Friday 21 October 2016

Liam Brady: Arsenal now have to win the title

Ex-Arsenal star backs Wenger to lift Premier League crown

Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott
Liam Brady in his Arsenal heyday

Former Arsenal midfielder Liam Brady has backed the Gunners to mount a Premier League title challenge after they clinched a record 12th FA Cup trophy on Saturday.

Goals from Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud handed Arsene Wenger's men a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley to record back-to-back FA Cup final wins.

Walcott said afterwards that the Gunners are "very close" to winning the Premier League and Brady agrees with the England forward's summation that a league title is firmly within their grasp.

"I listened to Theo Walcott's interview and I agree with him (that) we're not that far away," Brady said.

"Wenger will know that better than anyone and hopefully he'll improve things that bit more in the summer with signings and we really can challenge.

"But I wouldn't put a time scale on Arsene Wenger."

Arsenal finished the recently-completed Premier League season in third place - 12 points behind champions Chelsea - and Brady said they must avoid any more sluggish season starts if they are to challenge for league honours.

"You have to consistently get results (to win the Premier League) and I'm afraid the 12 points Chelsea got in front of us happened at the very start of the league," added Brady, who made 307 appearances for the Gunners between 1971 and 1980.


"Arsenal had very inconsistent results and just couldn't match Chelsea's winning run and once they got away from everybody they managed the situation very well.

"If you look at the results since the turn of the year, if they can replicate that at the start of the season I think we're in for a very exciting time."

Meanwhile, Walcott is confident his Arsenal future "will get resolved" as he joined the rest of the squad for yesterday's open-top bus parade around the streets of Highbury and Islington following the victory over Aston Villa.

Walcott said: "I am sure things will get resolved. I just want to enjoy today.

"I have got England coming up and then we can think about that process, but it will take time, I am sure."

Thousands of Arsenal fans braved the rain to cheer the squad from the Emirates Stadium to a civic reception at Islington Town Hall, celebrating the club's record 12th FA Cup victory after successfully retaining the trophy.

Walcott added: "We just showed it has been a great success this year, it has been a step up, to finish third (in the Premier League) and win the FA Cup in consecutive years. We want more and more of this.

"These players have the trust in each other and this has got to be a stepping stone now to challenge for the title, because this is what all of these fans dream of.

"We need to do it for them, they have waited a long time."

Manager Wenger is expected to strengthen the Arsenal squad over the summer, with reports suggesting Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech as a potential target.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes everything is in place for the club to again challenge for the game's top honours on a consistent basis.

Gazidis said: "We have had players along the way whose character has been questioned... but this team has enormous character and I think great potential looking forwards.

"There is a tremendous feeling this is the beginning of something, a platform and we are very excited about what we can do with this team," he added.

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