There is a worrying motif developing at Arsenal where players returning from lengthy injuries suffer a series of niggling setbacks, thus extending their rehabilitation period considerably.
Since his horrific leg-break sustained at Birmingham City last season, Eduardo da Silva had recovered sufficiently to feature for the first team. However, he was then sidelined due to a hamstring complaint but is now fresh again for the weekend.
Perma-crocked midfielder Tomas Rosicky has not graced the grass at Arsenal's Emirates home for over a year and he is still some weeks shy of making a full return.
Theo Walcott is the latest star to suffer a setback and will consequently be withdrawn from the England Under-21 squad from which he was recently called up to.
Speaking to journalists assembled at a pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger said, "The bad news for us is that Walcott got injured today in training. He has a scan on his knee today. We are a bit surprised and worried. He was in good form coming back.
"I won’t say he’s out for the season, however, he’s out of our game at Newcastle [United] and for England. He will have a scan and we will know more later about how long he will be out.”
Regarding Champions League quarter-final opponents Villarreal, whom the Gunners knocked out en route to the final in Paris three years ago, Wenger said, "It’s a difficult 50-50. Villarreal we know, we have experience of playing them before.
"It's a good opportunity maybe to play the first game away from home but it's hard to be creative in your statement at this level. It goes down to the players’ performance and also staying injury free as players head into the international break.
"Hopefully we will be in a good situation."
On the alleged Cesc Fabregas spat with Hull City assistant manager Brian Horton, Wenger stated, "I have spoken to Cesc and he denies categorically what has been asserted by Hull. We are open to any investigation from the FA and will co-operate fully as we normally do."
Manuel Almunia will return to the first team squad ahead of the club's trip to Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
Alan Dawson, Goal.com