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Wenger: We still need Walcott to wing it


Arsenal's Theo Walcott. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsenal's Theo Walcott. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsenal's Theo Walcott. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger will resist the temptation to field Theo Walcott in a central role up front more often despite the forward netting his 20th goal of the season in the defeat of relegated QPR.

Walcott struck his 13th Premier League goal of the campaign after 20 seconds as Arsenal won 1-0 at Loftus Road to keep their quest to qualify for next season's Champions League on course.

Wenger praised Walcott's improved finishing and goal tally – it is the first time Walcott has hit 20 goals in a season and came on his 200th league appearance – but will continue to utilise the England international in a wide position. Lukas Podolski was the central striker at Loftus Road, but Walcott was the attacking focal point once the Germany forward was substituted.

"He finished in the middle," Wenger said. "I use him on the flank because I try to put a player in the middle who can score goals and having another player on the flank who can score gives you a little security.

"He (Walcott) is more mature in his finishing. His goal was similar to the one he scored against Manchester United. It's a short back-lift.

"He makes good runs and he is calm now in front of goal. When he arrived (from Southampton), in front of goal the ball could go anywhere.

"Now you see every time he hits the target, he is forcing the keeper into a save.

"That's why his numbers are so much better."

Wenger also praised Wojciech Szczesny after his mid-season wobble as the goalkeeper made a late save from Loic Remy which ensured Arsenal would emerge with all three points.

It was the only time Szczesny, who was granted a first-team reprieve when Lukasz Fabianski suffered a rib injury, was truly tested in the contest.

"It was a very great save, yes," Wenger said.

"When I saw him dive I thought he would not get there, but he extended his final resource very well and he got there.

"It shows the importance of a goalkeeper. We needed him once really and he got there."