London: Theo Walcott has vowed to put a season of misery behind him and fire Arsenal's Premier League title challenge next season following the club's masterful FA Cup final triumph.
Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates scoring a goal in the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Walcott missed most of the season with a knee injury, but put in an eye-catching display in the Gunners' 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa at Wembley on Saturday having been given the chance to impress in his favoured central striker role.
"I missed last season due to injury and personal problems and it was nice to come back with a bounce," Walcott told reporters as he emerged from the victorious dressing room.
The 26-year-old, who scored Arsenal's first goal with a crisp strike just before half-time, praised manager Arsene Wenger for sticking by him, and backed Arsenal's "family" spirit to put them in the running for title honours next term.
"It is fantastic to win the FA Cup in consecutive years, it's a whole family here, but the league is the big ultimate goal. I'm looking forward to that challenge," he said.
"This is one of the best squads we have had at Arsenal so we should be achieving more. We need to start well in the Premier League next year."
His first-half opener was followed by a 25-yard rocket from Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, a header from German defender Per Mertesacker and a close-range finish in stoppage-time from substitute Olivier Giroud, the man who lost his starting place to the resurgent Walcott.
Number of times Arsenal have the FA Cup - a record
Number of times Arsenal have won the FA Cup title under Arsene Wenger - a post- World War II record for any manager