- Premier League
FA Cup win could spark trophy rush, says Walcott
Theo Walcott believes a victory in the FA Cup final against Hull next month could be the catalyst for a new era of trophy winning success at Arsenal.
Walcott is battling to be fit for the start of next season as he recovers from a ACL injury sustained in an FA Cup tie against Tottenham in January, but his optimism for Arsenal's hopes of ending their nine-year wait for a trophy under Arsene Wenger in his absence is burning brightly.
"If we win the FA Cup, which we have a great chance to do with the way we are playing, the players are going to want more trophies," Walcott told the Arsenal website. "I think the first one is so important. Once you win that, you'll win more and more. I'm pretty sure of that.
Wilshere and Ox should be available for World Cup
- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reassured Roy Hodgson that injured duo Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit for the World Cup.
- Wilshere returned to training this week having been sidelined since March 1 with a foot injury and could be in contention to play against West Brom on Sunday, where a win would secure Arsenal's Champions League qualification for next season.
- However, Oxlade-Chamberlain may not be risked in order to aid his recovery from a troublesome groin inflammation which has plagued the attacker for the past month.
- With Arsenal close to confirming a top-four finish, Wenger is keen to rest Oxlade-Chamberlain so that he is fit for the start of England's campaign in Brazil.
"It would be great for the boss to win a trophy again, too. He's shown so much belief in us throughout the years. If we don't play well, he always reflects it back on him, even though it's our job to go out there each week and try to perform.
"That just shows how much faith he has in us all and it's really important to him. The years just before I arrived here were unbelievable and he wants that again. I think next season will be a massive one for myself and the team."
Walcott echoed the views of manager Wenger when he suggested injuries were the primary reason why Arsenal's latest Premier League title challenge collapsed, as he suggests the story could have been different if fortune had favoured his side.
"Losing Aaron [Ramsey], then Mesut [Ozil] and Jack [Wilshere], the boss admitted it was difficult for us to cope," Walcott added. "If you take three main players out of a team, it's going to affect you.
"It was sad for everyone to get injured around the same time, but you deal with that as a squad. You want to try and keep your main players fit and sadly we couldn't."
However, Walcott's team-mate Per Mertesacker insisted Arsenal do not deserve to finish higher than fourth and reiterated that early kick-off times in their heavy defeats away to Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool ultimately thwarted their title push.
"We didn't deserve to be in the first three," Mertesacker said. "That is something for next year that we have to manage much better than this year. The early away games killed us this year. Hopefully we can learn from that.
"Everyone questioned our qualities and our football. How we came back as a team, that makes us stronger for the future. We can learn a lot about ourselves from this. Last year we managed to deal with an even more difficult situation. Ten games to go, no one expected us to be in the top four.
"This year with a couple of injuries we struggled heavily but we regrouped very well and how we managed this situation was even more important maybe than last year.
"Everyone knows we are in the Cup final, we can secure Champions League football, so good targets to go for. Of course, we are happy to have a lot of players back and you can see the squad is getting stronger and stronger."