it was saying is that statistically in the way they contribute to their teams, there isn’t a lot between them.

    Even you lot must realise 100M is absolutely mental money for Gareth Bale, or anyone.

    • Mike

      August 7, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Correct. Bale’s a good player but £100m is a very expensive attempt by the politicos in Madrid to win a local election. Nothing more

  17. DofY

    August 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    These figures really need to be contextualized. A lot of Walcott’s goals last season were just piling on the pain to teams that were already well-beaten; Bale’s were more evenly-distributed and often in much more critical situations. In terms of actual contribution to their respective sides, it isn’t even a close contest who had a better season.

  18. richard

    August 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Bale is nt superior to walcot they play d/f type of game wit d/f team pattern… And wit d statics bale is nt far frm theo.. madrid biding £105 million 4 bale is madness… Theo is in a team wher ther is competition and Bale plays for a team wher he is the of d Man team…..to me the two parties are d same..

  19. Previgo

    August 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Simple! Arsenal are a team who dosn’t relax after scoring just one goal in a game, they love scoring as many goals as possible each game thats the reason theos goal tends to be seen as a 4th or just an irrelevant goal, even when he scores 1st and arsenal were to win 3-1, many would still see his goal in particular as irrelevant. My point is tottenham should try to improve their goal per game ratio and lets see if bale wouldnt score some irrelevant once like the once he scored against man city in their 3-1 win(he scored the 3rd) and the one he scored in the 1st leg against arsenal were they lost 5-2(he scored tottenhams 2nd consolation).

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