Walcott’s injury leaves Wenger with selection dilemma

Hello again. How’re you going?

There’s only one real item on the agenda today and that’s the unfortunate news that Theo Walcott has dislocated his shoulder while training for the English national team and faces up to three months on the sidelines. When it rains, it pours and all that.

Walcott’s injury is nothing short of a big blow for Arsenal for two reasons. One, it leaves us without one of our first-choice players for up to three months and two, it once again leaves are thin squad short of numbers for the weekend clash against Manchester City. With Cesc Fabregas suspended, Emmanuel Eboue still injured (to my knowledge) and now Walcott out it leaves the manager with quite a dilemma to find a winning midfield combination for Saturday’s game.

On one hand I think we’ve been unlucky here but on the other hand a bigger squad is able to deal with these situations. Just look at the way Chelsea and Manchester United have handled their injury problems in the early part of the season. And while I understand that we simply don’t have the finances to bolster our squad in the same way that these two clubs I can’t help but feel that if we had just one more established midfielder available then this situation wouldn’t be such a problem.

Perhaps Walcott’s injury will open up the door for someone like Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere or even Carlos Vela to get a little run in the first team, which would be good for one of them on a personal level. But it’s not a great situation for a club that is desperately trying to keep pace at the top. Alas, I don’t want to go down that garden path again now so I’ll leave it there.

The only thing really left to say is ‘get well soon Theo’. I should also apologise for the lateness of the blog today, I’ve had pretty bad headache and only now have I felt anything like being able to sit down at a computer and write.

Anyway, back to bed. Have a decent morning if you can.

Have your say on Walcott’s injury by leaving a comment.



  1. Still feeling your b’day sf? looking at at glaring screen with a headache is the worst. we should see nasri on the right and vela on the left with denilson, diaby and cesc in the middle ramsey and wilshere in reserve and maybe bischoff might get a look in. The gazette is great but the interveiws with the regulars is a must me thinks, maybe the 1st issue of the month, as I feel this is one of the most inteligent blogs I’ve read with people’s comments included and none of these wankers saying 1st all the time, just and going right off the subject matter or just plain stupid people that know nothing about the team and just slag off other veiws without any of their own.
    Let’s just hope all the other lads come back in good shape and are any of our african contingent on duty as jet lag will have an effect and we will be stuck without toure and as much as he’s my least fav at the moment big ade.

  2. @ butterfingers – Not birthday-related but as you say, looking at a computer screen when headachey is the worst. I should really go to bed.

    Thanks for your comments about the Gazette. Will get the interviews started again this week hopefully. I’d like to get some reader contributions in the other sections too. Just need some time over the Christmas break to pull it all together.

  3. It’s about time Wenger started blooding the youngsters into the main team instead of just the Carling Cup, so yes I would be very happy to see Vela, Ramsey or Wilshere in the first team for Saturday’s game.

  4. I think Sidwell said it all when he said teams play Arsenal and know they can get something at of it, even when Arsenal is at home. No one is intimidated by Arsenal anymore. We have been way too soft for far too long. I also don’t think Wenger is the man to get us back to that level that teams go to Arsenal and know they cannot gain anything. I think an article i read said it best.

    “The time has come for Wenger to dispense with fantasy and replace it with a game plan that will give his club the success it craves. The glory, glory football should only be on show when games are in the bag, but they are a long way short of considering any showboating on this evidence.”

    Our style of beautiful football will always make us beautiful losers in today’s football. As the person who wrote the article said, there’s a time and a place to play beautiful football and in a close game, its not the time. We need to be able to dig out wins, in games we probably don’t deserve to win. Arsenal have not proved they can win ugly over the last 3-4 seasons and until then, no one will dread playing Arsenal. As i said, I don’t think Wenger is the man to get Arsenal to that point. Stubbornness is NEVER a good quality to have in a position of power. He is just too stubborn to change.

    A draw at Man City would be a good result, but Man City is a team in real need for a win to take pressure off their manager, so i wouldn’t be totally shocked if we lose again. Esp if the squad consists of Denilson and Bendtner.

  5. I hope we’ll get to see Ramsey play right midfield on Saturday – he played there in the second game against Fenerbache, and even though we drew I thought he had a cracking game!

    Elsewhere, there are good news on the official Arsenal website today, with Wenger stating how delighted he is with Djourou’s progress and how hard he’s currently pushing for a first-team spot. For the whole season I’ve felt that our best center halves are Djourou and Toure, and while we most likely wont see them together for some time, I sincerely hope Djourou can get a start instead of Silvestre…

  6. I think Wilshere should get the chance. Ramsey is a CM therfore should not play on the RW and Vela i think is not a good winger and he played on the left for Osasuna aswell. Diaby and Denilson will start so i see Ramsey coming on and if Nasri stays fit he will be on the left.

