LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Robin van Persie of Arsenal celebrates scoring the equalising goal with teammate Theo Walcott (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on March 3, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
In his PFA Player of the Year award acceptence speech, Robin van Persie specifically cited one teammate: Theo Walcott. Praise for Walcott is hard to come by; usually, critical acclaim is negative. Yet for van Persie, he's essential:
He has given me so many assists. And for me, if you give an assist then it is worth a goal, especially if you give a great assist.
"It is as important as scoring a goal.
"He gave me two simple tap-ins. That makes it more his goal than my goal and he has given me many assists."
They have an excellent understanding; when van Persie drops deep, Walcott will make diagonal runs into the vacated space. When Walcott makes runs to the byline or wide to cut the ball back, he invariably finds the run that van Persie has made. The two have combined directly for 9 goals, more than any other partnership in the Premier League. Walcott has assisted van Persie 6 times, while van Persie has assisted Walcott 3 times; either way, they're the top assister for each other. Walcott's had a lot to do with van Persie's excellent last 15 months; if the Dutchman is to continue this form, it seems logical to assume that Walcott will be make important contributions. And that is why van Persie "honestly loves him" and why that, along with signing van Persie to a new contract, Arsenal must also give a new contract to Theo Walcott.