By Chris Harris
Theo Walcott insists Arsenal will hit the ground running when the new season gets underway next month.
Arsène Wenger's side have been handed some tough early assignments with trips to Newcastle and Manchester United and a home game with Liverpool to fit in alongside their Champions League play-off in August.
Walcott knows Arsenal will have to be at their best to get points on the board in the opening weeks of the Premier League campaign but he believes it's better to travel to places like Old Trafford before winter sets in.
"It's nice to get these tough games out of the way," Walcott told Arsenal.com.
"It's nice to play them straight away because they might not be flying as they do towards the end of the season. Man United tend to start off quite slowly but they pick up so many points during the mid-season and at the end so hopefully we can catch them in their ‘bad’ spell. We're a very fit team so we'll be ready.
"Every game will be tough in the Premier League, a lot of teams look very strong now and it's not easy to win games home or away. But I'll be ready, I'm sure everyone else will be and I'm looking forward to playing football again."
Before the competitive business begins, Walcott and his team-mates have a busy pre-season schedule to work through, starting with friendlies in Malaysia and China. The England international is relishing his first visit to the Far East.
"I am looking forward to it," he said. "It will be a bit different, I have never been there before and it will be a totally different experience and culture.
"I'm really looking forward to the amount of support that's out there. I've heard rumours of 50,000-plus at an open training session so that would be amazing! It's difficult for fans [in the Far East] to get to games so hopefully we can make the Club proud."
The full interview with Theo is now available on Arsenal Player. He discusses: pre-season training, travelling to Asia, a reunion with Thierry Henry, his first impressions of Ryo Miyaichi, taking a step forward last season and managing his fitness.Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source