When Theo Walcott went down against Tottenham in the FA Cup third round tie over the weekend, Arsenal fans across the world held their breath as they waited to see how bad it really was. With initial reports surfacing that it may be only a matter of four weeks before he returned, fans let out a relieving sigh. Unfortunately, the club reported today that the speedy Englishman had torn his ACL and would be out for at least six months.
The Club regrettably announces Theo Walcott has been ruled out for at least six months with a knee injury. Story: http://t.co/Q0wPjxjCxj
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 6, 2014
Walcott’s injury is a devastating blow to the Gunners’ title hopes at a crucial part of the season. Having just returned from a previous injury in the past month, the injury leaves the squad thin and will undoubtedly force Arsène Wenger to make some signings during this January transfer window if he still wants to challenge for silverware this season.
Walcott had scored five times in his last six starts and looked to be the man to lead the charge for the Gunners as fellow Brit Aaron Ramsey had cooled off from his blistering form in the beginning of the season. Now, with Nicklas Bendtner injured and Lukas Podolski still finding his form up top at striker, Arsenal is left with just Olivier Giroud to carry the load. While the Frenchman is capable of doing so, it’s difficult for the club to expect fantastic performances from this week-after-week, especially with the busy schedule upcoming.
While the injury to Walcott is a big blow in regards to the title race, the Gunners do have the young German, Serge Gnabry, playing very well right now. Also, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to return to training very soon. While these two can do their best to fill the void on the right wing, neither can effectively play the role of backup striker.
January was always thought to be a crucial period in Arsenal’s title hopes with the opening of the winter transfer window and the schedule increasing in number of matches played. With Walcott’s injury, January just became even more important. It’s up to Wenger to make the correct moves in the market if the Gunners want to end the silverware drought in 2014.