Upon hearing Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will be out for six months due to a knee injury, a significant proportion of Gunner fans believe the news could spell the end of their club’s title chances this season. This is simply an overreaction.
While Walcott has been in fine form recently, it is important to remember that Arsenal lead the Premier League during a two-month spell earlier in the season when Walcott was sidelined with an abdominal injury. Arsenal’s key strength is their depth of talent in midfield and the loss of Walcott can be remedied in several ways. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is close to full fitness, while the emergence of German youth international Serge Gnabry offers another option on the right wing.
Despite playing his best football in the middle of the park, Spanish magician Santi Cazorla has played on the wing during his two-year spell at the club, and while there is no “good” time for an injury like this to occur, it is fortunate for Arsene Wenger that he has all of January to add to his squad if the right player becomes available. Schalke starlet Julian Draxler was linked with Arsenal as recently as last summer, while Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria was targeted by Wenger during the Mesut Ozil transfer negotiations in September.
Regardless of whether Arsenal enter the transfer market this month, they have the midfield talent to cope with Walcott’s injury and the recent return of Lukas Podolski will help share the goal-scoring burden, which French striker Olivier Giroud has been forced to carry for most of the season.