'We do like a good challenge' - Walcott confident Arsenal can silence critics

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The England international claims that the Gunners have learned from past mistakes and enter the 2017-18 Premier League campaign in a positive mood

Theo Walcott claims Arsenal “like a good challenge” and intend to prove their doubters wrong by learning from past Premier League mistakes.

The Gunners slipped out of the top four last season for the first time under Arsene Wenger, with the long-serving coach facing protests against his reign before FA Cup success salvaged something from the campaign.

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He has since penned a new two-year contract, allowing him to oversee another bid for domestic and European glory in 2017-18.

Questions continue to be asked of both Wenger and his side, amid another quiet transfer window, but Walcott insists Arsenal are in good shape and are relishing another quest to force their way back into title contention.

He said: “We’ll let the people talk on the outside.

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“We know what we want to do this season. We know how important it is. Everyone’s up for the challenge – you know we do like a good challenge. It’s going to be different for us this year but it’s about the way we react, it’s as simple as that.

“We can’t really dwell on the past any more, we need to focus on our strengths.”

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Arsenal will open their 2017-18 campaign by kicking off the new Premier League season at home to Leicester on Friday.

Walcott is eager to help Wenger’s side burst out of the blocks, with a Community Shield victory over Chelsea in their most recent outing having helped to raise morale in the Gunners camp.

The 28-year-old England international added: “Every season, we tend to start the league not so well, and being a Friday night I think a night game might be better for us.

“It’s a bit different. It’s new for us, the fans will be up for it obviously.

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"The home support will be so key this season. You’ve got to be patient sometimes with this formation we’re playing, you play a different style of football, that’s what we’re learning still and we’re getting better.

“I think we showed it against Chelsea. We managed to stop them playing the football they tend to do.

“It’s exciting and that’s what we want to do, we just want to play football.”

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