Theo Walcott gesture to fans not aggressive, says Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists Theo Walcott should not face FA punishment after gesturing at Tottenham fans in their FA Cup third round tie.
Walcott signalled the Gunners' 2-0 scoreline to Spurs' supporters as he was being taken off on a stretcher after suffering a knee injury.
Wenger said Walcott, 24, was reacting to having coins thrown at him.
"I don't think he will be in trouble, he was not aggressive and he was smiling," said Wenger after the win.
"The doctor said to me coins had been raining on his head and they had to protect him and that is maybe why he did that," continued Wenger, whose side progressed with goals from Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky.
The England striker was pelted with more objects from the Spurs section of the stadium after making the gesture and it is likely the FA will study footage of the incident.
Walcott's Arsenal team-mate Jack Wilshere recently received a two-match ban for making an abusive hand gesture towards Manchester City's supporters in the 6-3 defeat at The Etihad.
Wenger added: "People will look for every single incident. It is a reaction but he didn't offend anybody.
"My response to the suggestion that he could be in trouble is to say the FA will have seen the pictures on television. If they judge it as offensive what can I do?"
Former FA chairman David Bernstein indicated the footage would be assessed.
"The key word is respect," he told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme.
"I think it is incumbent on everyone involved in football whether it be players, spectators, manager or officials, to behave with respect - it is a blanket word and all of these incidents generally show a lack of respect.
"They [the FA] will look at it for sure, I can't judge what they will do but they will look at it for certain."
Walcott, playing as a striker, had been prominent in Arsenal's play, but picked up the injury late on and Wenger is uncertain how long he will be sidelined.
"We don't know if it is a stretched ligament in his knee or just a kick. He took a couple of kicks. We have to wait and see," added Wenger.
If Walcott is sidelined for a lengthy period it will stretch Arsenal's attacking resources, with Wenger confirming Nicklas Bendtner will be out for a month with the ankle injury he suffered while scoring in the 2-0 win against Cardiff City on New Year's Day.
Olivier Giroud missed the FA Cup tie through illness and Wenger expects him to be ready for the visit to Aston Villa on Monday, 13 January.