Not Even The Best Winger In The Beatles


I started working on this post a little while ago when I saw this tweet by @SpursStatMan:

Bale vs Walcott

But then I shelved it for a while. After all, I don’t want to be starting any trouble.

And anyway, I thought we all agreed Stats are balls. For example, if I pass the ball to Lionel Messi and then he scores from the half-way line, I just did an assist. For Barcelona. Me. If I did that twice a game, and Lionel kept up his half of the bargain, we would soon become the 2 most valuable players in the world. And to be fair, no one rolls the ball to Leo like I do.

So, anyway, I left it the post on the shelf.

Until…

Spurs Stat Man (SpursStatMan) on Twitter

So, I said to myself, “Ah, sure, fuck it. He who lives by the Stat shall die by the Stat…

Bale is not fit to sniff CR7′s undies, so what kind of deluded bastard even conjures up the thought of comparing Bale to CR7, unless as part of a humble and submissive gesture to recognize the vast superiority of the great and towering Ronaldo. Bale the best winger in the world? Or the best winger in England? Hah! Bale isn’t even the best winger in the Beatles.

Now, one last comment before we commence. Like the courageous high-wire trapeze artistes of old, I will be doing this post without a net. Not a single monkey-boy joke will pass my lips. Drum roll, please.

Mind the Stats. 

If you are going to compare yourself to CR7 by comparing respective EPL stats, shouldn’t you at least make sure you haven’t left yourself open to ridicule by that club you are obsessed with, by that club who’s shadow gives you that tan of deathly pallor.

Again, I must state that generally stats are complete balls when used in isolation. Except when it comes to looking at goals and assists for someone like Theo. After all, that’s why he’s here. Goals and assists. And, we all know what an assist looks like with Theo, given that we have watched every one of them multiple times after EVERY game. “Theo assists” are real assists. “Theo goals” are real goals.

Now, you might say a couple of things to cock block this comparison. For example, Bale doesn’t play exactly the same role to Walcott: he is more involved in their build up play, does more defending etc etc. Well, Walcott is filling in for CR7 in the above comparison. And they are both equally defendy ie not very. But both contribute to defense by the sheer fear of their attacking threat, drawing the attention of the opponent’s defense, midfield and winger to them, which helps throughout the team, and therefore with their own team’s defending as we have noted many times before. Opponents don’t like being ripped a new one by Theo, and so they tend to hold back on their left side.

In any case, you can still make many valid stat comparisons between Bale and Walcott eg shot accuracy, goals vs number of shots etc, etc.

And anyway, the Spuds started it.

Your second criticism might be that Bale was supposed to play fullback for the first couple of years of his career, so that would have changed his stats. Don’t worry. I’ve got that covered in the analysis. (And it didn’t help Bale.)

Bale vs Walcott

So when you compare Bale and Walcott (who are both Southampton products, good mates, wingers, London-based, so you can be sure they compare themselves) over the same period as the Ronaldo comparison ie the length of Bale’s career, here is what you get:

For the last 6 seasons including 2012/13 so far:

Bale vs Theo - 6 Seasons B
Note: I have assumed that “Career Games Subbed On” is typically coming on at 65 mins approx, so I have pro-rated “subbed on” as 25/90 mins played, adding this to the Total Career Games number. Hence, for Theo, 96 games started plus 50 games subbed on nets out to 109 total games, and not 146 total games.

Well maybe it only looks so good because Bale played as a fullback in his first couple of seasons? Actually, on a relative basis it is Theo who has improved the most over the last few seasons…

For the last 3 seasons including 2012/13 so far:

Bale vs Theo - 3 Seasons B

The numbers speak for themselves. In every category, EVERY CATEGORY, Walcott is superior. But let’s highlight the big one: Goals and assists per game: Walcott slams Bale into the concrete with 62% vs 42%. That’s a Fuck Off difference no matter what way you try to spin it. Don’t tell me it’s because of Bale’s other duties. With a difference like that he must be playing in goal. But he cant be, given that he is taking 3.14 shots per game versus Theo’s 2.67. So he is actually given much more of the one-man-team opportunity than Theo is.

Bale is clearly greedy and profligate, by comparison.

Walcott, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, is and always was, a very serious and ambitious young fellow who works on his game continually. At 23 years of age, he is markedly more dangerous than just a couple of years ago. He gets better every year. So…

Theo vs Theo

While we’re at it, let’s look at how Theo’s first 3 seasons compare to his last 3 seasons

 Theo vs Theo B

Errr….he seems to be getting a lot better.

Diveyness: Bale vs Theo

And don’t get me started on diveyness. Ronaldo used to be a divey bastard but then decided to man up and stay on his feet. You won’t get the Ballon d’Or wearing a toutou. (This will not be a concern for Gareth.)

Bale scores a maximum 100/100 for being a Divey fucker. Whereas, Walcott scores a 0/100.

The Crown vs Bale: On the case of Diveyness: Exhibit A, B and C:

Per The Independent: “One of the few criticisms aimed at the speedy Welshman is that he goes to ground too easily – an accusation that surfaced most recently when he appeared to drag his trailing leg in order to win a penalty against Arsenal two weeks ago. 

The former Southampton man insists he is no diver, however, claiming that he only hits the deck so much because he is trying to swerve the late challenges of opposition players. 

If people want to say I’m diving then they can, but I’m trying to get out of the way and save myself, save my career if you like,” he said. 

“You can see why people say you’re diving but I’d rather get out of the way than get hurt, that’s what it is.

It’s football, a contact sport, things do happen and you’ve got to try to be clever with it

And regarding players making tough tackles on him: “You get used to it. I’ve got a few people sent off by doing that this year. You get up and get on with it, it’s a part of the game.” 

Note: Lately Bale has decided to cut out the middle man ie he doesn’t need the threat of contact to decide to throw himself to the ground these days:

Exhibit B:

Spurs vs Arsenal. No contact from Szczesny, despite Bale dragging his trailing leg for an interminably long time.

(We punished Bale for this dive ourselves. 5 times in this game. And 5 times in the next.)

Bale dive vs Arsenal

The Bale dive from the 5-2 Spurs game. Which one? I don’t know, do I?! I get them all confused.

And Exhibit C from ESPN’s Blog: written by a well-regarded Spurs blogger: Dan Fitch

Gareth Bale is a diver and Spurs fans are ashamed of him - ESPN FC

 

Theo and Diving:

Whereas, here is what Theo had to say on his first and last dive:

Theo Walcott sorry for diving in Leeds stalemate - Telegraph

“I want to apologise because I actually dived. I was trying to win the penalty,” Walcott said.

“I am not the sort of player to do it, but I own up to it and apologise. It is something I don’t want to see in my game.

“It was one of those things. I am not happy with myself, but I am happy with the draw. I even had a joke with the referee saying ‘that was my first dive, can you tell?’
“I don’t have to own up to it and I can’t speak for other players, but I have just expressed how I feel. I hope people respect that.”

Bless him, and his little cotton socks.

And as a bonus for all of you who stuck with a post so far, THIS is how you appeal for a penalty:

Oxlade-Chamberlain vs WBA.

Arsenal v W.B.A. - Matches - Arsenal Player(2)

Arsenal v W.B.A. - Matches - Arsenal Player

Look at that technique. Look at that form. Perfect!