By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsene Wenger fears Theo Walcott could be sidelined for longer than three weeks.
The Arsenal manager has confirmed, as revealed by Football Insider on Wednesday, that Walcott has been ruled out for at least three weeks with a calf strain, while Wenger does not expect Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to play in the club’s three matches before the international break.
The duo will miss tomorrow’s Premier League trip to Swansea as well as next Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Bayern Munich and the north London derby on Sunday week.
Speaking today, Wenger admits there is no guarantee that Walcott, who sustained the injury against Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, will return against West Brom in three weeks’ time.
Asked about his gut feeling about the length of absence for Walcott and his team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger said: “One (Oxlade-Chamberlain) will be 20 days, the other (Walcott) a bit longer. But we have shown we can deal with injuries.”
With eight first-team players now sidelined, Wenger was asked if there was a pattern of injuries at the club. He said: “That is always the question you have to answer with injuries. You have to analyse every single case but also you can’t over-analyse. Injuries happen.”
In other Arsenal news, Wenger must decide who to deploy in the wide forward position at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow.
He observed: “My options are [Joel] Campbell or put another defensive midfielder such as [Mathieu] Flamini or put [Santi] Cazorla on the flank. I still have 24 hours to decide.”