  7. John Terry seems to think ruling Arsenal out of the title race is stupid. I think he is just taking the piss to be honest.

    The title is beyond us, we are too inconsistent and lack the fight against the less glamorous sides. I’d be happy to take a top four place right now. And I think we will.

    Aston Villa seem a threat right now but they will run out of steam. They are not used to combining the Premiership and Europe.

    The last few years have seen Arsene Wenger put the FA Cup into third place in his priority’s. That needs to change. I fancy Le Boss to put stronger interest into this season’s run, and unless it interferes with the Champions League, we could win it.

    The Carling Cup will see the progression of the kids as usual. The semi-final beckons in my eyes and that would be another good account shown by the mini-mes.

    And last but not least, that leaves the Champions League.

    The Champions League is the holy grail to Arsene Wenger. I believe Arsenal can win it this season. Our football style suits the competition and the players raise their games for the big sides.

  8. Lets face it, he will play Diaby out left (why does he do that?), Nasri on the right, Denilson and Song in the centre. Ramsey? Vela? Keep dreaming -when will you people learn?

    And he won’t give Djourou a chance, once again he’ll keep Toure on the bench despite the fact that he is our best defender (and we could really use keeping him happy for the sake of bringing in his brother!).

    I just hope its RVP and Ade up front, then we should be okay.

  9. Its gotta be Vela in his spot untill Rosicky gets back…

    And I thought through the January transfer window in the case that Adebayor is sold… I said earlier that we would need a tall striker who can score with his head to replace him… This is why I think Wenger has been linked to Iaquinta from Juventus.. So the Iaquinta + De Rossi combo would work but ideally here is what I want:

    1. Sell Adebayor to Real in January (25 million +)
    2. Buy De Rossi from Roma
    3. Buy Mario Gomez from Stuttgart
    4. A tall rock of a CB (Dont know who but Metzelder and Zapata have been thrown around this board…)

    People have totally forgotten about Gomez after his poor Euro campaign but I think he could be a great great fit for us…

    Strikers: Van Persie, Eduardo, Gomez, Vela
    MF: Nasri Fabregas, De Rossi, Walcott, Rosicky + Denilson + Diaby + Youngsters to throw in to vary the lineup and conserve energy…

    Our D would be set as well… In the summer we would look for a GK if there is one available that would suit our needs- and we would focus on resigning everyone…

    Sell Adebayor, Buy Gomez and De Rossi, and I will feel extremely confident about the squad…

    I honestly think that Wenger has considered this and thats why Iaquinta was linked to us…

  10. @ MoMoney

    Im glad you didnt make the case for Iaquinta at Arsenal lol. He is not the man to replace Ade. I don’t talk bad about my countrymen when they play at the National level often, but we don’t need Iaquinta to do Ades work. They are one in the same player. They both miss many chances before they can net one. He is better as a set up man, as thats mostly what he does for the Azzurri, he sets up Di Natale. So if Eduardo is healthy, it may be a good signing, because he can play long balls down to the feet of Eduardo. Iaquinta would score goals of course, but i couldn’t see him scoring more then 10 goals a season with anybody, but especially in the Premier League. So i agree that Gomez would be a better buy then Iaquinta, but i would like to see Huntelaar at Arsenal, he is a pretty big lad and he can score brilliantly. But De Rossi should be number 1 on Wengers list, i dont think De Rossi would leave to play in England, but if there’s any chance of it Wenger has to get him.

  11. Totally forgot about Huntelaar i dont know how… Id love to have him as well… I agree that De Rossi is number one priority IF he is willing to leave… He would be the tenacious, never back down player we need in the midfield alongside Cesc + he is really talented… This notion has me quite excited all of a sudden…

  12. Swop ade for yaya and henry back from barca and then go and try to get richards from man city even they don’t need the money now. also schmichael from west ham would also be good as his dad was awesome.

  13. @ MoMoney

    100% agree. Arsenal i dont think have ever had a DMF with such ruggedness as De Rossi would bring. Not even Vieira in my opinion brings a toughness to a MF that De Rossi can bring, he is very much the next Gattuso. Only flaw is sometimes he does pick up stupid red cards. I’m sure some remember the red in the WC against the Americans, but its the toughness and never back down attitude he plays with that sometimes gets him in trouble. De Rossi would also bring a boost on dead ball situations. He can cross the ball beautifully as well as he did today against Greece for a Toni goal. Also he has a wicked shot and can shoot from any where near 35 yards out and beat any keeper who isn’t fully concentrated from that distance. I think De Rossi is a MUST for Wenger to buy. He has to do anything to lure De Rossi to Arsenal. He is a very loyal player as well and i know Wenger loves loyalty.

