Theo Walcott got off the mark for the season at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, but the forward is looking ahead to the upcoming travels away from home.
Starting with a trip to Croatia to face Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night, Arsenal play four away games in the space of 10 days on the first run of the season that will truly push Arsène Wenger’s squad.
The Champions League game in Zagreb is followed by a visit to Stamford Bridge to face current champions Chelsea. Then Arsenal will go to White Hart Lane for a League Cup north London derby before travelling to high-flying Leicester City the following weekend.
“We’ve got a tough four away games now but this is going to test the squad to its full ability, I’m sure,” Walcott told Arsenal.com as he prepares for the first European match of the new campaign. “It’s always great to start the Champions League – it’s when everyone starts to get even fitter and sharper.”
“We’re competing in the Premier League, the best league, and in the Champions League against the best players in the world. We’re going to improve and we need to have a good solid start.”
That much goes without saying, as Arsenal face a tricky trip to Greece to play Olympiacos on the final matchday. Right in the middle of the group stage campaign are two games against German giants Bayern Munich, so the Gunners really can’t afford to slip up early on.
“Away from home, it’s always difficult to play your first game but I think it will do us a favour to be honest,” Walcott said. “Everyone just needs to recover well.”
Recovery and using the squad will become vital as Arsenal go through these tough periods of the season. We can only hope that the people in charge ensure every precaution is taken to keep players as fit and fresh as possible.