Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott applauds supporters after helping to guide Arsenal to their second successive FA Cup final with victory over Reading on 18 AprilGetty Images

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has claimed the Gunners have been the best team in Europe during 2015.

Arsene Wenger's side suffered a rather indifferent start to the season, yet have come on strong domestically in recent months.

An impressive eight-match winning run that lifted the club to second in the Premier League was only halted with a goalless draw against Chelsea on 25 April and Arsenal also booked their place in the FA Cup final for the second successive year with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Reading at Wembley.

"I'd say so," Walcott, who is approaching the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium, was quoted as saying by club's official website when questioned if Arsenal were at their best right now.

"There's a lot of competition for places so everyone seems to lift a gear and play extremely well. It makes it a bit more difficult for people to get into the team. I think, especially this season, not many people thought we'd be second and challenging for the Premier League.

"In this calendar year, we've been the best team in Europe. It's the strongest the squad has been and everyone is staying fit as well. There aren't many injuries in the squad, which is important. If we had an injury-free season, I think we could lift the title."

While Arsenal have certainly improved considerably during the current calendar year, they remain 10 points adrift of Chelsea and face competition from both Manchester clubs for the runners-up spot.

A hugely unconvincing Champions League round of 16 exit at the hands of a workmanlike Monaco outfit provided a huge source of disappointment and would appear to provide the biggest challenge to Walcott's rather surprising claim.

Following their stalemate with the champions elect, Arsenal's next assignment is a potentially difficult trip to face relegation battlers Hull City at the KC Stadium.

The hosts were tipped for the drop by many over recent weeks due to a combination of indifferent form and a formidable difficult run-in, yet consecutive wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool have now seen them open up a four-point gap over 18th-place Sunderland.