Arsenal players were wary of Arsene Wenger admits Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott has admitted he did not dare look Arsene Wenger in the eye after the Gunners threw away a four-goal lead at Newcastle on Saturday.
Walcott claimed the Magpies taught his side a lesson at St James' Park as Abou Diaby's dismissal provided the trigger for one of the most astounding top-flight comebacks of all time.
Not until the Gunners' squad left their charter flight in Luton and discovered Manchester United had lost at Wolves was some kind of perspective put on the performance, the gap to the leaders actually narrowing to four points.
Before that, Walcott and his team-mates thought the wise option was to stay out of a clearly furious Wenger's way.
"None of us wanted to look the boss in the eye," said the winger. "It was such a disappointment.
"When you are 4-0 up and want to win the league, it shouldn't happen, even if you have a man sent off.
"Newcastle taught us a lesson. They showed us how to play against 10 men. We are known for keeping the ball. On Saturday we didn't."
Manchester United's result did raise spirits. Enough for Walcott to tune in for a memorable Match of the Day, believing some of Wenger's anger would have been eased by the knowledge his side are still the Red Devils' closest title challengers, a position Chelsea's defeat to Liverpool yesterday only reinforced.
"When we landed at Luton, we all put on our phones and had a little check," revealed Walcott.
"Everybody had grins on their faces. It changed the mood. It changed the boss' mood as well.
"He would have gone home thinking it was a point gained and something we can build on.
"The first half performance was the best I have been involved in.
"I watched it again on Match of the Day. I couldn't change the result and I didn't want to sulk. I wanted to see my goal as well."
Walcott is convinced the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie can provide the character that will steer Arsenal through the turbulence.
Always happy to look on the optimistic side, the former Southampton star genuinely looks on the weekend as a step forward rather than a massive opportunity missed.
Indeed, after winning nothing during his time with the Gunners, Walcott has a growing belief this will be the season Wenger's side finally etch another year onto the trophy recordings which adorn their impressive stadium.
Second in the Premier League table, an FA Cup fifth round trip to Leyton Orient looming, a Carling Cup final with Birmingham after that, not to mention that eagerly-awaited Champions League double-header with Barcelona. Little wonder there is a gleam in Walcott's eye as he discusses the possibility of ending a six-year wait for some Arsenal silverware.
"I definitely think this is our best chance of winning some silverware," he said.
"We haven't won trophies for a long time. This is the year we need to.
"So many of the other England players have medals. It would be nice to be part of that.
"When I look at the finals and see them lifting up the trophies, I want to be there as well."
So much so that, when pushed, Walcott openly admits he doesn't really care what shape the trophy he collects is. He just wants one.
"The league would be massive," he said.
"It's the hard work over the whole season. You have so many games and have to go through so many ups and downs. That would be the biggest one to win. I want that one.
"But really, anything will do. Just to win something and break down that disappointing five years without anything.
"That is why the Carling Cup is a great fixture for us."
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