• Premier League

Walcott told to play where he is needed by Wenger

ESPN staff
May 3, 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told Theo Walcott his ambitions to play in a central striking role may need to be put on hold in the final three games of the Premier League season.

The suspension of Olivier Giroud has left a void at the front of the Arsenal attacking line, yet it was Lukas Podolski and not Walcott who was asked to fill that position in last weekend's game against Manchester United.

Walcott has since suggested he would like to be given the chance to play in a central role for the final three games of the season, but Wenger stressed he will not be influenced by comments from his England international.

"I consider every single option," Wenger said. "I believe what is most important is the balance of the team. That Walcott plays right or plays central is not a big difference for me. What is important is how you contribute to the team and how good your performance is. What is important is how well Arsenal does."

Wenger believes Queens Park Rangers will still be potent rivals in Saturday's Premier League clash at Loftus Road, even though Harry's Redknapp's side have already lost their battle to beat the drop this season.

"It can happen that they play under less pressure, with less fear [once they are relegated]," Wenger said. "It can be of course very dangerous. I still believe that the derby will be decided by the quality of our performance. If we continue to play like we do, we will make it and that's what we focus on.

"We go game by game and every game gives you a different proposal that you have to sort out. We are highly focused on tomorrow's game and on our performance. Everybody is really focused and wants to do well on tomorrow's game and that's what we want to achieve.

"We have been strong away from home and we had a good stability. How do you explain that? I believe that at home at the beginning of the season, we played with some fear.

"Away from home we played with more freedom and expressed more our game and maybe as well because the home teams attack more against us than they do at the Emirates, but away from home we have had a good season.

"Chelsea is in front of us and we play catch-back. First of all focus what is important which is you and your performance winning the game. We learn from this down the years and it is the right way to behave."

Wenger has confirmed that goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will start against QPR, but Lukasz Fabianski is close to full fitness and is likely to be available for selection before the end of the season.

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