  14. Credit: RespectsHighbury: Top Top Post

    1. It is a tough situation we find ourselves in. The fact is that I am undecided over the Arsene Wenger affair. Peeler has a point about Arsene raising expectations – but the fact is, that our expectation are not actually that high.

    Arsenal have won nothing for coming up to four years now – yet the manager remains in a luxurious position. Compared to United and Chavs, our expectations are diluted if anything.

    This season most Arsenal fans would be happy to finish in fourth place. These are not the aspirations of a club that moved to ‘compete with the best in the world’.

    Since Arsenal have made the move, they have spent the net sum of sod all in the transfer market. I admit that the board are the true root cause of the problems – but I am afraid Wenger has plenty of blame of his own to cop here. He needs to be under pressure. I have been one of those making all manner of excuses under the sun for Wenger. However, he is now untouchable and it isn’t healthy.

    Of course he is an excellent manager and brilliantly capable man but the fact remains that he has not proved this for four years. One needs to look at some of the things taking place On the pitch: going to Sunderland and playing a defensive 4-5-1 with Song as the fulcrum of your defensive strategy is insanity.
    Going to Fulham and having none of your players turn up, put in a tackle or defend set-pieces with professionalism. Going through the motions at home to Hull and losing to a Championship side at home. Going to a team that could not score from open play if their lives depended on it and failing to prep your team to defend against their Only viable goal-scoring threat. Losing to a long-ball Championship team like Stoke. Having Villa come to the Emirates and run riot, outplaying and out-thinking our lethargic and unresponsive team.

    Throughout all of this we are not helping the club if we continue with this ‘Arsene Knows’ policy. I am not yet saying I think he should be sacked – but he Should be given an almighty ultimatum imo.

    Some players at the club are playing with no pride. I do not think he commands the full respect of his players at all. If he did then no manager sees more than one utterly spineless display in a single season. Ferguson was furious with United at Everton but they were profligate more than anything and could have buried Everton 5-0 by half-time. How many spineless Bin Dipper performances have we seen this season? Chelski are supposed to be the mercenary’s team of choice but their players have shown more commitment and desire than ours.

    Hull. Fulham. Stoke. Sunderland. Villa.

    That is Five spineless ‘performances’ in a season that is barely a third of the way through. This is quite simply unacceptable. I honestly think Wenger has lost total control of the situation and the dressing-room. His refusal to utilise the transfer market means that Arsenal are hampered. Make no mistake the only way this side can compete next years is by clearing the dross and acquiring some serious quality.

    The fact is Wenger needs to be udner serious pressure and it must start with the fans. This does not mean vocally calling for him to be sacked but reiterating the importance of winning and pride.

    I think it is also important to cite that Arsene Wenger earns more money per year than every club manager in Europe bar Scolari. Our wage bill is supposed to be on a par with United’s but the two clubs are in different leagues of success. How do you explain that? It means Arsenal and Wenger are choosing to pay extortionate wages to players who scarcely deserve them.

    I think that when a club nets in excess of £234 million turnover per annum, and pay more than any club in Europe to watch their team get hammered by Villa, then their fans have a right to have high expectations. If we are supposed to be happy with fourth place then we should have stayed at Highbury and charged lesser prices.

    Wenger’s salary of over £4.5 million per year, our ticket prices and the board’s paradoxes: something has got to give. People talk about the ‘dark days of GG’ and I remember them well.

    And I insist: every single one of George Graham’s teams was superior to the one we have today. That is a fact. If you don’t believe me then watch replays of any of the goals we have conceded this season.

    The manager’s position is far too comfortable for someone on £4.5 million per annum. Either ticket prices come drastically down, either Wenger has his salary slashed by 33% or either Wenger is handed an ultimatum.

    The problem we have is that no ultimatum will ever be forthcoming, seeing as the board love ‘yes men’ and Wenger is the ideal one.

    Also it appears increasingly possible that Carlos Vela may be loaned out. If that happens then I think a season of erratic errors may have just gone overboard.

    The situation with Wenger is far too unhealthy and we can no longer placate the whole thing with ‘Arsene Knows’. Fans have to demand more from this club.

    2. If you want me to sum up the outrageous madness of Wenger’s dithering and insistence on saving up enough for conkers and a packet of space raiders then, it’s going to have to be back to my two favourite examples.

