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Walcott: Wenger gave Arsenal a ´rocket´ at half-time against Wigan

Theo Walcott has revealed that Arsene Wenger gave the Arsenal players a dressing down at half-time against Wigan on Tuesday.

Arsenal had taken the lead early against the FA Cup winners through Lukas Podolski, but Wigan improved and equalised just before the break through Shaun Maloney.

The Scot lifted a free-kick over the Arsenal wall to beat Wojciech Szczesny at his near post, and Walcott explained that the words from their manager at half-time inspired them to score three goals in the second period to leave them in pole position to finish in the top four in the Premier League.

“We got a rocket at half-time,” he said. “We’ll keep that in the dressing room, but it’s great that
the manager has that passion and it got a bit more out of the players.

“The manager gave us a kick up the backside.”

Arsenal’s final fixture of the season is away at Newcastle and they know a victory will secure fourth place, but three points could also move them up a place depending on Chelsea’s result against Everton.

If the two teams end up with identical records, they will face a play-off to determine which club gets third spot and automatic qualification for the UEFA Champions League group stage.

However, Walcott insisted they are just concentrating on extending their unbeaten run and recording a 21st win of the season.

“We are aware we could finish third, but we just want to win,” he continued. “We want to keep our form going. We haven’t lost now in a
long time. I have lost count to be fair.

“We just have great experience in knowing what to do when the time is right.

“It’s
funny. It happens every year – we tend to finish very strong. I think
it is just because the players want Champions League football so much.

“We
all know how big it is to be in the Champions League – not just for the
manager, but the fans, the players and the club itself. It’s massive.

“We
have been in it for the last 15 years and we don’t want to be the
[first group of Arsenal] players who are not part of that.”

The England international remains confident that they can achieve the three points they need to give them a chance of finishing third, and he hopes to maintain his three-game scoring streak by adding to his 21 goals for the club this season.

“If we show the passion and commitment that we did in the second half [against Wigan], we will be OK,” he added.

“Wherever
the manager wants to play me, I will do that for the team.

“It’s well documented that I want to play there (as a striker) more.

“I am making runs in and
the manager is playing me up front now and then. I can wander at times
and it works – there is a lot of rotation in that front line so when it
is working, don’t change it.”

Thu 16 May, 2013
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