x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Walcott adds to woe

If Arsene Wenger did not have enough problems at Arsenal, he must now wait and worry over how long he will lose Theo Walcott.

Theo Walcott in training for England. He later became the eighth player to pull out of the England squad due to injury.
Theo Walcott in training for England. He later became the eighth player to pull out of the England squad due to injury.

If Arsene Wenger did not have enough problems at Arsenal, he must now wait and worry over how long he will lose Theo Walcott The winger dislocated a shoulder in training as he prepared for last night's England friendly in Germany. Walcott will be assessed by the club's medical staff, but initial reports suggest he could be out for up to three months and that will leave Wenger furious as he tries to keep his Gunners involved in the battle for honours this season.

Disappointing defeats to sides like Hull, Stoke and Aston Villa, have left them struggling to keep pace with the Premier League leaders and they have not yet qualified for the knockout phase in the Champions League. The loss of Walcott, 19, for crucial games against rivals Chelsea and Liverpool will hurt Arsenal. Wenger, who has been critical of international friendlies during a busy schedule, said: "Our priority is Theo. We are all very disappointed but the important thing is for Theo to travel home and make a quick recovery.''

Arsenal will at least be relieved to know Didier Drogba won't be available to face them in their meeting on Nov 30. The Chelsea striker has been banned for three games for violent conduct by the English Football Association following the coin-throwing incident against Burnley. He apologised for his actions, but admitted the charge, and will also miss games against Newcastle and Bolton. Sir Alex Ferguson has been given a two-match touchline ban and £10,000 fine following his row with the referee Mike Dean this month. The Manchester United manager vented his fury after Dean did not send off the Hull defender Michael Turner for a foul on Michael Carrick during his side's 4-3 Premier League win.