Theo Walcott believes his side has the inspiration and determination to make their way back into the top four permanently this season.
The weekends battling performance against Sunderland demonstrated Arsenal’s resilience and winning mentality despite Wilshere’s forced substitution and Jenkinson’s red card, where the Gunners managed to hold onto a 1-0 lead despite a barrage of late Sunderland chances.
Arsenal are set to embark on a season defining four weeks of football where Wenger’s men are set to face Blackburn this weekend in the FA Cup fifth round tie, Bayern Munich twice in the UCL as well as vital fixtures against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Top four rivals Everton. But Walcott believes they are in good stead after the past few battling performances that seen the Gunners move within four points of fourth.
The England international told Arsenal’s official website:
It was an important win. The three points have us on a high and we’ve got a nice week now without any midweek game.
A lot of players are back from international duty and need a bit of a break. Some may be rested for the FA Cup game, but that’s just as important as we want to go far in that competition. If we lost [at Sunderland], we would have been dwelling on it for so long, so I’m glad we didn’t.
We’re very confident [of finishing in the top four]. We can battle through any sort of situation. The teams around us are winning as well, but we’ve just got to make sure we look after ourselves and try to win as often as we can.
We’ll see where we are at the end of the season but we’ve got to show the belief we did at Sunderland. I felt there were a lot of winners in that dressing room and the boys were fantastic.
Wenger will certainly need to rotate the squad for the Blackburn fixture with the likes of Wilshere, Cazorla and Walcott the likely candidates for some rest bite. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho will provide options on the wings, while Rosicky should start in the attacking midfielder role with Diaby slotting in behind – now that is some depth!
If the Gunners can keep the aforementioned players fit, as well as the full backline and Giroud re-finds his scoring boots then Arsenal can reach the top four, but it will be a tough fight. Wenger’s side haven’t lost for five matches now and they must continue the streak through the tough upcoming fixtures. Bayern will be the toughest opponents but beating the Spuds, Everton and then Swansea not long after will be instrumental to securing Champions League Qualification. Like Walcott said however, it is achievable if they continue to demonstrate the belief and battling mentality we saw against Sunderland.