Arsenal news: Theo Walcott believes form brings fear as 'no one will want to play us'

Walcott took his goal tally to five for the season after scoring twice to dispatch Basel in the Champions League

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The Independent Football

Theo Walcott believes that Arsenal’s form of late will lead to their rivals fearing them when they meet later in the season, with the winger enjoying a purple patch that has helped the Gunners to four straight victories and a place at the top of Group A in the Champions League.

Walcott struck twice in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Basel on Wednesday night to take his tally this season to five, and he believes it was important to back up last weekend’s demolition of Chelsea with another win after they failed to do so at the same point last season.

On that occasion, Arsenal followed an impressive 5-2 victory over eventual league champions Leicester with a surprise defeat in the Champions League, and the 27-year-old admitted that it was playing on the squad’s minds when they took on the Swiss champions at the Emirates Stadium.

“It was important,” Walcott said after his man of the match performance. “Last year we came off beating Leicester with a very good result, played Olympiakos and we lost.

“It is going to be an interesting season but have to take it game by game, we can't look too far ahead. It will be important to see who finishes top [of the group], that is our next big goal and we need to break that duck, but if we continue to play like this I don't think anyone will want to play us.”

Jack de Menezes and Matt Gatward giver their verdict on Arsenal v Basel

Walcott looks destined for a recall to the England squad when Gareth Southgate, the recently appointed caretaker manager of the national team in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s resignation, names his squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia this Sunday. But he also explained why Arsenal’s experiences in Europe, combined with their recent performances, can help the north London side surpass the last-16 for the first time since 2010.

“It was just getting that level back to where it should be and the experience we have in the dressing room and the players we have now and the competition, it bodes well for us,” he added.

“The confidence you can tell from the way we start games, the intensity. We go out there and want to win the mental battles first, put the opposition on the back foot and we did exactly the same sort of thing as in the first half against Chelsea. And that’s what we want to do, build on performances like that. [It] was a very professional performance. We kept a clean sheet and we know if we keep clean sheets we’re going to score goals.”

On a personal note, Walcott has struck up a strong understanding with striker Alexis Sanchez, with the Chile international laying on both goals for the winger. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stuck by Walcott last season when he experienced another dispiriting campaign that saw him dropped from the Frenchman’s first team and miss out on the World Cup with England.

But he’s bounced back to hit what feels like the best form of his 10-year Arsenal career, and Wenger was quick to put it down to a personality change that came completely from Walcott himself. Yet in his own words, he is keen not to “dwell on the past”.

 “I am pleased. But then again I will be focused on tomorrow and recovery,” Walcott said, with Sunday’s Premier League trip to Burnley already on the horizon. “I tend not to dwell on my games any more. It is about the next day, I want to be better and things are going well for now.

He added: “What’s happened in my own career has happened. I’m not going to dwell on the past.”

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