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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 20 September, 2019

We are not completely stupid! Wenger defends decision not to start Walcott

The Arsenal boss was adamant his attacker’s fitness situation did not allow him to start against Watford.

Arsenal attacker Theo Walcott
Arsenal attacker Theo Walcott

ARSENE WENGER HAS vehemently defended his decision not to start Theo Walcott in the Gunners’ disappointing 2-1 Premier League defeat to Watford.

England international Walcott put in a Man-of-the-Match display in the 5-0 FA Cup battering of Southampton at the weekend, netting a hat-trick against his former club after Danny Welbeck had scored twice.

However, Walcott was only among the substitutes against the Hornets at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday and only came on at half-time when Arsenal were 2-0 down.

Wenger, though, says he has no regrets over his decision because Walcott is still working towards full fitness having spent time on the sidelines with a calf problem.

“Walcott played in the second half,” Wenger responded when asked about Walcott’s absence from the starting XI.

“If you look well at his history, he has not played for five and a half weeks. He was stiff still Monday. I kept him out of training Monday.

“We have three games this week. We know well, we do not think we are completely stupid in the way we make decisions.

“I think it was a good, normal decision.”

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