Theo Walcott is adamant Arsenal must finish in the Barclays Premier League top four this season, regardless.
Arsenal play Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night in their first Group F match in this season’s Champions League.
However, 26-year-old England striker Walcott believes that the Gunners next three away fixtures at Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City in the space of 10 days will test the squad’s strength.
“We’ve got a tough four away games now but this is going to test the squad to its full ability, I’m sure,” Walcott said.
“It’s always great to start the Champions League, it’s when everyone starts to get even fitter and sharper.
“We’re competing in the Premier League, the best league, and in the Champions League against the best players in the world. We’re going to improve and we need to have a good solid start. Away from home, it’s always difficult to play your first game but I think it will do us a favour to be honest. Everyone just needs to recover well.
“It’s important to see Arsenal in the top four [in the Premier League]. When people say we’re not playing great, we’re starting to get to where we want to be. That’s the sign of a good team, if you’re steady going but you’re getting the results.
“It’s all about results at this moment in time, getting the three points. No one is going to remember the start of the season. When we do hit form people will be more and more worried. I’m sure of that. So this Arsenal team can go far if we really actually believe in it, and a lot of the players do at the moment.
“Every game is going to be tough but I believe in this team and I think that’s important. We’ve had seasons where we’ve had very bad injuries but there’s a lot of competition for places now which is healthy for the team.
“We’ve got a lot of competitions which we are in and we want to compete in those, compete in the Premier League, to challenge for the title this time. You can sense that Chelsea are starting to struggle this season but they’re the champions and I’m sure they’ll bounce back from this. We just need to worry about ourselves and we’re slowly climbing up there.”