Season ends with Wenger singing Walcott's praises
Arsene Wenger urged Theo Walcott to continue his progress after the teenage attacker netted the only goal at Sunderland s Stadium of Light. Walcott was in magnificent form on Wearside and struck the winner after just 24 minutes when he raced on to Gilbe
Arsene Wenger urged Theo Walcott to continue his progress after the teenage attacker netted the only goal at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.
Walcott was in magnificent form on Wearside and struck the winner after just 24 minutes when he raced on to Gilberto's weighted throughball and sidefooted the ball past Sunderland goalkeeper Martin Fulop for the only goal of the game.
Another promising Englishman, midfielder Mark Randall, was unlucky not to add a second with four minutes remaining.
The 18-year-old, from Milton Keynes, expertly tucked home from close-range only to be denied by a linesman's flag. He also had a superb effort well saved by Fulop as the Gunners pushed for one final goal of a topsy-turvy campaign.
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Afterwards Wenger was satisfied with three points - and with Walcott's overall contribution over the past nine months.
"I think Walcott started [the season] as a promising young player and he finished it as a guy who can fight for a regular place in the side.
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"The next step for him is to be a player who can produce regular performances and efficiency. I am hopeful he can be that."
The Gunners ended the campaign 15 points better of than 12 months ago, and despite the ultimate disappointment, Wenger is optimistic for next season.