The north London derby could not come any sooner for Theo Walcott.

The 25-year-old was carried off on a stretcher in front of the away supporters, some of whom threw objects to which the player responded with a 2-0 hand gesture.

But Walcott, whose injury shattered his World Cup dreams, insists he thrives on the rivalry between the north London sides.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match at White Hart Lane, he told the Evening Standard: “This is a massive game and it is all about the bragging rights.

“Things like that have happened in the past and it won’t be forgotten about, I am sure, but it is one thing I have moved on from.

“Every player will get stick I am sure, but it is about just trying to go out there and perform.”

Walcott, who has scored in successive appearances since his return from a niggling groin problem, added: “Any criticism won’t affect me at all.

“It is enjoyable. It is a bit different and is always a great atmosphere at White Hart Lane. It is probably the fixture I always look forward to playing in the most. It is one of the biggest games for both sets of fans and this year it is going to be tight.”

Arsenal will be without leading scorer Alexis Sanchez who sits out the match the hamstring injury which ruled him out of the 5-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend.

But England forward Danny Welbeck is in line to return to the first-team squad have being out since December with a thigh problem.

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