Walcott – If only Arsenal played this well earlier in the season

Yet again Arsenal fans have had to endure a nerve-wracking end of season as the Gunners have had to up their game to fight against Tottenham for a place in the Champions League, and yet again it looks like the Gunners are just going to do enough to win the “Wenger Cup”, but Theo Walcott wonders why the squad don’t ever play so well at the beginning of the campaign.

“We just have great experience in knowing what to do when the time is right,” Walcott said yesterday. “It’s funny, it happens every year. We tend to finish very strong. I think it is just because the players want it so much. We need to show that in the mid-season and at the start and we could hopefully be even higher than we are and not have this situation that we are in.

“The Champions League is big for the future of the club and the players. We have been in it for the last 15 years and we don’t want to be the players who are not part of that. The Europa League is great and, obviously, Chelsea have made the final. It is great if you get to the final because it is a very tough competition, like the Champions League. But it’s all eyes on the Champions League at the moment for us.”

As Wenger is always quick to point out, the reasons for our sluggish start is usually because we are waiting for the new players to settle into the squad, which I hate to point out is a direct result of Arsenal selling off their best players every summer! Hopefully this transfer window will be different and we will see the same core of players (with a few top, top class additions of course!) at the beginning of next season.

Maybe we can get off to a flying start?

Vermaelen – With everyone fit Arsenal can compete with anybody

The Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen was part of the back line that stopped the prolific Man City team from even getting a shot on goal in the 1-0 win on Sunday, and now believes that the Gunners should be considered as certain challengers for the Premiership title next season.

The only worry he has is that Arsenal need to maintain some consistency and, most importantly, remain injury free next year.

“In some games we have shown a lot of quality and that we can compete with everybody,” said Vermaelen. “But you have to be consistent in the league and sometimes that’s not been the case for us. But we will try to do that better next year. I’m confident we can do that.

“Defensively it’s about the organisation of the team. It’s not just about the defenders who defend, the whole shape of the team, and that’s really good at the moment so we must be really pleased with that. When everybody is fit we have a really good team and we can compete with everybody. The momentum we had, climbing the table by winning seven games in a row before losing at Queens Park Rangers, was really important so it was vital we won again, especially against City who are contenders for the title.

“We deserved it. We were dominant in the game and it was a really important result because we are in a big fight for that third place. That is so important because finishing third gives you direct qualification for the Champions League. That is very important for the club and is our main target at the moment and I know about the rivalry between us and Tottenham. I hear it every day on the streets, people asking us to finish above Tottenham at the end of the season. We look to ourselves: if we win every game, we will finish above them.”

“But, while each game is important for us at the moment, they’re all hard matches as well,” added Vermaelen. “You could see that at QPR, where we dropped points. So Wolves will be the same. We will have to be on the top of our toes and play well there.”

It was definitely a good time to play Man City this week, and Wolves are in the dire position of having lost their last six games. It will be the shock of the season if an in-form Arsenal lose on Wednesday. But we saw last week against QPR that Arsenal do not always play at their expected level. Vermaelen is right, inject some consistency into the side and we could surely have a new set of Invincibles.