“He will have surgery in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, thus missing the rest of the season and the World Cup.”
The news is always hard to hear, but in a World Cup even non-Gooners can feel for the youngster. Walcott missed two months with an abdominal injury, but on the season had started 13 of his 14 matches, with five goals coming in his last five appearances. That includes braces against West Ham and Manchester City.
This is a serious blow to Arsenal’s title hopes, as even Gunner players like Mikel Arteta have lamented the club’s attacking options. Walcott was hurt battling for possession with Tottenham defender Danny Rose in Arsenal’s 2-0 derby win over Spurs in the FA Cup’s third round this weekend.
Walcott’s pace has always been a major part of his game, but his all-around form was becoming more dangerous in recent weeks. His free kick toward goal that Olivier Giroud headed in to beat Newcastle before the New Year was a brilliant piece of football.
Those looking for a smile despite the harsh news could probably find it in Subbuteo Art’s recreation of Walcott’s now infamous “2-0” gesture to visiting Spurs fans after his injury.
Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.
Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.
Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.
Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.