Arsene Wenger (R) praised Theo Walcott's two-goal contribution to Arsenal's 5-2 derby win over TottenhamTheo Walcott believes he was not at his best prior to his brace against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The English forward has been subject to much criticism this season after netting only three goals in 24 games prior to the weekend.

But despite being booed by a section of the Arsenal faithful after a frustrating first-half show, Walcott shrugged off his bad start in the derby to score a quick double which gave the Gunners a resounding 5-2 victory over Spurs.

One of the main developments ahead of the match was the omission of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from the starting line-up. The 18-year-old has been keeping his compatriot Theo Walcott on his toes with impressive displays during his debut season at the club, and some fans actually jeered the announcement of Arsene Wenger’s decision to retain Walcott in his line-up and keep out Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Even so, it all paid off during the second-half of Sunday’s match as Walcott first chipped the ball over Friedel after being sent through by Van Persie to score his first goal at the Emirates Stadium since the 3-1 victory over Chelsea in 2010.

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The 22-year-old then followed that with another decent finish after being picked out by Alex Song, scoring his fourth goal against Tottenham in his career.

Despite his strikes, Walcott admits Sunday had hardly been his day.

“Tottenham have been quality this season and we have hurt in the last few games where we played well and still did not get the result. But we showed character in the first-half after going 2-0 down” Walcott said

“We just wanted to get out in the second-half, we actually did not want the first-half to end. Robin (Van Persie) got all the boys out early.

“You always have to get on with the game when things are  not going too well. I can hold my hands up and say I did not have the greatest of the first halves but it just shows the character of not just me but the team to try and forget about that and work hard in the second-half”

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