A man on form: the magical rise of Joel Campbell

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Okay, it's early days, but Arsenal forward Joel Campbell has cantered his way into the new year with all the class and character of an established champion.

Since joining the Gunners in 2011, the Costa Rican has been deployed mostly as Arsene Wenger's human yo-yo, loaned out to a host of clubs including Lorient, Real Betis, Villarreal and, most recently, Olympiacos.

This campaign, however, injuries to Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck have cleared the way for Campbell to seize his opportunity and make his mark - and he has taken it with aplomb.


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With the return of Sanchez imminent, the 23-year-old's recent displays will give Wenger food for thought, with regards to who the Frenchman must stick with on the right flank. One thing is for sure: Theo Walcott is in danger of losing his place.

So, how exactly has a man once on the brink of being sold become such a celebrated and hailed sensation overnight?

Some believe Campbell thrived from the presence and influence of Mesut Ozil, given his recent string of assists and deft passes, whilst others believe he's Sanchez in disguise, running half way across the pitch to chase lost balls and work tirelessly for his teammates.

Comparisons are also being drawn to Francis Coquelin, given the Costa Rica international's physical attributes and dogged approach to winning back possession, his five excellent tackles during last Wednesday's 3-3 draw with Liverpool supporting this theory.

Well, be it some kind of voodoo spell or sheer tenacity and drive, the emergence of Campbell at this crucial stage of the title race will surely delight and tantalise Arsenal fans.

For the player who recently claimed 'football is about moments', this could finally be his - and long may it continue.

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