No Per, no problem for bumping Walcott

With his usual celebration partner Per Mertesacker out, Theo Walcott gave this lucky fan at the Emirates Stadium the time of his life.
With his usual celebration partner Per Mertesacker out, Theo Walcott gave this lucky fan at the Emirates Stadium the time of his life.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Theo Walcott made up for Per Mertesacker's absence at the end of their 3-1 FA Cup victory over Sunderland - performing his traditional "bump" celebration with a fan instead.

Earlier in the week, the Englishman posted a montage online of his recent celebrations with Mertesacker, who was not part of the squad for the third-round tie.

At the final whistle, Walcott beckoned a young fan past stewards, gave him some instructions, then sent him flying. He also gave the teenager his shirt.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made a total of five changes with fixture congestion in mind, but said afterwards that the number of players returning from injury - plus possible transfer activity - will see them through the busy schedule.

"I believe that the next step is to get (Tomas) Rosicky back, (Danny) Welbeck back, (Alexis) Sanchez back, (Jack) Wilshere back and maybe we will get one player in," said the Frenchman, who rested a number of players on Saturday, including Mesut Oezil. "Overall, I think we have no new injuries so I'm not worried."

While Wilshere and Welbeck may not be back until the end of February, Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky could both be in contention for the Premier League trip to Stoke on Sunday.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2016, with the headline 'No Per, no problem for bumping Walcott'. Print Edition | Subscribe