Thoughts On Theo Walcott’s Injury And How We Should Line-up Without Him

By on September 24, 2013

With Arsenal dealt another injury blow today with the news that Theo Walcott is out for around a month, blogger Gooner Daily looks at how it will impact upon the team over the coming weeks.

Theo Walcott

Just when we thought that Arsenal had suffered enough injury problems, the injury gods have taken another victim – Theo Walcott. The Englishman was included in the starting line-up for last weekend’s clash against Stoke but he was replaced on the 11th hour by young winger, Serge Gnabry.

Arsenal went on to win the game but Arsene Wenger confirmed today that Walcott will be out until after the next international break after being pencilled in to undergo a minor operation on an abdominal injury in Germany on Wednesday.

The Gunners have a very busy treatment table but with Walcott joining the never-ending injury list, Arsenal will be desperately short of options on the right wing as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla, three players that have manned the right flanks in recent times, are still out injured.

The Ox had a fine game against Aston Villa and even created a chance for Olivier Giroud but a clash with Antonio Luna resulted in the winger wearing clutches, as he damaged his knee. Cazorla also has an ankle injury and it has been mentioned that he would return around the next international break while Rosicky is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness.

Arsenal’s run of fixtures in the next few weeks will be another cause for concern, as the Gunners take on West Brom in the Capital One Cup and this would be followed by a trip to an in-form Swansea side, a heated Champions League clash against Napoli, another away trip to West Brom in the league, a home clash against Norwich, one of the first of two games against Borussia Dortmund, an away clash with Crystal Palace and the month of October ends with a Capital One fourth round fixture.

Theo Walcott has grown to become an indispensable member of the squad, and his vital strikes in his 21-goal campaign last season were important in Arsenal’s surge for a Champions League berth. This season, he hasn’t hit the ground running in terms of goals but it was his assist that was enough for Arsenal to win the North London Derby against their free-spending fierce rivals, Tottenham.

Following the record acquisition of Mesut Ozil, Walcott would have easily bagged himself a hat-trick in the Stadium of Light if he came with his shooting boots. However, he provided a good outlet for Ozil to thread his inch-perfect passes and at some point it was more of a case of how good Westwood’s goalkeeping was rather than how poor Walcott’s finishing was. He opened his goalscoring account for the season with a technically-proficient finish against Olympique Marseille and we can only hope that the floodgates with open from there.

Walcott’s blistering pace remains his key asset but his overall game has vastly improved as he has become a good team player, creates a lot of assists for his teammates, clinical with his finishing (bar Sunderland, this season) and like Aaron Ramsey, he always wants to improve more on his game. He also has the ability to stretch defenses, which is a very useful asset for the team especially during counter attacks.

With Walcott, the Ox, Rosicky and Cazorla not available for selection, Arsenal may hand an extended run of games to Serge Gnabry or Ryo Miyaichi. The young German didn’t really impress me against Stoke and besides his long range effort, he didn’t really stamp his authority on the game as he was always quick to pass the ball to a senior teammate. The Capital One clash against West Brom will offer him another chance to prove his worth and I’m sure he would want to take it with open arms.

Ryo Miyaichi is another player that will come into the fray as the season progresses. After successful loan spells at Feyernoord and Bolton, the young Japanese winger had a torrid time in Wigan as he suffered a lot of injuries, and he couldn’t make his mark on the recently-relegated outfit.

While Gnabry and Miyaichi will play in the League Cup, Arsene Wenger will have to decide how best to line-up over the coming weeks in the Premier League and Champions League and I can see us going with a formation like this:

Injuries are part and parcel of the beautiful game and I wish Walcott a speedy recovery, but with our squad stretched to breaking point it looks as though we’re going to have to get creative with how we line-up during vital up-coming games.

How do you think we should line-up in Walcott’s absence? Share your suggestions below.

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

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One Comment

  1. Ian Hawthorne

    September 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Personally I’d put Arteta wide on the right. He played winger for Rangers and Everton, has a quick burst of pace and is our most accurate passer

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