Arsenal must ensure Theo loss is not this season's Eduardo moment?

By Avenell Dave

I HATE Tottenham. I really do.

I despise the area, I despise their two bob way of handling almost everything and I love to beat them.

But I do have one or two Tottenham-supporting friends and relations (in law).

And to see some of the despicable abuse on Twitter and Facebook being thrown at Theo Walcott or fans of either club takes football into the gutter and not something I want anything to do with.

If Arsenal "fans" want to talk about gas chambers or Tottenham fans want to put up six fingers on one hand to show their delight at a player being injured, they have no place in football as far as I am concerned.

Maybe Theo was unwise to goad the visiting fans on Saturday, but he'd taken more than a smidgen of abuse and his gesture was hardly aggressive - he even had a smile on his face.

But losing him, despite his shortcomings, leaves us in real trouble.

He looked a real centre forward on Saturday and his pace has proved to be a real asset over the course of the season.

Whoever you support, seeing a player of his quality lose six months of his career and a possible World Cup place (which, while I don't care about England, the player deserves the opportunity to show his skills on the biggest stage) is particularly cruel.

Remember, despite all the talk of Arsenal being uncompetitive in recent years and failing to compete, it's easy to forget that we were challenging for the title a few years ago until Eduardo got his ankle snapped at Birmingham.

Regardless of what everyone said at the time, fighting talk that we would use it as a spur, our season ended then and there and you could argue that it has taken us years to recover.

Granted, the current crop of players is stronger both in terms of mentality and experience but even with all his faults, Theo's contribution leaves a big gap to be filled.

Some have said that it couldn't have come at a better time in the context of this being the start of the transfer window and meaning that he should be fit again for the start of next season at least. 

That's true, but we still have the issue of who will fill the breach for the rest of the season to keep us competitive while chasing honours and who on earth we could buy to fill the void.

I don't buy that this injury was down to over-playing but we do have a terrible record of long term injuries which seem to ensure that we rarely have a full squad to choose from.

I wrote about Serge Gnabry yesterday (again!) and I have no doubt that despite being raw, he could really add something to the squad and take over the mantel on the right side even though he will have as many difficult moments as good ones at this stage of his career, no doubt.

We also have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming back and while he may take time to get into his stride, he has to step up and put a disappointing second season behind him.

One man's tragedy is another's opportunity, after all.

Let's not forget that we haven't done too badly without Theo for periods already this season and before and while more firepower is imperative, if we can find the right players at the right prices - or even paying a bit more if that's what it takes - there's still a long way to go and plenty of reason to be optimistic.