Wenger ‘not worried’ by Walcott woes
Arsene Wenger insists he is unconcerned by Theo Walcott’s poor form, but admits the Arsenal striker is "not completely himself" at the moment.
Walcott has been a frequent visitor to the treatment room this season after incurring back, knee, hamstring and rib problems that have limited him to just five first-team starts.
The 20-year-old played in the 3-1 FA Cup defeat by Stoke last month and was a second-half substitute as Arsenal succumbed to Manchester United by the same score last Sunday.
"I am not worried about Walcott," Wenger told the club’s official website.
"What you can’t expect from Walcott at the moment is what he cannot give you.
"He needs some time to play and come back to full fitness. He has only played a few games this season.
"If he stays injury-free now, he will have a good end of season. But at the moment he is not completely himself."
Walcott will be included in the squad for Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash with Chelsea, but his fellow striker Eduardo has been ruled out.
The Croatia marksman has failed to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in the goalless draw with Aston Villa last week.
Midfielder Abou Diaby could return from the calf problem that has kept him sidelined since mid January as the Gunners attempt to nudge their title challenge back on track.
"Diaby is not yet back in normal training," Wenger told TV Online.
"He progresses very well but we will still have to wait until Saturday. He is a maybe. Eduardo is already ruled out."
"Theo Walcott is back and available so Diaby is the only question mark we have. All the others are longer term injuries."
Wenger has confirmed that Robin van Persie is not expected to recover from his foot injury until April after a report had stated the Dutchman might be available by mid March.
"For Robin, the rehabilitation is going well but anything before April would be a little bit premature," he said.