Arsene Wenger backs Theo Walcott to be prolific scorer for Arsenal

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott justified his faith in his striking capabilities with a goal in the 2-0 win over Stoke.

Wenger was criticised for refusing to add to his strike options during the transfer window, but both Walcott and his replacement Olivier Giroud were on target at the Emirates Stadium as the Gunners moved second in the fledgling Premier League table.

"If Walcott plays and scores everybody says Walcott is good," Wenger said. "But before the game everybody says 'why did you not buy a striker?'


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"If I bought a striker Walcott would not have played. It's always a vicious circle.

"At some stage you've just to believe in your players and give them a chance."

Walcott's first Arsenal goal of the season, after his double for England at San Marino, came after 31 minutes but he might have had a hat-trick before then.

"I believe he can be a prolific goalscorer because you come out of the game and think how many chances he had," Wenger said.

"The bigger the belief he will have to score, the more he will score. He gets in good situations.

"He scored a great goal, I must say. He needed technical quality to do it and calm in the finishing. It's good that Giroud came on and scored as well."

The Gunners poured forwards time and again but could not get the goals their dominant performance deserved.

Wenger, though, was never unduly concerned after a third successive clean sheet and a first home win following the opening day loss to West Ham and goalless draw with Liverpool.

He said: "If you want to be a bit critical, you could say there's too big a difference between number of chances created and number of goals scored but that can come quickly once you win games at home.

"We had 30 shots on goal today and continuously we created chances from the first to the last minute.

"Players have the quality to score so at some stage that will come. We have stabilised our defensive record."

Walcott may not keep his place in a big week for the Gunners, who begin their Champions League campaign at Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night and travel to the reeling reigning Premier League champions Chelsea next Saturday.

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