Theo Walcott is older and wiser on the football pitch these days, according to the man himself.

The 21-year-old made a flying start to the season and has worked his way back to form and fitness after an injury setback in September. He was too hot for Chelsea to handle last week and did plenty of damage at Birmingham on Saturday as well.

Walcott's finishing has improved markedly but, of course, his speed remains his chief weapon. He offers the kind of searing pace that no other Arsenal player can and Walcott feels he is channelling his pace to greater effect these days.

“As I’ve got older I’ve learned where the space is and isn’t," he told the Official Matchday Programme.

"I give something different to the team going in behind - I guess I look to do that pretty much all the time and it stretches defences. And if I get a couple of defenders on me it gives more space for someone else to create a chance.

"It’s working at the moment and I’ve just got to keep it up, there’s no way I can take my foot off the pedal now. To get back into the team is very difficult when it’s winning, and it’s going to be just as hard to stay in there now."

You can read much more from Theo plus Bacary Sagna, Cesc Fabregas, Arsène Wenger and Bob Wilson in our Official Matchday Programme - available in and around the stadium before tonight’s game for just £3. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

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5 Jan 2011