Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has dedicated his team’s recent 7-1 mauling of Blackburn Rovers to their under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners dominated the relegation-threatened side last weekend, which was the first time that they collected all three points this year. The lopsided victory means that Arsenal are now just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who threw away a three-goal advantage against Manchester United on Sunday.
Before the thrashing of Blackburn, Arsenal had endured a disappointing run of three defeats and a draw, as a result of which, they had slipped down to the seventh spot on the league table behind the likes of Newcastle United and Liverpool. Walcott says that a positive result is just what they needed to revive their hopes of finishing in the top four.
“The boss always takes a lot of stick from everyone criticizing him, but us players need to look up to him because he’s been taking it all. We are the ones who go out there and put out the performances and sometimes they have not been good enough,” Walcott said in an interview with Arsenal.com.
“There are so many world-class players in the dressing room, so it is disappointing when we come back from Bolton with a 0-0 draw where we had a lot of chances. It has just been one of those frustrating seasons. Hopefully a lot of those frustrations came out against Blackburn, where everybody stood up for themselves.”
The England international provided assists for both of Arsenal’s first two goals, which were scored by their star striker Robin van Persie. He then again turned provider for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s second and although he couldn’t get on the scoresheet himself, he played a major part in many of Arsenal’s attacking moves.
Throughout his Arsenal career, Walcott has been criticised for not having the ability to deliver the final ball or finish attacking moves, but he certainly silenced his critics against Blackburn.
He justified his lack of goals by saying that his main job is to create chances for his teammates.
“One of my main jobs as a winger is to get assists. The goals are a secondary thing. Some of them against Blackburn were just tap-ins so it was like a goal really. I hope it made Robin’s job easy,” he added.
Meanwhile, Wenger has expressed his confidence about his team’s chances of dragging themselves back among the top four on the Premiership points table. The North Londoners’ next league assignment is an away fixture against Sunderland this weekend, and coach Martin O’Neill’s men are expected to provide a stern test for Wenger and company. After the Sunderland game, they will play Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle in a sequence of fixtures that can make or break their top four chances.
Now that Arsenal have found some form, they need to be consistent in their upcoming matches and the Frenchman believes that his troops will do just that.
“We still have real hope that we can finish the season the strongest. We have a good spirit and desire within the group – and we have quality. We know that with the position we are in we need an exceptional consistency, so that is the challenge we have in front of us at Sunderland,” Wenger said.