Wenger: Walcott is mentally strong

07 March 2010 01:25
Walcott, who turns 21 later this month, had come under fire following his midweek outing for England, when he was replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips after a largely ineffectual display.[LNB]However, the Arsenal winger produced the goods on Saturday as his fine second-half finish helped the Gunners close in on the top of the Premier League, moving level with leaders Chelsea, although having played a match more.[LNB]Wenger said: "Theo Walcott gave you the great response you waited for.[LNB]"He does what a player has to do - not talk in the newspapers and let your performance talk on the pitch.[LNB]"He didn't answer any critics other than with a good performance and that's what you want from a player. That shows he is mentally strong.[LNB]"I was quite sure he would respond with a good performance but you never know, it affects you when you get criticised. The way he answered that at his age is remarkable."[LNB]Wenger, though, admitted the loss of Cesc Fabregas was a concern, the skipper leaving the field just after he had fired Arsenal into the lead.[LNB]"He has a hamstring problem and how big the damage is we don't know yet because it's too early.[LNB]"We have to make a late decision over whether he plays on Tuesday, certainly. It is the same hamstring [he hurt earlier in the season]."[LNB]Arsenal should have been out of sight even when Burnley equalised at the start of the second half through David Nugent.[LNB]Nicklas Bendtner was the main culprit - the Dane missed a string of chances in the six-yard box.[LNB]Substitute Andrey Arshavin made the result secure in stoppage time and Wenger said: "It could have been four, five or six but as well they had a chance to make it 2-2 after a corner.[LNB]"In the end you are happy when you miss the chances we missed, but you get the three points."[LNB]The Arsenal manager added: "I believe on the surface he looks like 'okay, I missed the chances', but underneath he is really disappointed.[LNB]"In his finishing, he missed chance after chance, but if you are a striker, it is like that. You think 'I missed the first one, but I will score the next one'.[LNB]"Once you have missed the second one, you are in trouble because after you do not know how to take the third one - do I really go for it, or wait for the ball? That is what happened to him today."[LNB]The events of last weekend at Stoke were still on the minds of Arsenal fans as they chanted Aaron Ramsey's name before kick-off, while a large banner was also displayed in support of the promising Wales international, who will miss the rest of the season with a double broken leg, while the players wore 'Get Well Soon Aaron' T-shirts during the warm-up.[LNB]There was one flashpoint when Walcott squared up to Daniel Fox following a sliding challenge by the Burnley man.[LNB]Wenger said: "In the first half, when we went into the tackles, it was still in our heads a bit."[LNB]Burnley manager Brian Laws, however, felt there was little cause for concern from the challenges in this encounter.[LNB]He said: "Arsenal cannot have it all their own way. We have got to make challenges at some stage in the game.[LNB]"I have seen the frustration from Arsenal, but you cannot take away tackling. It is part of the game."[LNB]Laws believes his side can take heart from the performance.[LNB]He said: "We responded much better in the second half when we stepped up 10 yards and asked questions.[LNB]"After the goal, we looked comfortable, but Arsenal are going to create chances and our goal lived a charmed life at times."[LNB]Laws added: "This was never going to be the match which would decide our future in the Premier League, it is always going to be decided at home, more than anything.[LNB]"The fact we stayed in this game and frustrated Arsenal for long periods suggests we are going in the right direction and I believe we will get that result away from home sometime."[LNB][LNB] Barclays Premier League. Click here to bet.  

Source: Team_Talk