Walcott a doubt for Spurs clash

  • Last Updated: November 16 2012, 7:49 GMT

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott faces a fitness test ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with north-London rivals Tottenham at Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott: Suffered an injury to his buttock muscles

The 23-year-old pulled out of the England squad for the midweek friendly in Sweden after suffering an injury to his buttock muscles in last week's 3-3 draw against Fulham.

Arsenal will also assess goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who could be back in the side for the first time since September after recovering from an ankle problem, while midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another who will be monitored.

Manager Arsene Wenger said on the club's official website, www.arsenal.com: "They all have a chance to be in the squad.

"Walcott came off against Fulham and will have a test, so will Szczesny."

Wenger, though, revealed there were concerns over whether to throw Bacary Sagna into action once again following the France full-back's return from a broken leg.

He added: "It is just for general fatigue. Sagna has played three games quickly, but before that he didn't play for six months."

Midfielder Jack Wilshere should come back into the side after he was suspended for the Fulham game, provided he shows no ill effects from his England appearance in Stockholm, where full-back Carl Jenkinson made his debut, also as a second-half substitute.

Wenger will be hoping his jet-setting squad show few signs of wear and tear from this week's travels, which included a trip to Panama for Santi Cazorla, who was not used by Spain.

"I believe he didn't need games," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "He was overloaded with games so on that front I was happy that he got a little breather.

"It is not a complete breather because 20 hours travelling is of course not what we want. It's the advantage and the disadvantage of being called up in a squad. At least he didn't get injured and hopefully will recover before Saturday."

Arsenal slipped 11 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United last weekend, as the ability of Wenger's squad to mount a serious title challenge was again brought into question.

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis maintains the often-criticised shrewd financial management of the Gunners will soon show rewards on the pitch rather than just the balance sheet.

He told BBC Sport: "We are at the stage where some of the commercial deals that were tied into the construction of the stadium, and enabled us to take that first big step, will be renegotiated.

"When that happens, we will take the second big step forward and that will be comparable in magnitude to moving to the stadium itself.

"At times it's been a challenging project, but we will have catapulted ourselves into the elite clubs on the European scale and that, for us, has been what the last 10 years has been about.

"Very clearly, it will push the club forward and put us into the top five clubs in the world in revenue terms, which will be a fantastic position to be in."


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