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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Walcott question irks Wenger

Arsene Wenger questioned the wisdom of a journalist in Friday's press conference, after he was asked if Theo Walcott's future had been affected by Arsenal's shock defeat at Bradford.

• Blog: Wenger's crucial six weeks

Wenger was in prickly mood ahead of Arsenal's Monday encounter at Reading, clearly still feeling the effects of that Capital One Cup exit at the hands of the League Two side.

He accused the media of creating "lies" surrounding an alleged bust-up between the Arsenal boss and Steve Bould, and did not react well to questions regarding Walcott.

Widespread reports in Friday's newspapers claim Walcott is the target of Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez, and Wenger was quizzed as to whether another missed trophy chance might push the England man out the door.

"I don't understand your way of thinking. I cannot see that," Wenger said. "How should the Capital One Cup impact on the desire of the player to be part of the long-term future of the club?"

Wenger was then asked: "Do you believe Theo will be part of the long-term future of the club?" And the Arsenal boss replied: "I believe so, yes."

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