The 24-year-old reveals his side’s ambitions for next season, suggesting that more consistency earlier in the campaign will allow the Gunners to “compete” for the Premier League
Arsenal forward Theo Walcott believes that his side will have what it takes to challenge for the Premier League title next season.
The Gunners currently find themselves embroiled in a three-way race to finish in the Champions League places, with Chelsea and Tottenham within touching distance of them while they sit in third place.
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However, Walcott insists Arsenal have enough quality to be challenging for top spot and suggests that there is a shared desire in the squad to be “right up there” next term.
“We need to be having a bit more of a go at the league, definitely,” he told Sport Magazine. “We want to compete and we can do it.
“You saw when everyone was against us we had a great result like the one at Bayern – winning 2-0 away from home and then doing the same at Swansea. So we can do it; it’s in us, we just haven’t been at that consistent level to do it at times.
“We did need a little kick up the backside to get us back on track but, lately, I think we’ve worked harder as a unit, kept more clean sheets – everyone is in their positions and there’s more communication.
“I think you can see that the players want it a bit more because they want to prove people wrong. We want to show that we’re still a top-four team. Next year, though, we want to be right up there.”
Walcott also revealed that manager Arsene Wenger does not shy away from letting the players know how he feels if they underperform, although he stressed that a failure to perform is down to the squad, not their coach.
“People think he doesn’t let loose but he can – just in quite a calm way,” Walcott continued. “He lets us know [if we haven’t performed well] the following day, that’s for sure. There have been a couple of those this year.
“We all understand how much it means to him, as well as to us, and how much belief he has in us. That should be enough to spur us on to do it for him.
“He obviously puts his message and tactics across at training but, if we don’t do the job on a weekend, it can’t be down to the manager. We need to step up ourselves and not always let the manager take the blame.
“He always puts it back on himself and protects the team but us players know that we’re the ones who go out there and play. We do the job.”