‘He got a great reception… it was justified’

Our 5-1 win over Everton last month was memorable for a debut goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and hat-tricks for Aaron Ramsey (goals) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (assists).

But there were another couple of heartwarming moments involving a former Gunner.
Theo Walcott returned in an Everton shirt and had his name sung loudly after going close to scoring. That was followed by a standing ovation when Theo was substituted in the second half.
Arsene Wenger isn’t surprised that our fans applauded our former No 14 almost as enthusiastically as our new No 14.
“I always say that players who did fight for our shirt and fought for our club, you ideally want them to be respected,” the boss told the Arsenal magazine.
“All our fans knew that Theo did not leave because he had any problem with Arsenal, it was just because he wanted to play and wanted to give himself a chance because he didn’t get enough games here. 

“Today, people are informed and you don’t fool them. Theo is experienced, is a real Arsenal lover and is a guy who always respected the fans and the club. It was completely justified and I’m very happy that he got a great reception.”
Theo scored 108 times in 397 appearances for us over 12 years, and the boss expects another Arsenal centurion to get a similar reception when he returns to north London - Olivier Giroud.

“Olivier is an Arsenal man as well,” the boss said. “He left for similar reasons to Theo Walcott, by being sad to leave but also objective enough to analyse his situation.
“His professional career demanded that he moved, but his heart wanted him to stay. Both Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are similar cases on that front.”

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