Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates after scoring. Photo: Reuters / John Sibley

LONDON - It was viewed as the low point of Arsenal’s season - a 3-0 walloping in front of the TV cameras at Crystal Palace in April which sparked protests from furious fans.

With refreshing honesty, Theo Walcott, captain for the night, pulled no punches, declaring Palace had "wanted it more" and that Arsenal's performance "wasn’t us".

Manager Arsene Wenger labelled the comments unacceptable and Walcott would go on to start just one more match in a revival which saw the Gunners win nine of their last 10 matches and lift the FA Cup. But there are no regrets from the 28-year-old.  

"I was the captain for the day - no-one else was going to come out and I felt like I had to say something," Walcott reflected. "The team went on to do quite well after all those games. There was a reaction and that’s what we wanted."

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that night and Alexandre Lacazette has joined for a club record £52m. But Walcott remains honest.

"This season there has to be more," he says. "It has to be this season, there’s no holding back now and there’s going to be a lot more pressure, but I think we can deal with it."

Wenger may already have his secret weapon in Walcott Mark 2.

"I’ve spoken to the manager," he explains. "Maybe I will change my role slightly, we’ll see how it goes, if it works." Any guidance on how that will look? Walcott grins. "I can’t really say."

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