Walcott out and Ramsey a doubt for Arsenal clash with Newcastle

The England international is not yet match fit after a groin problem, while the Welshman will face a late fitness test on a hamstring injury picked up against Galatasaray

Theo Walcott is out of Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Newcastle on Saturday while Aaron Ramsey will face a late fitness test, Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

Walcott has not featured since the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat to Swansea City on November 9 after a groin problem delayed his return to full fitness from a serious knee injury.

“The signs are quite good,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website when asked about Walcott. “He has had two days of training now but he now lacks competition and fitness to come back to a good level.”

Ramsey, meanwhile, was substituted at half-time of Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Galatasaray with a hamstring problem, having scored two goals – including a goal he subsequently described as “the best of my career” in the opening 45 minutes.

“Ramsey will be checked on Thursday and Friday, so we’ll see,” Wenger added.

Arsenal are already dealing with a number of defensive absentees as they prepare to face Newcastle, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal sidelined with calf and foot problems respectively and Calum Chambers suspended.

Mikel Arteta is also not yet ready for a first-team return as he recovers from a calf injury, but Wenger was keen to deny any suggestion that Jack Wilshere has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from his latest ankle problem.

“That’s completely wrong,” the Frenchman added. “He’s doing very well. He’s on crutches so I don’t see how he can have a setback.

“It’s frustrating because it’s hard enough for Jack to be injured. He doesn’t need the negative news on top of that. It’s always frustrating to deny things that are not true.”

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