Theo Walcott says Arsenal’s battling 1-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday could prove crucial to the outcome of their season.
Laurent Koscielny’s second-half goal made the difference as the Gunners moved two points clear at the top of the table thanks to Leicester only drawing at home against Bournemouth.
It means Arsene Wenger’s men have won five of their last six in the Premier League and after years of falling short, now appear to be genuine title contenders.
As a result they currently find themselves priced at 2.38 to win the title, with third-placed Manchester City the favourites at 2.25.
Perhaps most significantly for Arsenal, Saturday’s win showed that they have developed an extra edge, having previously lost or drawn a number of games in which they have found themselves up against stubborn opposition such as the struggling Magpies.
Walcott was full of praise for the spirit his side showed and says their performance will only add to the belief within the dressing room going forward.
“The three points are crucial at this moment in time, especially when teams slip up as well,” Walcott said. “We’ve had a blip at times but it’s important that we get those hard-fought three points today. In previous seasons we would have lost that or drawn, so that’s a very good sign for 2016.
“The title is anyone’s to be honest but there’s such a belief in this team that we can do it this year. It’s been a long time and everyone understands that, but you could just sense with that performance that we know what we need to do.”