    Exhibit 1: The Sao Paolo president held talks with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal and requested Arsenal pay Sao Paolo a fee of £9 million for a young attacking midfielder by the name of Ricardo Kaka.
    Arsene Wenger was unimpressed by the £9 million price-tag and insisted Sao Paolo lower their demands to £8 million. So £1 million stood between Arsene Wenger landing what is for me today, the best footballer in the world alongside Messi; and failure.
    In the end Wenger refused to budge on his ‘valuation’ of the player.
    Berlusconi and Milan didn’t mind though and nipped in, paid just over £9 million and the a European footballer of the year later, the rest is history.

    Exhibit 2: In the summer of 2005 (could have been 2006) Arsene Wenger went to hold talks with Bayer Leverkusen head honcho (Alofs believe his name is) over the transfer of their star striker, one Dimitar Berbatov. Leverkusen were asking for £10 million but Arsene Wenger refused to go above £9.5 mil.

    Rudi Voller was so incensed by Arsenal’s tight-fistedness that he even went public and asked how come a team that had just received £14 mil from the sale of Patrick Vieira could be haggling over a measly half a million pounds.

    When Martin Jol nipped in and offered £10.5 million for Berbatov, Leverkusen were thrilled to stick it to Arsenal and sold him immediately.
    Wenger could have made another £20 mil on top of that had he signed Berba and then sold him on.

    This is the problem. BnT asked a very legitimate question: when was the last time that Arsene Wenger went out and made a quality purchase for the defence? Toure was a bargain-basement find. Ditto Clichy. Lauren was signed as a midfielder which was the position he played at Mallorca. Sol Campbell is the only true quality purchase ever made and he was surprise surprise, free.

    When you pay for Song and Silvestre, of course you end up with a couple of oafs. I am not saying all expensive signings are best but, finding magic bargains, good as Wenger is at spotting these; is a much harder thing to achieve these days.

    The fact that Andy Linighan would walk into the current side is testament to the serious problems in this side. Make no mistake, had Linighan played at Stoke then Arsenal would have won. Because Linighan can head the ball and attack it.

    I said this to my Gooner mate on the phone tonight: Wenger reminds me of a top sous-chef who can cook you fillet mignon, foie gras and make you the finest cassoulet – but that is incapable of frying an egg or making beans on toast.

    This Arsenal team can do the most complex and intricate of technical aspects. First touch, eye of the needle passing and sumptuous phases of action. However…

    They cannot do the basics. Silvestre, the ridiculous Song and co. cannot track a man. They cannot head the ball. They cannot hold a zonal marking line. They cannot play a decent off-side trap. Our midfielders cannot tackle. They can not shoot from long range (bar Nasri). Their crossing is poor. None of our players bar Van Persie could actually score direct from a free-kick. Some of our players can hardly cross the ball.

    If you want a perfect example of the lack of discipline at Arsenal then to illustrate my point look at Diaby in the Villa game on Saturday. In the first half, Diaby performed a beautiful 360 pirouette in the first-half. A real kodak moment for the highlights reel. What followed the 360 though? Nothing. It was pretty for the sake of it and that was it.

    For the rest of the match Diaby failed to pull off a single through-ball, hit a single shot on target, make a single tackle of note
    or improve the team-play as befits his position.

    But hey, he did something pretty for the highlights reel eh? Wenger’s lack of ruthlessness is costing Arsenal. People say Diarra had to go because he was ‘disruptive’? I thought Gareth Barry’s comments and behaviour were far more disruptive over the summer but Martin O’Neill has a strict regime of discipline. Villa are having their best season in years so far as a result. Ronaldo was disruptive with his desires to leave for Madrid but, back to back league titles and a European cup later (not to mention 42 goals last season) does anyone think Ferguson is bothered?

    The problem is that Arsenal have haemorrhaged top-class players that have not been replaced for years now. When Hleb left last season so many fans mugged him off. He was under contract and should have been made to stay. He left, we received cash that we actually did not spend since we banked a profit in the transfer market over summer.

    The problem is that the top players are permitted to showcase their talents and then leave, once they decide to realize their financial and trophy ambitions elsewhere. As for the ghastly players of the standard of Song, Almunia and Diaby, they are given pay-rises and first-team football.

    The problem with Wenger’s softness is that it protects the dross and sheds the true quality in my opinion. Wenger is still a top manager but his decisions are now beyond erratic and his team selections and inability to make telling substitutions are starting to cost Arsenal in a big, big way.

    Oh and he has also confirmed on the French television tonight that he ‘will not be active in the January market’ and that ‘nothing is decided’ on the Fabianski to PSG issue. Which suggests that there is something in it?

