Walcott hails Gunners' spirit

BY foxsports • December 14, 2009

All seemed lost for the Gunners when they had been out-muscled 3-0 at home by Chelsea last month - a result which left them some 11 points off the pace. However, with their title rivals all slipping up on Saturday, Arsene Wenger's men made the most of the opportunity, battling back from 1-0 down to triumph 2-1 at Liverpool. The victory saw Arsenal cut the deficit on second-placed Manchester United, who had lost at home against Aston Villa, down to just three points, with a game in hand on both them and leaders Chelsea, who were held to a 3-3 by Everton at Stamford Bridge. Wenger had been so disgusted by the first-half display at Anfield that the Frenchman declared his players were not fit to wear the Arsenal shirt - a rant which had the desired effect as they soon levelled through a Glen Johnson own goal and then Andrey Arshavin's stunning effort secured a vital victory. England forward Walcott declared: "Results like this show we are no pushovers. "Being 1-0 down at Anfield, it is a hostile place, but we showed great spirit to come back and win. "We wanted to give something back to the fans because they were fantastic for us." Walcott maintains Arsenal have what it takes to cope without injured Holland international Robin van Persie, who will be sidelined until at least April with ankle ligament damage. "We believe we can mount a challenge without Robin," said Walcott, quoted in the London Evening Standard. "Robin will be an unbelievable miss, but we have got people like Andrey coming in to fill the gaps. He is fantastic as well and will definitely clock up plenty of goals." Walcott knows Arsenal must now continue their resurgence with another away victory at Turf Moor on Wednesday night. "It is great to get these three points and gradually get closer to Chelsea and Manchester United," the 20-year-old said. "We have a game in hand coming up, but we must look to Wednesday's game at Burnley now, aim to get the three points and we will be right there at the end of the season." Much has been made of Wenger's half-time tirade - after captain Cesc Fabregas revealed in a post-match interview: "the boss screamed.... and said we didn't deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt if we played like that. I think he was right." The Gunners boss, however, showed his appreciation just as passionately when they were all back in the dressing room following the final whistle. Walcott said to Arsenal TV Online: "The boss gave us a round of applause when we came in, and all the lads were bubbling. "None of us were happy with the first half. We were 1-0 down and hadn't played well. "The boss just showed his passion for the game and that he has belief in us. "It woke us up and that's what you have got to do as a manager. "It worked, because coming in at the end of the game and getting a round of applause from the boss showed that we listened to him."

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