Theo Walcott is set to boost both Arsenal and England by making a comeback in his club’s under-21 fixture against Blackburn on Friday.
The 25-year-old has been out of action for nine months after sustaining a cruciate knee ligament injury on January 4 in the Gunners’ 2-0 FA Cup win over rivals Tottenham.
The England international has been back in full training at the north London club’s training facility at London Colney but is now ready to get match fit and is scheduled to play for 60 minutes at Meadow Park.
With Walcott wanting to continue his rehabilitation and test his fitness against Blackburn, it will be up to Arsene Wenger to decide whether the former Southampton man is ready for a place on the bench in Arsenal’s Premier League encounter against Hull on Saturday.
The Gunners have endured an inconsistent start to the season and will be desperate to have Walcott, who has scored 45 goals in 194 appearances for the club, back in fold alongside the likes of Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in an attack full of pace.
The news Arsenal fans have been desperate to hear: Theo Walcott is back! Watch him in action here…
Arsenal are the 2/5 favourites to pick up all three points against Hull at the Emirates Stadium and Wenger could be tempted to give the winger an extra week’s rest before unleashing him on the first team.
The French boss could instead wait until next Wednesday when Arsenal, who are 3/5 to pick up back-to-back Champions League wins, travel to Anderlecht before including Walcott in his squad.
Whatever Wenger decides Walcott’s return is a major boost to a squad crippled by injures to Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal are 4/9 to qualify for the Champions League for an impressive 18th consecutive season but with Walcott back in their ranks they could set their sights even higher with a first Premier League title win since 2004, an eventuality available at 20/1 with the bookmaker.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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