Tag Archives: Theo Walcott

Walcott Injured In Premiership Win

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Arsenal defeated Birmingham City 3-1 at Emirates Stadium on Saturday to capture its seventh straight win in all competitions, but the Gunners have lost Theo Walcott to another spell on the sidelines after the young winger limped off the pitch during the first half of the Premiership victory.

Robin van Persie and Abou Diaby scored early goals to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead over Birmingham before twenty minutes had elapsed on Saturday. With the home crowd expecting another easy victory for their high-scoring Gunners, Birmingham pulled a goal back before halftime when Lee Bowyer directed one home from six yards out after reacting quickly to a failed clearance from Vito Mannone.

Arsenal lost some of its fluidity in attack after the break, but did have some chances on goal to extend the lead in the second half. And after some nervy moments late on for Arsene Wenger’s side, Andrey Arshavin settled things in minute 85 with a neat finish off a counter attack, slotting the ball past keeper Joe Hart for the final tally.

Manager Wenger was pleased with the 3-1 result, but did tell reporters in his post-match interview (seen on http://www.arsenal.com) that the recent international break may have affected some players’ performances. “We were cruising, in control, two goals up and it looked like we could get more,” said Wenger. “You were wondering who would score the third goal. But we made a mistake defensively and they got back to 2-1.

“In the second half we did not have the same fluency or control in the game, not the same pace, but in the end I still believe 3-1 is a fair result because we had plenty of chances,” continued the manager. “Birmingham regrouped very quickly when they lost the ball and we lacked a little bit of sharpness. I feel also we tried to force the situation a little bit individually, especially in the second half, and that’s why we didn’t score more goals.”

“When we stick to our game, when we focus to play our game, it looks like we can play the ball through any space and that we can create space just as we want,” added Wenger. “That is something fantastic but we have of course to be focused on that and keep our composure.”

Walcott, replaced by Arshavin just after the half hour mark on Saturday, was on the receiving end of a crunching tackle from Liam Ridgewell earlier in the match and looked to be having a problem with a knee.

News from the club after a doctor’s scan on the knee on Monday was not good, with Walcott set to be out of Arsenal’s lineup for longer than first expected.

“We thought it would be just 48 hours, but it is a medial knee ligament, which is what I feared after the game. He will be out for three to four weeks,” said Wenger in a press conference the day before the team’s Champions League match at AZ Alkmaar in Holland.

The Birmingham City match was Walcott’s first start of the season after missing a couple of months due to a back injury suffered in preseason. The 20-year-old has managed just 54 minutes of competitive action this term, coming off the bench a week ago to score a goal on his return against Blackburn.

Other injury news from Wenger revealed that Tomas Rosicky has been ruled out of Tuesday’s Champions League encounter. Also diagnosed with a knee problem, Rosicky is expected to be fit in a few days, according to a quote from Wenger in an article from Chris Harris on http://www.arsenal.com.

However, Gael Clichy has been passed fit for the Alkmaar match, after recovering from an ankle injury that left him out of the Birmingham game. Carlos Vela also makes the trip to Holland, after returning to London later than other Arsenal first-teamers out on international duty last week.

But Nicklas Bendtner, Eduardo da Silva, Denilson and Johan Djourou remain on the sidelines, according the report from Harris, who added that Samir Nasri and Lukasz Fabianski will each begin their comebacks from long-term injury spells by playing in Tuesday’s reserve team match at Wolverhampton.

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Eduardo Fit; Theo Out; Where’s Vela?

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After encountering a slight groin problem in midweek that caused him to be withdrawn from the substitute’s bench against Celtic, Eduardo da Silva has been deemed fit to face Portsmouth on Saturday in Arsenal’s first home match of the Premiership season.

“Eduardo had a tight groin in the warm-up and he felt he could not play (on Tuesday),” said manager Arsene Wenger on Thursday. “He had no power and we had to change (the teamsheet) quickly.”

During that interview with ArsenalTV Online, Wenger reported no new injuries from that Champions League qualifier first leg in Glasgow. But, unfortunately, none of the injured players who did not travel with Arsenal for the European tie are fit to return for the weekend.

That group includes Theo Walcott, who was expected back for the Portsmouth match but apparently still has problems related to a back injury that flared up while on international duty a week ago.

“There is a slight concern (over Walcott’s back injury) but we believe it is a question of days and not of weeks,” the manager stated. “We will see if he is fit to face Manchester United next Saturday. It is always difficult to set a date. I thought he would be available for Celtic, I thought he would be available for Everton, but he wasn’t. That’s why we will be cautious.”

The manager mentioned Tomas Rosicky, Samir Nasri, Johan Djourou and Lukasz Fabianski when outlining the rest of Arsenal’s injured team members. But he made no mention of Carlos Vela, who was away with the Mexican national team for international tournaments this summer and may still be nursing an injury suffered during that time.

Some media sources have speculated that Vela’s absence in Arsenal’s first two games of the season might mean the club is looking to move the Mexican striker, potentially on a season-long loan to Fulham as part of a transfer deal to bring defender Brede Hangeland to the Emirates.

These rumors were included in a Wednesday article from the Associated Press, which also reported that Vela’s agent Eduardo Hernandez said the 20-year-old is recovering from an injury to his right ankle picked up during the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, and that Arsenal is resting him as a precaution.

The story claimed that it was not immediately clear when Vela would be fit, and Hernandez did not address the speculation over a possible loan move.

