Walcott issues top-four rallying cry to Arsenal team-mates
The Gunners are currently fifth in the Premier League standings with Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Swansea lifting them to within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea, who hosted West ham late last night.
Along with Tottenham, two of the three clubs are likely to finish in the Champions League places with the other destined for life in the Europa League. Walcott admits his side have been their own worst enemy at times, but having shown their quality in an albeit meaningless victory at Bayern Munich last week, he won’t settle for anything less than a top-four finish.
“We want to be at places like Bayern Munich again,” the winger said. “It would be a tragedy for this team not to be in the Champions League. The way we played in Germany shows how much we have underperformed at times this season.
“It’s been up and down. For the big occasions, we tend to turn up - it’s just very frustrating. Since I’ve been at Arsenal, I’ve always been in the Champions League and I definitely want to keep it that way,” he added.
The Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Bayern may not have been enough to get through to the last-eight of Europe’s elite competition, but manager Arsene Wenger believes it can still have a significant bearing on the rest of their campaign. The Frenchman was delighted to see them back up that display at the Liberty Stadium,
but he admits the real test is to maintain those standards for final weeks of the season.
“You can’t question the attitude and the solidarity. Now they have to show this until the end of the season,” Wenger said. “There will be big pressure but I think we will come through it because we know what is expected and we have been here before.”
However, to achieve their Champions League goal they need to continue to put away teams they are expected to beat, as they did against the Swans. Too often this season have Arsenal taken their eye off the ball and dropped points they should have had safely in the bag.
A point Walcott acknowledged, saying: “I haven’t properly got my head around how we can beat a team like Bayern, but get beaten by some funny teams. We need to learn very quickly. We need to be more consistent and not make mistakes.
“We’ve made a lot of costly mistakes in games and only woken up once we’ve gone two goals behind.”