After Monday’s 2-1 win over Newcastle United, Arsenal are only one point behind their bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on the premiership points table and their winger Theo Walcott, who set up both the goals in that last-gasp victory, has said that the Gunners are brimming with confidence.
Central defender Thomas Vermaelen’s 95th minute winner not only gave Arsene Wenger’s men all three points but also brought them to within touching distance of Spurs’ third place, which they have occupied oh-so proudly for several months now. But sitting that high on the Premiership table still is a new experience for them and Walcott believes that his club can snatch Spurs’ third place by taking advantage of their inexperience.
Speaking in an interview with Arsenal.com, Walcott said, “We want to win and make this Club into a club it should be. It’s been an up-and-down season but it’s the way you finish that matters. Tottenham, we’re breathing down their necks now and hopefully they can feel it.
“I am sure they are slightly worried. They have some top-class players as well and no game is easy in the Premier League. We will find it tough going away to Everton, so we will see what happens. We won’t get too carried away with this result [against Newcastle], we just want to push on and keep getting the three points. Then we will see where it takes us.
“It’s really important [to claim third] and hopefully we finish above Spurs as well. That is an even bigger bonus for the fans especially. It will be a very good year definitely. We are only one point behind Tottenham and nobody would have thought that a couple of months ago. It just shows how strong we are not only as a team but as collective individuals as well.
“I hope the derby will be a season-defining moment. Only time will tell and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves because we have a lot of tough games and so do Tottenham. But we don’t need to concentrate on them, we need to concentrate on ourselves.”
Arsenal have now won four consecutive matches in all competitions and their improved form is partly a result of Walcott’s better displays on the right wing. In addition to providing assists for both of Arsenal’s goals on Monday, he sent in several other quality crosses and showed how much his delivery has improved of late.
The 23-year-old England international says the prime reason behind his recent resurgence in form is that he is now more confident in his abilities than before.
He continued, “We try and play well in every game but if it’s not happening you just have to try and forget about it. In the Tottenham game I did that and since then I’ve just been expressing myself. I’m enjoying playing football at the moment, I’m still only 22 – 23 on Friday – so there is still a lot to come from me I’m sure. But I feel great, I’ve never played so much in my life on a consistent level for 90 minutes.
“It obviously helps when the team is winning as well, that is important. The confidence just flows through the whole team. We have a lot of players coming back to fitness as well so there is more competition and you want to be on your toes. We’re looking in good shape at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has confidently declared that their prized-asset Robin van Persie, who has been linked with a summer move to Manchester City in the British press, will stay with them for many more years by signing a new contract.
According to Hill-Wood, the Dutch superstar isn’t greedy for money like many other modern-day footballers and so he will ignore City’s $200k+ a week offer to stay with the club he loves.
“I think Robin and his family are very happy in London and I don’t think he is solely motivated by money as some players are,” the Arsenal chairman added.