Wenger denied any current pursuit of Fulham’s Hangeland in his press conference today. But with more than a week left before the transfer deadline, it will be interesting to see if the expected departure of Philippe Senderos is the only Arsenal first-teamer to leave for another club this summer.

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Fabregas A Doubt For Celtic Clash?

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News on the eve of Arsenal’s Champions League playoff qualifier indicates that a number of Gunners — including captain Cesc Fabregas — face fitness tests ahead of Tuesday’s first-leg match at Celtic.

Already hit with injury issues prior to the start of Premiership play last weekend, Arsene Wenger’s side may now also be without Fabregas, Denilson and Bacary Sagna for the midweek European clash at Parkhead.

Wenger told arsenal.com’s Chris Harris of the new concerns which have cropped up since the big 6-1 win at Goodison Park. “From (the) Everton (match) we have Sagna who has a knock; we will make a decision about him tomorrow. We have some uncertainties about Fabregas and Denilson as well, but we will make a decision about them tomorrow as well.

“It is more than 50 percent that Cesc will play, much more,” added the manager. “He has a tight hamstring, I took him off at Everton because of that. Denilson has a groin problem.”

While the three will be evaluated before the match, Abou Diaby has been passed fit for the trip to Scotland. The French midfielder has overcome a groin problem that caused him to miss Saturday’s match.

Theo Walcott also sat out the Everton win and was expected to return for this Celtic game, but Harris reports that the winger will be out for longer than first expected, after learning that Walcott could also miss Saturday’s Premier League clash with Portsmouth after the back injury which ruled him out of England’s international friendly flared up again.

“We are not sure (if he is fit for Saturday),” Wenger told Harris. “It is a back problem which he took with England to Holland. He had a test this morning, it was negative.

“The injury happened before (he went on international duty), and they didn’t send him back from England because they thought it would be possible for him to play two days later,” noted the manager. “But it came back and he had to stop training when he had a test this morning.”

So, it seems the injury problems that plagued Arsenal last campaign have continued right into the new season — as, in addition to the new concerns addressed Monday, the Gunners will be without some first-teamers for longer periods.

Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Samir Nasri (broken leg), Johan Djourou (knee) and Lukasz Fabianski (knee) are all sidelined until at least September, set to miss out on a tough opening stretch of matches to begin the season that include the Champions League qualifier as well as away fixtures at Manchester United and Manchester City.

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Vermaelen Signs; Sagna Speaks

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Arsenal have made its first major transfer signing of the summer, as the club have officially announced that Belgian international defender Thomas Vermaelen has joined the Gunners from Dutch Eredivisie side Ajax.

“Thomas is a great signing for Arsenal Football Club, and we are all delighted that he is joining us,” said manager Arsene Wenger. “Thomas is a solid performer with good experience of Champions League and UEFA Cup football and is also a regular with the Belgium national team.”

Speaking on Vermaelen’s versatility, Wenger added that “Thomas is primarily a left-footed centre back, but he’s multi-functional and can also play at left back. He is strong technically with a positive winner’s attitude and I have no doubt his arrival will strengthen our team. Thomas Vermaelen will be a huge asset to Arsenal.”

Agreeing to a long-term contract with Arsenal for an undisclosed fee, the 23-year-old Vermaelen was club captain at the Ajax this past season, and made 143 appearances with the Amsterdam side.

Upon completing his move to the Gunners, Vermaelen told arsenal.com: “I’m just so happy to be joining Arsenal. This is a great club with a world class manager, high quality players and a fantastic stadium. Everything is set up for Arsenal to be very successful for years to come and I joined this club because I know Arsenal will be challenging for trophies.

“I have had a good taste of the Champions League during my time with Ajax and this is something I am looking forward to experiencing again with Arsenal,” continued the Belgian defender. “I’m also looking forward to playing in the English Premier League, which for me, is the best league in the world. Also, I just want to assure the Arsenal fans that I will give everything for this Club and I hope we can enjoy winning some trophies together next season.”

Speaking of Arsenal defenders and transfer talk, both Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna have been rumored to be among Real Madrid’s transfer targets this summers, yet each has made efforts to quash the links.

While Clichy spoke of his commitment to Arsenal earlier this week, Sagna responsed yesterday to stories in the French press linking him with a move to Spain, telling arsenal.com that “I have seen the quotes attributed to me in the French media today and I just want to put the record straight. These comments are not accurate and I’m not aware of any speculation linking me to another club. I am 100 percent committed to Arsenal.

“This is a great club and I’m proud to wear the shirt. I’m looking forward to returning for pre-season training in July and preparing for the challenges that next season will bring,” continued Sagna. “We have a great squad of players at the club and I know that we can achieve something together at Arsenal; my focus is nowhere else.”

In other news involving Arsenal players, both Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs were involved in England’s Under-21 win over Spain in its European Championship campaign in Sweden.

Gibbs played the entire match at left back, but Walcott was left out of the starting lineup by manager Stuart Pearce. He performed well when coming on the pitch in the second half, and a pacy run and cutback pass by the Arsenal winger set up England’s second goal (by James Milner). The win advances England to the semifinals of the U-21 tournament.

Pearce praised Walcott in the post-match press conference, commenting on the Theo’s attitude and influence after being dropped to the substitute’s bench for the match. The manager was also very impressed with the strong play of former Arsenal man Fabrice Muamba, calling his commanding display “absolutely unbelievable … I thought his performance was as good a performance in an England shirt in a holding midfield role as I’ve ever seen.”

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