Report: Arsenal pair share their thoughts on Stoke victory

Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott were full of praise for Arsenal’s quick start at the Emirates.

Arsenal pair Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny have praised their side's quick start following the victory over Stoke City in the Premier League.

The Gunners ran out 3-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a header from French defender Koscielny and a brace from Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez.

That victory saw them move above North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place and level on points with Southampton, who currently occupy the highly coveted final Champions League place.

Speaking to the club’s official website, the pair said that Arsenal’s quick start to the game was key to their subsequent victory.

“It was very important to start well. I remember the game at Stoke [last month] and after 20 seconds we had conceded,” said Koscielny.

"From the start of the game we were on the front foot and that's what the boss said to us. He wanted us to have a very positive start and we didn't give them any rest at all and started like a house on fire,” added Walcott.

Former Barcelona forward Sanchez was once again in inspired form for the Gunners, with his first goal an exquisite individual effort. However, defender Koscielny was keen to highlight the his perfect all round mentality instead. 

“Alexis is amazing because he’s played more than 25 games and he still runs like it’s his first game. It’s amazing and it’s not just in attack - he defends well. If he needs to run back to help us defend, he does, so he has a good mentality, which makes him a world-class player.”

The game was also the latest step in Walcott’s rehabilitation following his return from the injury suffered against Tottenham last year, and the forward is pleased to be back and playing.

"I'm not quite sharp enough yet but that will come,” he said. "I'm just happy to be back and it's the same with Mesut [Ozil] as well,” said Walcott.

"It gives a boost to the whole squad when players who've been out long-term are coming back. It lifts everyone's spirit. Going into one of the busiest periods of the season, you want all your players fit and I think the boss will have a selection headache soon.”

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch