Walcott: Arsenal 'close' to title challenge, urges Gunners to start better next season

Theo Walcott believes Arsenal laid down a marker with their 4-0 FA Cup final win over Aston Villa.

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has told the BBC that the Gunners are 'close' to a title challenge - but must start the season better next term.

The Gunners retained their FA Cup trophy with a 4-0 win over Aston Villa this evening, securing another final win at Wembley just 12 months after beating Hull City in the same competition.

It was Walcott who opened the scoring with a well taken half volley in the first half, before goals from Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud sealed a comprehensive victory for Arsene Wenger's side.

It's another trophy for Wenger, who had gone nine years without silverware before that win over Hull 12 months ago, but now Walcott has his sights set on something bigger than the FA Cup.

Walcott believes that Arsenal are now 'close' to mounting a title challenge in the Premier League, despite the Gunners finishing 12 points behind champions Chelsea this season.

The England international also told the BBC that the problem in recent years has been that Arsenal just don't start the season well enough - and has called for a fast start to next season in order to challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title.

"Very close," said Walcott when asked how near to a challenge Arsenal really are. "We just need to start well. I've been here for a long time and this one of the best squads that I've been part of. We should be achieving much more, but the Premier League is the next big target."

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