Football - Wenger backs Walcott to lead attack

Manager Arsene Wenger is in no doubt Theo Walcott has what it takes to lead the Arsenal attack - but might have to do without the England forward in the next few weeks following a controversial end to the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham.

Walcott suffered a knee injury during the closing stages of Saturday's north-London derby at the Emirates Stadium, which was settled by fine finishes from Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky in each half as Spurs suffered their first defeat under new boss Tim Sherwood.

The England forward had caused problems for central defensive duo Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches with his pace all afternoon and on another day might have plundered a hat-trick.

Walcott's "2-0" hand gesture towards the 5,000 travelling supports amassed in the Clock End then made further headlines as objects, including coins and plastic bottles, were thrown at the stretcher and hit medical staff as they carried it around towards the tunnel on the half-way line.

Walcott is expected to avoid an FA sanction over the incident but could be sidelined anyway for a spell should his knee problem prove severe.

Wenger, though, is confident the 24-year-old has what it takes to give Arsenal a different option down the middle to lead frontman Olivier Giroud, who missed out against Spurs because of illness.

"I liked what Theo did because he played before in that role, but against Spurs he added purpose and commitment, more decisiveness to his game and a more fighting attitude," said Wenger, who revealed Denmark forward Nicklas Bendtner would be sidelined for up to a month with an ankle injury suffered when scoring in the 2-0 win over Cardiff.

"With that, he looks every time like he improves in that position and with the quality of players behind him, he can be very dangerous in that position."

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