Theo Walcott targets return against Manchester United

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Arsenal are set to be boosted by the premature return of Theo Walcott for the game against Manchester United, reports the Daily Mail.

The forward has not started a game for the Gunners in seven weeks following an abdominal injury that required specialist surgery.

But Walcott is planning on stepping up his training schedule this week and may be fit enough to travel with the squad to Old Trafford to face rivals Manchester United.

The return of Walcott will be a huge boost for the Gunners, who can effectively end Manchester United's title defence with a win at Old Trafford.

An Arsenal win will see them consolidate their five point lead and open up an 11 point gap on David Moyes' side.

Walcott was Arsenal's top scorer in the league last year with 14 goals but is yet to open his Premier League account this term.

It is not all good news for Arsene Wenger, however, as Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs struggle for fitness ahead of the clash and look certain to miss Wednesday's game against Borussia Dortmund.

Wilshere was left out of the squad that beat Liverpool 2-0 with an ankle injury while Gibbs was substituted with a calf strain. Both have a chance of playing on Saturday but nothing is confirmed.

 Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are not in contention for the game on Saturday as they continue their slow progression back to full fitness.

Oxlade-Chamberlain sustained a knee injury in the opening day defeat to Aston Villa whilst Podolski's hamstring strain occurred soon after in the Emirates leg of the Fenerbahce tie.

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