Illness rules Walcott out of Wolves clash

Arsenal were without England winger Theo Walcott because of illness for this afternoon’s Barclays Premier League clash with Wolves at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal were without England winger Theo Walcott because of illness for this afternoon’s Barclays Premier League clash with Wolves at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners would move back into the top four with a victory, while captain Robin van Persie was aiming to set a new club record for goals scored in a calendar year.

Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun, who scored the winner at Aston Villa before Christmas, both started in midfield, with Aaron Ramsey on the bench, while Johan Djourou recovered from a groin problem to start in defence. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made his 50th Arsenal appearance.

Wolves were looking to keep themselves clear of the relegation battle, and handed a first Premier League start to 18-year-old Irish midfielder Anthony Forde, while Stephen Fletcher led the attack.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Benayoun, Gervinho, van Persie.

Subs: Almunia, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Arshavin, Chamakh, Coquelin, Miquel.

Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Jarvis, Henry, Forde, Hunt, Milijas, Fletcher.

Subs: De Vries, Elokobi, Stearman, Ebanks-Blake, Hammill, Doyle, Guedioura.

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

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