Theo Walcott - Injury update and projected return fixture for Arsenal star

The latest on Theo Walcott's fitness after his injury sustained for Arsenal at the weekend.

Arsenal's Theo Walcott's cheeky response to Spurs fans as he was carried off late in Saturday's FA Cup win picked up many a headline but deflected from the serious matter at hand.

The forward going down injured was a sight no Arsenal fan wanted to see, and there has been no decisive statement on player's fortunes.

There are instead several reports in national newspapers from yesterday evening suggesting Walcott faces around a month out of action.

The Guardian write: "Arsenal fear Theo Walcott will be out for four weeks with the knee injury that forced him off in Saturday's 2-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. Walcott will undergo a scan on Monday but the early indications are that he strained ligaments after the 81st-minute challenge with the Tottenham full-back Danny Rose."

The Independent concur: "Theo Walcott will have a scan on Monday to ascertain the damage done to his knee late in Saturday’s 2-0 derby win over Tottenham. Should the test reveal ligament damage, as Arsène Wenger fears, the Arsenal manager may be forced into the transfer market. Wenger initially hoped Walcott had merely taken a kick but the indications are that his injury is more serious."

Greek striker Konstantinos Mitroglou suffered a similar injury for Olympiakos at the end of November, and hasn't played since - with the prognosis for strained knee ligaments around a month.

If the Guardian is correct that Walcott will miss four weeks, that would rule him out of the following fixtures:

Aston Villa (a), Fulham (h), Coventry (h), Southampton (a), Crystal Palace (a).

Walcott would face a race against time to be fit for an important three-game stretch of fixtures which begins on February 8: Liverpool (a), February 12: Manchester United (h), February 19: Bayern Munich (h).

Walcott has been in superb form since returning, bagging five goals in six games before his late injury against Spurs.

Losing him for a month will be rough with other injuries, but perspective must be gained that Arsenal will have Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud fit hopefully for the next month, which is an improvement on Nicklas Bendtner and Olivier Giroud with which Arsenal coped admirably for the whole of October and November.

Arsenal may even go out and sign another striker, so providing they can come through what looks a favourable set of fixtures over the next four weeks still on top - it could become a blessing in disguise.

If the injury is no longer than the one month projected, and Walcott returns in time for the Liverpool fixture on February 8, then it will remain inconvenient but not unmanageable or disastrous.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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