When Theo Walcott was stretchered off the Emirates pitch smiling, holding his hands up to show the scoreline in banter with Tottenham fans during the closing stages of Arsenal’s 2-0 F.A. Cup victory over Spurs, I was optimistic about the injury.
It has been announced, however, that Walcott tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament and will miss the rest of Arsenal’s season, and likely the World Cup in the summer.
The injury comes as a major blow to Arsenal’s attack going forward. Walcott’s return to the squad following his oblique injury revamped the team, as he scored four goals in the ensuing four games. Now Arsene Wenger will have to fill a major void in the lineup.
While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is returning soon and Serge Gnabry thoroughly impressed in the tie versus Tottenham, Walcott’s combination of speed and technical quality will be almost impossible to replace. The loss of the consistency of a proven starter such as Walcott could be detrimental to Arsenal’s total push.
While the Gunners play a fantastic style with great passing and movement, the squad is in need of players to finish the opportunities it creates. The loss of Walcott magnifies that need even more, and Wenger may face no choice but to dip into the transfer market to bring a goalscorer into the team.