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Champions League

Walcott return a welcome boost for Arsenal

Theo Walcott has returned for Arsenal after 10 months out with a cruciate ligament injury

By Mike Collett

ARSENAL got more than three points and three goals in their 3-0 Premier League win over Burnley on Saturday — they also got Theo Walcott back after 10 months out with a cruciate ligament injury.

The England winger came on for the last 10 minutes for his first appearance since damaging his knee in the FA Cup win over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Jan. 4 and is now likely to be in the squad for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Anderlecht.

Walcott is likely to be among the substitutes for the Group D match at the Emirates and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is delighted he is available again.

“It’s good to have Theo back. Hopefully he will come on and have no setbacks,” Wenger told reporters.
“After nine or 10 months out you have ups and down, so I will have to manage that well as I do not want to make a big mistake with him.”

Wenger also had a message for England manager Roy Hodgson ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier against Sloveniaon Nov. 15 and their friendly against Scotland in Glasgow three days later.
“If Theo wants to go, I’m happy for him to go and practise and maybe get a few minutes,” Wenger said. “Mentally, it will help him.
“Is he completely ready? I think it is a bit early but to be in the squad will be good for him.”

Wenger will take a cautious approach to the winger’s re-introduction to the first team and hinted he would not start against the Belgium champions, who were just minutes away from beating Arsenal in Brussels two weeks ago before the visitors won 2-1 with two late goals.
“I am not ruling it out but I don’t want to make a mistake,” he added.

Borussia Dortmund top the group with nine points from three games, followed by Arsenal on six and Anderlecht and Galatasaray on one.
Arsenal will definitely finish in the top two and qualify for the last 16 if they win and Galatasaray fail to beat Borussia in the other game.

In the Premier League, Arsenal beat Burnley with two goals from Alexis Sanchez and one from Calum Chambers, the defender’s first for Arsenal since his move from Southampton in the summer.

“It’s great to have Theo back,” Chambers said of fellow ex-Saint Walcott afterwards. “Everyone is just so pleased he is fit again.”

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