Pace root of Walcott injury woes says Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that Theo Walcott's pace could be at the root of his injury problems.

The 21-year-old England international turned in a fine individual display as he helped himself to a double in the Gunners' 4-0 Carling Cup victory at Newcastle, which booked their place in the quarter-finals.

It was his first start since his return from an injury suffered on England duty and the Frenchman looked on with fingers crossed as he rode a series of committed challenges with no ill-effects.

Wenger said: "At his pace, when you get stopped, you are always vulnerable.

"Tonight, he got one or two tackles and he got away with it because he did not have his full weight on his standing leg.

"But against Switzerland, for example, what can you do? He is not vulnerable because of his injuries, it was a tackle.

"When you play against a player who is so quick, sometimes you can mistime tackles.

"It's not necessarily always that you want to hit him, but he is so quick that you think, 'Now I can get the ball', and it has gone away."

Walcott was simply too quick for Chris Hughton's much-altered side - both managers made nine changes - although Arsenal were the beneficiaries of two slices of good fortune as they established a 2-0 lead with 53 minutes gone.

The had gone ahead in first-half injury time when Ryan Taylor attempted to clear Nicklas Bendtner's header off his own line, but saw the ball come back off keeper Tim Krul and drop into the net.

But there was more than a hint of controversy about the Gunners' second when Bendtner appeared to come from an offside position and block Mike Williamson as he attempted to head off Walcott, who finished with some style.

Bendtner's 83rd-minute strike and Walcott's second two minutes from time wrapped up a deserved win, but the Magpies could be forgiven for feeling somewhat aggrieved about the way the foundation was laid.

They will now turn their attention to Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with derby rivals Sunderland, a fixture which carries far more weight than tonight's for the supporters, and they will do so with the club having attempted to draw a line under speculation about the manager's future.

The Magpies issued a statement after the game insisting they hope to renegotiate Hughton's contract by the end of the year.

The former Republic of Ireland international said: "I presume the reason it was said was because of the unjust speculation that was flying around in the last few days.

"One thing it [the speculation] doesn't do, it doesn't deter me from the job that I am doing.

"Is it a help? Of course it's not a help; is it something I welcome? Of course it is not something I welcome.

"But one thing I can guarantee it doesn't do, it doesn't take my focus off the big job that I am employed here to do."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project