With the big kick-off just 17 days away, Fantasy Premier League managers teams for the new season will be taking shape.
This year has put managers in a difficult position with premium stars such as Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard rising in price.
Another player who has seen his price rise this year is Arsenal's Theo Walcott. This comes despite a mere four starts in the entire 2014/15 campaign.
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The player who's now priced at £9 million managed just 51 points in last season's FPL.
Consequently it would be easy to simply dismiss Walcott as a non-viable option ahead of the new season. However, don't be so quick to do so.
END OF SEASON FORM
After two injury plagued campaigns Walcott returned to the Arsenal line-up at the end of the 2014/15 season. The 26-year-old finished the season with a flourish by scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory against West Brom. The Englishman then went on to score the opener in the FA Cup Final thrashing of Aston Villa.
It's this startling end of season form that has resulted in a price hike for Walcott in this years Fantasy Premier League. His performances have made him an attractive prospect ahead of the new campaign.
51 points from 14 appearances means he averaged 3.6 points a game. This was less than Cazorla (4.5), Ramsey (4) and Ozil (4.7). However Walcott's overall total and average points per game is likely to increase if he can carry his excellent end of season form into the new season. As long as he remains injury free there's no reason to think that he won't do this.
LEADING THE LINE?
With Arsenal yet to invest in a new striker they are set to begin the season with Oliver Giroud and Chuba Akpom as the only fit recognised strikers. What this means is that Walcott could find himself being given more chances in his favoured strikers position.
Walcott finished last season playing up top on his own and proved to be so successful that he was selected to start ahead of Giroud in the FA Cup Final. Arsene Wenger's reluctance to bring in a new centre forward suggests that he sees Walcott as someone capable of playing in the role.
Back in April, Wenger told Arsenal's website: “I believe Theo will have a great goalscoring record in the future because of the quality and intelligence of his game."
This suggests that Wenger has the confidence in Walcott to unleash him as a striker next season.
If that does indeed happen then it will make Walcott one of the hottest prospects in this years FPL. With Walcott listed as a midfielder he will earn five points for each goal he scores, as opposed to four if he'd been listed as a forward. In addition he will also receive a single point for each shut-out the Arsenal defence manages next season.
Walcott has been plagued by injury over the last two seasons. The last campaign in which he featured regularly for the Gunners was the 2012/13 season. Thus, this is a good starting point for judging just how much of a prospect he is for next season.
Walcott appeared 32 times during that season and Wenger deployed him as a striker numerous time. That campaign proved to be his best goal scoring season in an Arsenal shirt as he netted an impressive 14 times as well as providing 12 assists. That's an average of 2.3 goals and 2.7 assists per game.
All this meant that Walcott managed a staggering 194 points in FPL during the 2012/13 season. That gave him an average of 6.1 points per game. To put that into perspective that's more than Alexis Sanchez (5.9) managed last season.
This shows what Theo Walcott is capable of when he plays regularly. Next season he will be approaching his peak and playing for a better Arsenal team meaning that he could realistically emulate his performances of 2012/13.
He may be priced at a hefty £9 million but the statistics show that Walcott is a midfielder that you should be seriously considering including in your team.
With Walcott himself telling the Daily Mail: "When you're that wing-striker you need to be on 15 or 20 [goals]", the opportunity of owning a midfielder who could feature up front is one that's too good to miss.
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