The international break is always a strenuous time on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
It always brings injuries, lack of confidence, and problems. Last season, the Frenchman lost talismanic striker Robin van Persie, who had just hit scintillating form, for virtually the remainder of the season due to an ankle injury sustained with the Netherlands.
The Gunners were also hitting their stride before the injury and it somewhat signified a falter in form as Wenger and his men lost two in a row. Last night, the 60 year-old was given more injury headaches, as inform winger Theo Walcott suffered an ankle injury. Fortunately for the Arsenal faithful, the injury suffered by the Englishman was not serious and should only keep Walcott's absence for under a month.
The 21 year-old is in blistering form with four goals in three games, three of which occurred in one game against Blackpool. This injury ensures a large piece of Arsenal's current attack disintegrates due to Walcott being an integral part in his right wing role.
With all injuries in any sport, the pain is another one's blessing as a role is now evident in the Arsenal XI.
A number of Gunners are capable and adaptable to perform on the right flank: Emmanuel Eboue, Tomas Rosicky, and Jack Wilshere loom as the favorites to replace the injured England starlet; but barring Eboue, Rosicky and Wilshere are better suited to the central midfield rather than the wings with both lacking the sufficient speed necessary.
Eboue is an able replacement and will bring added flare and creativity to the Arsenal attacking palette. However, there is no reason why Wenger cannot blood one of his renowned youngsters for the upcoming encounter with a doughty Bolton outfit.
Two players who come to mind as worthy replacements are Walcott's countrymen Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Henri Lansbury.
Emmanuel-Thomas has been outstanding in recent seasons as a prime leader in the Arsenal reserve and youth squads and last campaign endured some successful loan spells with Championship sides as well as current Premier League new boys Blackpool.
Primarily a left sided player, the 19 year-old would enable the rather shaky looking Andrei Arshavin to patrol the right flank, in hopes it will revive the little magician form. Emmanuel-Thomas is a strong, powerful winger blessed with great speed and control. Alongside those impressive traits, the young gun is a born goal scorer who has been more than prolific for the Arsenal reserves.
Lansbury is another English starlet who has been at the Emirates since the age of join, gradually working his way through the academy ranks. Over the last two campaigns, the 20 year-old has enjoyed stellar loan spells with Scunthorpe and Watford and is now ready to utilize his trade in the full time squad.
Rumors have it that Lansbury could be on his way with another loan spell, this time to Swansea. However, it seems it would be more beneficial for the England Under 21 star to continue training with the first side and risk receiving prime opportunities.
Lansbury would be a worthy candidate to replace Walcott for the short stint as the youngster possesses great speed and vision as well as credible creativity and a luscious cross. Of course, it is up to Wenger, but it appears these days to many Arsenal young guns are going to waste due to lack of opportunities.
With the current injury woes, there is no reason the likes of Emmanuel-Thomas or Lansbury cannot be given an opportunity.