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Thursday 8 December 2016

Walcott feels Arsenal more battle-hardened

Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott believes Arsenal's last two wins show they have the right mentality to win silverware.

The Gunners played with 10 men for the last 20 minutes of Saturday's 3-2 win over Swansea as the visitors threatened to come from behind, having won at Arsenal in the past two seasons.

Walcott was virtually gifted a brace to set Arsenal on their way before Gylfi Sigurdsson stole possession off Granit Xhaka to reduce the arrears at half-time.

Mesut Ozil, on his 28th birthday, put the hosts two goals ahead after the restart but a first goal for Swansea's record signing Borja Baston left Arsene Wenger's side hanging on, especially after Xhaka was sent off for bringing down Modou Borrow.

The win means Arsenal are level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and follows a last-gasp victory over Burnley before the international break.

Most of Wenger's sides throughout his 20 years at the helm have been accused of not being able to grind out those results but Walcott feels it is proof that the current squad has matured and is ready to challenge for honours.

Asked if Arsenal now had a new mentality, Walcott said: "The Burnley match was a game where we had to grind it out. This game, when we went down to 10 men, we tend to lose, to be honest. There's some things that are slowly getting better.

"I don't look at the table. I genuinely don't. I feel all we can do is control ourselves and not really hope that other teams get results on our behalf. We can only control ourselves, if we play well we win games and that's all we can do.

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