22 March 2013

Walcott Goes Down During Training

In news that at first blush appears bad for England and for Arsenal, Theo Walcott has suffered a strain during training for England's match against San Marino. Some sources report it to be a thigh strain, others, a groin pull. In either case, he'll miss the San Marino match and will be unavailable for the Reading match on March 29th and perhaps even the following weekend against West Brom. Of course, you never want to see one of our boys get an injury, but the timing of this one isn't all that bad. It may even be a case of using the injury sheet to buy a player some rest. That's a far-fetched notion, considering that Hodgson rarely does us any favors if he can avoid it. So it goes, I say. Give the lad a rest.

Given that Theo was not scored since January (tallying three assists, it's true), I don't mind if he has to sit. The only real drawback I see is that the San Marino and Reading matches might have offered him and others a chance to score some goals and generate some momentum. The opportunity to do so against San Marino is probably a bit higher than it might be against Reading, but then again, he'd playing with a bunch of other Limeys instead of Gunners. Playing against Reading would mean more as we could probably tuck in a goal or two and try to work out some kinks ahead of stiffer competition, say from West Brom or Everton. That is of course, dependent on actually scoring a goal or two in the first place. We've put four away in the last two games, so there's a bit of momentum there, deflated though it may be by the international break.

The other outcome to consider is that it might press other Gunners into action when they might otherwise have rested, namely Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. At 19, it's exciting to see him getting call-ups to the first team instead of wallowing with the under-21's. I'm torn between wanting him to play in order to build some experience or resting for the sake of resting. In the first case, it would be good to get some international competition. Then again, it's San Marino. All things considered, I'd rather the Ox rest and take notes on how more-senior countrymen play. The upside of playing is just too far outweighed by the downside. In fact, I'd recommend that Ox show up limping tomorrow just to earn a spot on the bench. In fact, coming on the heels of yesterday's post in which we looked at how injuries have hampered us all season, maybe every Gunner on international duty should get a mysterious ouchie that somehow, miraculously, clears itself up immediately after their matches are called.