Sunday proof that £24m man can boost Arsenal's title chances

Theo Walcott

While many call on Wenger to turn to the mid-season transfer market, the Gunners do already have a number of timely returnees to the squad.

While value Theo Walcott at £24m, there is little doubt that he has become so vital to Arsene Wenger that his contributions in the second half of the season could be priceless.

Last season, Walcott returned 14 goals and 12 assists from 32 Premier League matches; a strike efficiency rate of one goal/assist every 87 minutes. Indeed, he has also proven equally prolific from wide in the current campaign with four goals and five assists from 12 appearances in the division, or one in every 85 minutes.

While Arsenal ground out a slim 1-0 victory over Newcastle United yesterday, Sunday, in a match that could well have ended without a goal, it was Olivier Giroud who is credited with a 65th minute decider, however, the supply was all Walcott - from a dead-ball situation.

The zippy winger now has four goals and two assists in his last five Barclays Premier League appearances and, since the start of last season, only Wayne Rooney (19), Steven Gerrard and Eden Hazard (15) have more assists than Walcott (14) - according to Premier League data.

To date, it is Aaron Ramsey who has won punditry and fan adulation for his sensational performances from a box-to-box midfield position, but it is Walcott who is the fresher of all accomplished first-team Gunners (Lukas Podolski aside).

With solid productivity in the summer market, having recruited Mathieu Flamini on a free and Mesut Ozil for £42.4m, Wenger may be under pressure to fortify his squad in the winter window in order to maintain their current standing in the league.

Yes, Alvaro Morata, Loic Remy, Luiz Gustavo, Angel di Maria, Fabian Schar and Paul-Georges Ntep have all been associated with transfers to the Emirates Stadium, but is the difference-maker already plying his trade there?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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