Speaking after the 2-0 win against Aston Villa, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott praised his teammates Petr Cech and Olivier Giroud (via Arsenal.com). The England international, who has just returned from injury, played on the wing for the second game in a row and was a regular threat out wide for the Villa defence.
The heroes of the night were Cech and Giroud however, both of whom set personal records as Arsenal climbed to the top of the Premier League. Cech recorded his 169th clean sheet in the League, which puts him joint top on the all time list (via the Daily Mail). This was also the veteran keeper’s seventh clean sheet this season for the Gunners, and his confidence and experience at the back has changed our entire defensive outfit. Speaking about his impact, Walcott said, “From when we signed him, we all knew how good he was [after] what he achieved at Chelsea. On a personal level, for him it’s great.
“He’s changed us completely in that back four. He’s a talker, he believes in us all.
“That’s why he wanted to join us and having that presence behind you is always nice to have. He’s very commanding, he’s a leader in the dressing room as well, he always likes to talk.”
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud continued his good run of form up front by scoring a penalty to give Arsenal the lead. The French striker increased his tally to 50 goals for Arsenal in the Premier League with that strike. Walcott believes that the Frenchman is a ‘dream to play with’, saying “It’s not just his goals, it’s his general play and everything about him. The way he holds the ball up, he blocks it and defends it, and he works hard from the team from defensive corners and everything.
“He’s in great form at the moment. He’s a dream to play with and he makes our job a lot easier. As soon as I won the penalty, I just knew that he would score.
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“Confidence is streaming through him and you want that in the busy Christmas period. You want players that are on form and he’s definitely one of them.”
This form will help us as we go forward into games against Manchester City and Southampton, which could allow us to build up a gap at the top of the table. If we manage to do so despite the absence of several key players, it will set up a great platform for the second half of the campaign and allow us to compete on multiple fronts with much more confidence.