    It matters not what Arsene says ‘behind closed doors’. There is a reason Ferguson publicly bollocked his players after the Everton and Arsenal matches. There is a reason Mourinho publicly hammers his players, fines and disciplines them for acts of insubordination.

    In the past Arsene Wenger had Adams, then Keown, then Vieira and even to an extent Henry, to carry the disciplinarian baton. Now that they are all since departed and Wenger is in charge of maintaining the discipline, all hell has broken loose. Song ignores his captain’s instructions. Imagine that. A piece of shite like Song who is a nothing in the game, disrespecting Toure.

    Wenger can no longer delegate disciplinary matters to his captain any longer because he does nto have any true leaders. Hence we are floundering and see the same mistakes week after week on the pitch.

    My point: imagine what Ferguson and Mourinho would have done after surrendering a match in such pathetic fashion as that 4-4. There would have been public humiliation. These managers know what they are doing: they have European cups and Wenger has none.

    Yet after the Spuds game, exactly the same culprits are picked, no public rebukes in the media, no fines are meted out and Wenger gives the world the impression that the reason we did no win was because we ‘failed to score a sixth’. Overlooking once again the lack of discipline in the side.

    No one can hence be surprised by the turmoil we are in.

    (“Thanks Respects. This man is spot on about current Gooner’s situation” A+)

  15. DiRosi is in my opinion one of the best DMF in the game.

    I really think he would excell at a premiership side..would love to see him at united.

    ps. his never leaving Roma to go to the premiership so id keep dreaming

  16. @ Gunnerblog.com – That is a ridiculously long post. In the future could you look at just grabbing the important bits instead of the whole thing?


  17. @ Ronaldo7.

    I am from Italy and i have already said its doubtful DE Rossi (not Di Rossi) will go to England. There’s no dreaming on our part. You don’t see many Italians in the BPL for a reason. We are proud of our own league. Plus its easier to learn Spanish speaking Italian then it is to learn English. There’s a lot that goes into the decisions for Italians to stay at home of go to Spain. DE Rossi is a product of the Roma youth squad, so he is VERY loyal to them and i cannot see him leaving. definitely wouldn’t go to a shit side like Man United.

  18. De Rossi is my personal favorite too. It’s very unlikely that he will play for Arsenal or any English teams but he is the type of player we need right now. Since Arsenal board and Wenger are being less ambitious every *ucking season, I doubt many top players like to join us. Believe me or not, Udinese’s Zapata and Inler are top class players but they didn’t want a move to Emirates simply because our club cannot attract best players anymore. Nasri is French and he loves Wenger style, that was a different case. Wenger said he will definitely sign a experienced midfielder, he tried few bids but he miserably failed. Now he has Denilson, Song playing in that position. Even Hull and Fulham has better defensive midfieder than Arsenal. This is a fact everyone has to accept.

    That’s a long-long post from Gunnerblog.com but I loved reading that article. Whoever wrote it, full credit to him.

    Like Gunnerblog.com says I would be happy with 4th place finish(I bet all Arsnal fans would be) but even fouth place is not for granted. Few other clubs in the league are rising and Arsenal are falling.

  19. Also, Some Arsenal fans who were bashing Cesc in a pathetic way should have watched him play today in Spain Shirt. Cesc has been out of form just because his midfield partners like Denilson, Song and Diaby are a bunch of shites with no footballing discipline. It was only a friendly match but he looked far comfortable playing with good players around him today.

    I heard some fools saying that if Cesc is that good why cannot he cannot win every game for us. Oh Lord! Cesc is not a matchwinner like Del Piero who can strike a freekick anytime or Messi who can dribble past many defenders and score, Cesc is a playmaker. Playmaker always need a good support from the whole team. At Arsenal we have Almunia, leaky defense, vacant CDM and lazy strikers.
    Cesc played in triangle with Hleb and Flamini last season making Arsenal one of the best teams in Europe. This season we have Denilson for Flamini and Diaby for Hleb.Ramsey and Wilshere would do better than those lazy sulks.

    Wenger was brave enough to start season with Almunia in goal, Silvestre at the back, Denilson in the middle.. He still says we have “quality and character”.

  20. @gunnerblog.com.
    Top top post…and thats too much for the comments section. I have to say i agree with every single point he said. It really is a pity we are in such a situation. I still dream of having henry and viera in the side…

  21. @spanish fly,
    I enjoyed every bit of Gunnerblogs post.Do you mind? There are a few people who can actually read lenghty write-ups

  22. I hope Wenger is saying Walcott will be out for 5 months to take the pressure off the kid. Hopefully we will see him end of february.

    Get well soon Theo and hope you have speedy recovery.

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