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Oct, 31, 2012

Walcott: Win can help in Premier League

Theo Walcott hailed Arsenal's spirit after they overcame a four-goal deficit to claim a dramatic 7-5 extra-time victory over Reading in Tuesday's Capital One Cup clash, and hopes the Gunners can carry that form into their Premier League campaign.

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Walcott and Marouane Chamakh each netted a brace in a stunning fourth-round encounter at the Madejski Stadium. But such heroics were required as Reading stormed to a 3-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes before Noel Hunt scored a fourth for the home side.

Some hope was restored for Arsenal prior to the half-time interval when Walcott pulled a goal back, paving the way for a remarkable second half. Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny reduced the margin to one, before Walcott slotted home his second in the fifth minute of injury time to force another 30 minutes of action.

Chamakh and Pavel Pogrebnyak then exchanged extra-time goals before Walcott and his Moroccan team-mate sealed their respective doubles, and victory, late on. Walcott is now hoping the Gunners can carry that spirit into the Premier League.

"It was an unbelievable game," Walcott told Sky Sports. "We started very sloppily, we just had to wake up. The boss told us that we just had to go at it, that it was not good enough and that it was not Arsenal. We showed everyone what we can do. We never gave up, and we're absolutely knackered at the moment.

"We showed our character. There's a lot of young players in that dressing room, and it's a great experience for them. Hopefully we can take that into the Premier League now.

"We scored seven goals away from home. We looked great going forward, perhaps we weren't great defensively at times. But, like you say, the most important thing was getting the win and staying in the competition and being in the hat for the next round."

Arsene Wenger echoed Walcott's sentiments after the match, describing the comeback as a highlight of his 16 years at the club.

"It may be one of my greatest victories during my time here. We went from disaster to salvaging our pride," Wenger said.

"You cannot play for Arsenal and give up - no matter what the score is. The players understood at half-time they could not go out again with the same performance.

"We just had hope but it didn't look like it was going to come off. But at least we got our disastrous first half out of our system."

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