According to reports, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is targeting his return from injury for the September 27th North London derby against rivals Tottenham Hotspur. The speedy winger/striker last played for the Gunners during a 2-0 third round FA Cup victory over Spurs in January. Walcott injured knee ligaments during the January victory, and famously used his fingers to show the winning score line to the visiting Spurs crowd while being carried off of the pitch.
The 25-year-old made his return to light training in July, and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave a timetable for Walcott’s full return to training back on August 14th saying, “Theo is, as I always said, end of August or start of September. That is back into training of course.”
News of Walcott’s return will be a massive boost for the Gunners, especially with last season’s team leader in goals, Olivier Giroud, being sidelined until December or January with a foot injury. Walcott, an England international, has scored 69 total goals for Arsenal since his arrival to north London from Southampton in January of 2006 (including a team-high 21 goals during the 2012-13 season).
The speedy Walcott is normally deployed out on the right flank, but can also be utilized as a center forward at times. Although many have called the Gunners “light” up front since the team sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2012, Arsenal’s current list of forwards including Walcott, Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Lukas Podolski, Danny Welbeck, Joel Campbell, and Yaya Sanogo seems fairly formidable.
With Walcott returning from injury soon, a potential front three of Walcott, Sanchez, and the incoming Welbeck, would give Arsenal a blistering starting trio of forwards to torment Premier League defenses for the near future. With Sanchez being the elder statesman of the three players (the Chile international will turn 26 in December), the Gunners now have a solid, young core group of forwards (not to mention 22-year-old Campbell, 21-year-old Sanogo, and highly-rated Chuba Akpom at just 18-years-old).
The Gunners have four matches on the calendar before the big north London derby against Spurs, including a Premier League match against Manchester City on Saturday, a Champions League game at Borussia Dortmund on the 16th, and a tricky Capital One Cup draw against Southampton on the 23rd. Walcott will most likely feature for the Arsenal reserves before making his season debut for the senior club.
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