Theo Walcott says Arsenal may be better placed for a Premier League title bid this season

Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates after doubling his tally against Swansea
Image: Theo Walcott celebrates after doubling his tally against Swansea

In-form forward Theo Walcott thinks Arsenal have to be considered Premier League title contenders in an open year.

And Walcott thinks the gritty manner of Arsenal's last two victories shows they have the mentality to stay in the hunt.

The Gunners needed a late goal to win at Burnley before the international break and then held on to beat Swansea 3-2 on Saturday, having been reduced to 10 men when Granit Xhaka was sent off.

Arsenal are now level on points with leaders Manchester City and Walcott, who notched twice against the Swans, thinks the signs are positive.

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"The Burnley game, they were very well organised and we found it very difficult," said the England man.

"But we all stuck in, showed patience and, in time we got the win, which was really important.

"Again against Swansea, we had to be diligent, be patient at times, but we still got the win even if it would have been nice to take the ball home on a personal note [he missed two great chances to complete a hat-trick].

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"The Burnley match was a game where we had to grind it out. This game, when we went down to 10 men, we tend to lose, to be honest. There's some things that are slowly getting better."

Arsenal's next two Premier League matches are against Middlesbrough and Sunderland but Walcott is not getting carried away.

"I don't look at the table," he added. "I genuinely don't.

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"I feel all we can do is control ourselves and not really hope that other teams get results on our behalf. If we play well we win games and that's all we can do.

"We've been in this situation [contending at the top of the table] before. There's always some sort of blip but hopefully we're not going to have that this year.

"With the squad we have, if we keep players fit, with players coming back, then who knows?

"You can't really call the Premier League this year. It's so unpredictable."

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