Theo Walcott has called on his side to “do the dirty work” next season if they want to be involved in the title race.

Arsenal finished their campaign on Sunday with a 4-1 win over Stoke. It meant they ended up with 72 points, 18 adrift of champions Manchester United.

Ironically, Wenger’s side picked up four points in their two games against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team and, in total, lost only one encounter with the ‘big four’. However they did drop defeats to Hull, Fulham and their opponents at the weekend. For Walcott, the area of improvement is obvious.

“We have to learn from our experiences this year, do the dirty work and get the results,” said the England winger.

“Like the boss said, Man United only won one game out of their matches against the top four, so it just shows how important every game is in the Premier League.

“The so-called littler clubs, away and at home, they are the points you have to make up.

“We have to do the dirty work, like we have learned from this year, and take that into next season.”

Generally, though, Arsenal’s Premier League campaign ended well. Five of their six defeats in the competition came before Christmas and from November to May they strung together a 21-game unbeaten run.

“We have ended the season on a high,” said Walcott.

“We have got to take that into next season now, bounce back and put in a good performance.

“We are scoring goals from all sorts of positions, the team is playing very well and are keeping the ball without conceding many goals.

“Now the boss will be telling the players to reflect on the season, then go and have a good holiday, relax, before looking forward to next season.”

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26 May 2009