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Wenger backs Walcott as Arsenal spearhead

Published on Dec 23, 2012 9:28 AM
Arsenal's Theo Walcott (right) is thanked by manager Arsene Wenger after being substituted during their English Premier League soccer match against Reading at the Madejski stadium in Reading, southern England Dec 17, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WIGAN, United Kingdom (AFP) - The jury is still out on Theo Walcott as a striker, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not about to jump to conclusions on the strength of a couple of games.

The England international and his team-mates have an unexpected Christmas break, a strike on the London Underground train network having forced the postponement of Wednesday's London derby against West Ham.

It gives Wenger the best part of a week to consider Walcott's role in the second half of a season that is suddenly shaping up well for Arsenal in the wake of their shock League Cup defeat by fourth-tier side Bradford City, albeit on penalties.

The Gunners have since won 5-2 at Reading and claimed a somewhat fortuitous 1-0 victory over Wigan on Saturday, courtesy of a questionable penalty award.

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