Walcott ruled out for rest of league season
Published 15:53 21/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Arsene Wenger has ruled Theo Walcott out for the rest of the season after the winger left the Emirates pitch clutching his hamstring in Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Chelsea.
However the Arsenal manager believes Walcott will recover in time for England's assault on Euro 2012.
Wenger said: "It looks like a serious hamstring.
"First we assessed the hamstring, he wanted to go on and stay on the pitch, and I think he should have gone off straight away because the second time it was a real hamstring [injury].
"I think now for him it will be tough to come back before the end of the season. It is usually 21 days [minimum]."
"He should be OK to play for England, but I don't think he will be ready to play for us."
Walcott's injury was an untimely blow for Arsenal, who failed to further cement their place in the top four of the Barclays Premier League this afternoon.
Wenger was quick to lay the blame for the scoreless result at the feet of Chelsea, branding their play negative.
"Before the game, I thought it would be an open one - we had to win, they had to win," he said.
"They decided to lock up the game and catch us on the break only, with two wide players who are quick, and Fernando Torres.
"I felt we had a very solid defensive performance. Going forward, we didn't find our quick passing game and the regret we have today is that we played offensively with a handbrake and not as clean technically as we can do."
Wenger, whose side suffered a shock home defeat to Wigan on Monday, added: "That is why we didn't open them up enough. It was a bit similar to what we saw against Wigan and that's a regret I have today."
Wenger reserved praise for captain Robin van Persie, who missed several chances either side of half-time.
"He gave absolutely everything again today," Wenger said.
"He was unlucky in the first half, he had a free-kick he deflected and it was a clear-cut chance.
"Then, when he was through, I think he rushed his decision-making a bit, when he took it with his right foot, because he had Abou Diaby coming in completely on his own.
"And he was caught offside one time and I am not sure he was."
Wenger was sure, however, that Van Persie should have been awarded a penalty when Gary Cahill pushed him to the ground in the box in the 80th minute.
He said: "It was a very unfair result but it is a result.
"I think (we should have had a penalty), I think also we had chances. At the end of the game, we had the chances and they had zero."
Opposite number Roberto Di Matteo disagreed.
"Looking at the statistics, I think we had as many attempts and corners as they had," Chelsea's interim manager said.
"I think they had a couple of chances from set plays, they didn't really create any clear-cut chances.
"I think we looked dangerous on the break many times, but we needed more quality at the end of the match to get the points."
With three key games in a week, it was hardly surprising Chelsea made eight changes to the team which beat Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, but Di Matteo denied his squad was fatigued.
"It wasn't a question of resting, it was a question of selecting a team that could win the game against Arsenal," he said.
"We've had so many games, it was a crazy schedule - it wasn't going to be possible to play the same players in every game."
Di Matteo also refused to be drawn on whether Didier Drogba would be fit for Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp after missing today's game with a knee injury.
He said: "At this moment of time, I'm not sure, we will have to assess all players on Sunday.
"He's got an injury on his knee, so it's whether the progression on the injury is going to be quick enough."