Theo Walcott to miss Manchester United clash with groin injury

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed in Friday's pre-match press conference that Theo Walcott has suffered a fresh injury while away on international duty with England, and will miss Saturday's crunch Premier League clash with Manchester United.

The 25-year-old has only just returned from a nine-month lay-off, having completed his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury picked up against Tottenham Hotspur back in January, but is now set for another spell on the sidelines with a new complaint.

Walcott made his playing return as a late substitute in matches against Burnley and Swansea City prior to the international break, with the Gunners boss edging on the side of caution by handing the player just 23 minutes of competitive action as he looks to protect him from a recurrence of the problem.

However, Wenger's careful approach has reaped no benefit after the £100,000-a-week star reported for training this week with a niggle picked up with the Three Lions.

"Theo is not available for tomorrow's clash, he has a tight groin," explained Wenger when briefing the media at London Colney this morning.

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He also revealed that Danny Welbeck would undergo tests with Arsenal doctors to determine whether he would be fit to face his former club, the Red Devils, at the Emirates this weekend.

"We will decide of Welbeck is fit after checking on him today," the Frenchman was quoted saying by the Daily Mail.

Walcott didn't actually feature in either of England's games against Slovenia or Scotland, so Roy Hodgson cannot be blamed for overexerting the fit-again star, especially after acknowledging the need to be patient with the explosive Gunners wide-man in the early phase of his comeback when discussing his return to the national team last week.

"Theo is not available for tomorrow's clash, he has a tight groin." - Arsene Wenger

Arsenal fans will still surely be frustrated by news of another setback for a player that has hardly featured for them in 2014, and it comes as a major blow ahead of their home meeting with Louis van Gaal's side.

The Southampton academy graduate might not have been picked in the starting XI against Manchester United, but Wenger would surely have been considering introducing him later in the match in the hope of having a decisive impact on the eventual outcome of the game.

Gunners supporters will also be keeping their fingers crossed over Alexis Sanchez, who only returned to England on Thursday night, and still needs to be assessed ahead of tomorrow's clash.

On a more positive note, Olivier Giroud has returned one month ahead of schedule and is back in contention for the matchday squad against Manchester United.

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Theo Walcott
Manchester United
Premier League

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