Walcott relishing Saints clash

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott admits he is looking forward to playing against his former club Southampton on Tuesday.

Arsenal lead for the FOURTH time...

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Walcott signed for the Gunners from Southampton in 2006 when he was just 17 years of age, and the Saints academy graduate has since blossomed into one of the Premier League's most feared strikers; the England international has featured 20 times for Arsenal this season, scoring 14 goals and laying off nine assists in the process.

Arsenal, aided by the goalscoring exploits of Walcott, have picked up their form recently, winning their last four league fixtures, and Arsene Wenger's men currently find themselves fifth in the table on 33 points.

However, Walcott has warned his team-mates to expect a tough test when they come up against Southampton, although the 23-year-old added that he could not wait to take to the pitch against his former employers.

"Looking at our Premier League form recently, it has been very strong," Walcott told Arsenal Player. 

"We are looking to climb the table, take every game as it comes and we have another match on Tuesday.

"It will be a very tough occasion against Southampton, but it is one I am really looking forward to. 

"I am probably going to wrap myself in bubble wrap for the next few days!

"It will be a very special moment for me and Alex [Oxlade-Chamberlain], and also for some of the fans to see us come back to the club."

Walcott, who scored a hat-trick in his side's 7-3 win over Newcastle on Saturday, also warned his side against being too adventurous on Tuesday, claiming that the Magpies' decision to attack in numbers proved beneficial for the Gunners.

"It was just end to end and that played into our hands," Walcott mused. 

"When we conceded a few sloppy goals you thought we may not be able to do it.

"If someone said beforehand that it would be 7-3 I would have just laughed, but it was an unbelievable spectacle and for it to be the last game of this year is something special.

"I am delighted [to get another hat trick]. For the first goal I managed to stay onside and Lukas played a great ball, and I opened up for the sort of finish that I am used to.

"The second one was a bit different. Out of all of the goals, that was probably the one I am most pleased with, as I had to turn in a short amount of time, not panic and put it into the top corner.

"The third was just like Chelsea [last season] what with falling over, getting up and chipping the keeper from such a tight angle. It was great, and me and Gibbs did something special [in celebration] after that!"

The last time Southampton hosted Arsenal in the league was in 2005, with both teams sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

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