Tuesday 13 March 2012
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott's performance against Newcastle on Monday was his best in a Gunners shirt.
Walcott played a key role in Arsenal's dramatic 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium, setting up Robin van Persie for the home side's first goal while his cross led to Thomas Vermaelen's last-gasp winner.
The 22-year-old was a constant threat down the right and Wenger described his contribution as "outstanding".
"I feel we delivered another game of quality with exceptional spirit"
- Arsene Wenger
"From the first to last minute he was great," said Wenger. "I feel it was his best performance for us.
"Against Milan, Theo was hitting top form and he has continued it tonight. He played with intelligence and power.
"Newcastle gave the impression of a strong team and to come back quickly was important.
"The equaliser [one minute after Newcastle's opening goa] was provided by Walcott. We speak many times of many other players and he deserves great credit this time because he was exceptional."
The victory ensured that Arsenal created Barclays Premier League history by becoming the first side to win four consecutive matches after coming from behind.
The Gunners have dropped only two points in their last six League matches and have closed the gap to third-placed Tottenham to one point.
"I feel we delivered another game of quality with exceptional spirit against a very good side," Wenger told the club's official website.
"I always felt that was in the team but we had to fight a lot of negative vibes and a lot of injuries during the season. So I am happy that the team can gain some credit because I was always happy to work with them on a daily basis.
"We had some really good performances against a top team and we have to take that forward"
- Alan Pardew
"Maybe the positive experiences we have had from recent games tells us what we have learned - just keep going.
"I am not especially focused on Tottenham, I am just focused on us playing with this kind of relentless commitment and enthusiasm. We have to show that in every single game and after I am sure we will finish in a strong position."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, meanwhile, was determined to take the positives from an enthralling match, saying his side produced a "fantastic effort".
"We had some really good performances against a top team and we have to take that forward - we can't let it hurt us," he told Newcastle's official website.
"Our game plan nearly got us a point, but not quite.
"Last minute goals are painful and it will probably take until Thursday to get it out of our system, but then we've got to focus and we've got to go and win a game. It is very important that we win on Sunday in front of our own fans."
Newcastle's next fixture is against Norwich on Sunday while Arsenal travel to Everton on March 21st.