Theo Walcott claims Arsenal now better placed to challenge for Premier League title after Burnley and Swansea wins
Theo Walcott believes Arsenal’s last two wins show they have the right mentality to win silverware.
Walcott was virtually gifted a brace to set Arsenal on their way before Gylfi Sigurdsson stole possession off Granit Xhaka to reduce the arrears at half-time.
Mesut Ozil, on his 28th birthday, put the hosts two goals ahead after the restart but a first goal for Swansea’s record signing Borja Baston left Arsene Wenger’s side hanging on, especially after Xhaka was sent off for bringing down Modou Borrow.
The win means Arsenal are level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and follows a last-gasp victory over Burnley before the international break.
Most of Wenger’s sides throughout his 20 years at the helm have been accused of not being able to grind out those results but Walcott feels it is proof that the current squad has matured and is ready to challenge for honours.
Asked if Arsenal now had a new mentality, Walcott said: “The Burnley game, they were very well organised and we found it very difficult. But we all stuck in, showed patience and in time we got the win which was really important.
“Again against Swansea, we had to be diligent, be patient at times… but we still got the win even if it would have been nice to take the ball home on a personal note. But that’s not the case.
“The Burnley match was a game where we had to grind it out. This game, when we went down to 10 men, we tend to lose, to be honest. There’s some things that are slowly getting better.
“I don’t look at the table. I genuinely don’t. I feel all we can do is control ourselves and not really hope that other teams get results on our behalf. We can only control ourselves, if we play well we win games and that’s all we can do.
“We’ve been in this situation (top of the table) before. We started off this season before than we have recently. There’s always some sort of blip but hopefully we’re not going to have that this year.
“With the squad we have, if we keep players fit, with players coming back, then who knows… You can’t really call the Premier League this year. It’s so unpredictable.”
England international Walcott now has six goals in his last five games for Arsenal, but it should have been more as he hit the inside of the post and blazed wildly over the crossbar as he failed to stem the Swansea comeback with a late hat-trick.
“The most important thing was the three points,” he added.
“It was nice to get the goals, I should have scored three but it was more about the three points. I am happy with the goals.
“I’m happy with the general play and defensive play as well perhaps even more than the forward part of my game. I already know how well I can go forward but there’s also other bits to do and I’ve been doing that this season.”
Walcott is now just eight away from a century of goals for the Gunners but insists he will always put the club’s ambitions ahead of his own.
“It would be nice (to reach 100 goals), obviously,” he said.
“It’s a long season ahead. I’d be very disappointed if I don’t make that but then again I’d rather the team performs and we win something rather than a personal goal.”