Theo Walcott reaches 100 goals for Arsenal
By Nick Wright and Adam Smith
Last Updated: 21/02/17 3:47pm
Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal for Arsenal in Monday's 2-0 win over Sutton United in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Walcott, who took his tally to 99 with a hat-trick against Southampton in the previous round of the competition, brought up the century with a close-range finish against the non-league side on his 370th appearance for the club.
It took him to 15 goals for the season in all competitions, meaning the 2016/17 campaign is already his second most prolific since joining the Gunners at the age of 16 in 2006.
Walcott is only the 18th player in Arsenal's history to reach the landmark, earning praise from manager Arsene Wenger, and expressed his delight at the achievement after the game.
"It's great," said Walcott. "I'm lost for words to be fair because I didn't really think about it before and it's just happened. It'll probably hit me in a few days I'm sure, but I really enjoyed that. I'm really proud of that personal achievement of mine."
Walcott's tally includes 63 Premier League goals, with the rest split between the FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League. Seventy-nine have come with his favoured right foot, while 92 have been scored from inside the penalty box.
Walcott joins an illustrious 100-club headed by Thierry Henry, Ian Wright and Cliff Bastin, and his inclusion is particularly impressive when you consider he has spent most of his Arsenal career on the flanks.
Arsenal's current longest-serving player still has plenty of time to add to his tally at just 27 years old, but Walcott also reaches the landmark with a sense of what might have been.
He was the hottest prospect in English football when he arrived at Arsenal from Southampton as a fresh-faced teenager, but his career has been interrupted by injuries and inconsistency and he has only played more than 30 Premier League games in two of his 10 full seasons at the club.
It is no surprise that it took Walcott more than twice as many games as Wright and Henry to bring up his century given that he rarely plays as an out-and-out striker, but his total would surely be far higher with fewer injury issues and a little more consistency.
Indeed, Walcott has only reached double figures for goals in four seasons, with his best campaign coming in 2012/13 when he netted 21 times in 43 appearances. Until this year, he has struggled to match those standards.
But while the numbers are not quite as high as they could be, Walcott's achievement places him in esteemed company, and he is on course for his most prolific season yet in an Arsenal shirt. If he can keep it up, the Gunners can be confident there will be more memorable moments to come.