Another blow for Arsenal as midfielder injured on international duty

Theo Walcott’s hamstring problem gives Arsene Wenger more headaches ahead of Swansea clash

Arsene Wenger was already coming to terms with the loss of defender Thomas Vermaelen for at least a month as he waited nervously for the rest of his players to return from international duty this week.

And his fears were confirmed when Theo Walcott was left out of the England side that defeated Wales 1-0 at Wembley on Tuesday night with a hamstring problem.

Walcott played the full 90 minutes of the 3-0 win over Bulgaria on Friday night, but struggled with the problem after returning to London and was not selected for the Euro 2012 qualfier against Wales.

The loss of Walcott was followed by more injury woe for Wenger this week, following hard on the loss of Jack Wilshere for two months and vice-captain Vermaelen, who will be sidelined for at least a month following ankle surgery.

The Belgian missed almost all of last season with an Achilles problem in his right ankle, and has now had surgery on his left one that will keep him out until mid-October.

“Vermaelen has undergone a minor procedure to remove an inflamed plantaris tendon from his left ankle,” said an Arsenal statement.

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“This is the same treatment that he had on his right ankle in January this year and has nothing to do with his Achilles tendon. He is expected to be back in training with the first-team squad in around a month.”

The long-term loss of Wilshere and Vermaelen has been softened by five new arrivals last week, but Wenger is stretched for Saturday’s visit of Premier League new boys Swansea.

Alex Song, Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson are all suspended, although Emmanuel Frimpong is available after suspension after missing the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United.

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