Walcott: Arsenal braced for trophy tilt
Theo Walcott believes Arsenal finally have the stability to launch a serious challenge for trophies this season, urging his side to replicate their strong away form by turning the Emirates Stadium into a fortress.
The Gunners' 2-1 win at Marseille on Wednesday continued a ten-match winning streak on the road, extending to last season's defeat of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Although Arsene Wenger's side have come under criticism for their eight-year trophy drought, things appear to be heading in the right direction, with the north Londoners sitting second in the Premier League.
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Walcott believes Arsenal have steadied the ship and are poised to end their wait for silverware.
"We haven't got the biggest squad in the world and we've got a lot of injuries, which doesn't help," Walcott said. "We've got to stay fit, which is crucial – we don't want to lose any more players. But as soon as the players come back there is going to be more competition for places and that's only going to be a good thing for Arsenal. I think we'll push on and we can definitely challenge [for trophies] this year, for sure."
The 24-year-old has put Arsenal's successful streak down to confidence, with the next goal to ensure his side remain solid at home, beginning with Sunday's visit of Stoke City.
"We've got players who are playing fantastically well," he added. "There is so much belief in this team at the moment and I think it's showing. We just need to push on and make sure we get that home form going now; the away form is absolutely fantastic.
"Someone told me in the dressing room it's 10 successive wins away from home – it's a record. To be part of a team that has done that, in the amount of years that Arsenal have existed, is a great honour and a great achievement for everyone. It just shows how talented these players are."
Reflecting on the win over Bayern six months ago, Walcott said: "You go to one of the tough places in Europe and win, you've got to think you are a very good team yourself. At times [in the past] maybe we didn't believe in ourselves."
Walcott reserved some praise for team-mate Aaron Ramsey, who has had a blistering start to the season and scored what proved to be the winning goal against Marseille.
"It always takes time when you have injuries and [Aaron] had one of the worst injuries in football," Walcott said. "He's worked really hard and it's definitely paying off now. He's enjoying his football, he loves touching the ball and he's got something different to his game now which is goals.
"People would criticise that side [in the past] but I see him in training every day and he's looking a totally different player. He's like a new signing. It's an absolute honour to play with him at the moment."