England international Theo Walcott believes that qualifying in the Champions League will provide a massive confidence boost to the team, and will help the Gunners climb to the top of the Premier League table (via Arsenal.com). The player was speaking ahead of this weekend’s game against Aston Villa, where a win could mean that we leapfrog Leicester City to the top of the table.
The Foxes currently sit at the top of the League with 32 points, two ahead of us. However, they have a very tough run of fixtures in December which include games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. Provided we win our corresponding games, we can not only climb to the top of the table, but also build up a cushion between us and the rest of the teams.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Walcott revealed that the team were targeting this by the end of December, saying, “The confidence in that dressing room is spreading out to all the players. That is what you want going into this Christmas period because during it, it is where it pans out where you are going to be in the Premier League at the end. So come January, we will see how it goes.
“The Europa League wasn’t even in our mindset at all. We felt we were going to go through. We wanted to win and the Champions League is where we want to be. All the guys work tremendously hard to make that happen.
“The manager told us that at the start of it. We didn’t want slow build-up play – we wanted a nice tempo to the game – and it worked for us. We are pleased but we’d like to make this job a bit easier next time.”
Arsenal will not have to worry about the Champions League for a while yet, although we will find out who our opponents are going to be on Monday. The Gunners will certainly not want to back themselves into a corner once more in Europe, since we cannot rely on making such escapes on a regular basis. Hopefully, enough players recover from injury so that we are able to be fully prepared going forward in all competitions.