Theo Walcott has claimed that he is unaware of the avalanche of recent criticism that has been aimed at Arsenal and is adamant that he listens only to his manager, club staff and team-mates.
With Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech both currently injured, Walcott was Arsenal’s captain against West Ham United on Wednesday and scored the second goal in a 3-0 win that was only their second in the Premier League since January.
A nightmare sequence of results in February and March has ended Arsenal’s hopes of winning either the Premier League or Champions League but another top four finish remains feasible amid what now looks like a four-way battle with Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City for two places after Chelsea and Tottenham.
Of the recent criticism, Walcott said “I haven't heard anything. Criticism, I don't even bother looking at. I only listen to people I want to listen to. Who are those people?
“The manager and people at this club are the best people to listen to. And the players. That is all I care about at this moment in time. I don't mind people talking; they can talk and it doesn't bother me at all.”
Arsenal did begin tentatively against West Ham but there were clear signs of their confidence returning in the second half and they have now amassed 100 goals across all competitions this season.
“We had to get the first goal, when we got the first goal the nerves went away and then we just relaxed and played our football and hopefully it is going to breed a bit more confidence,” said Walcott.
“Once we got the goal people calmed down a bit more. Everyone just needs to remember how good we are as a team, as individuals. It is coming into motion.
"I wouldn't just say the goals, you could see it was slowly starting to come. We needed to go back to basics and we did. Everyone defended well together and we were very well structured. When we do that well, everything else comes into play.”
Walcott is still expecting plenty more twists in the final race to qualify for the Champions League, with Arsenal able to go level with Liverpool in third and only one point behind Manchester City in fourth should they win their games in hand.
“There are going to be lots of ups and downs and it is going to change, I'm pretty sure, loads of times,” said Walcott.
“Who knows? We have done it in the past, we have been in this situation before although probably not as bad.”