Theo Walcott staked his claim for a new contract with a stunning hat-trick as Arsenal beat Newcastle 7-3 in a thriller at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal took the lead four times during a chaotic match before eventually seeing off the spirited visitors as Walcott made the difference in his preferred role as a central striker.
Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski all gave Arsenal the lead, only for their efforts to be cancelled out by a Jack Wilshere own goal, Sylvain Marveaux and Demba Ba.
Then, in the 73rd minute, Walcott spun in the penalty area to slam the ball into the top corner from 12 yards and put Arsenal ahead 4-3.
This time, there was no way back for Newcastle and substitute Olivier Giroud sealed the points with two late goals and Walcott completed his hat-trick.
The result lifts Arsenal up to fifth in the English Premier League on the back of four wins in a row while Newcastle are on a dismal run having collected just six points from their past 10 matches.
In a cagey opening, Walcott was again selected in his preferred central role – and he made his point to manager Arsene Wenger with the opening goal in the 20th minute.
Podolski placed the ball into space behind the Newcastle back four and Walcott timed his run to beat the offside trap before opening up his body and placing a clean finish into the bottom corner.
Newcastle had already served a couple of warnings as to their threat in the final third before Ba levelled two minutes before the break with a huge slice of luck.
Ba struck his free-kick with power from 25 yards but Wojciech Szczesny appeared to have it covered before the ball was diverted in via a massive deflection off Wilshere.
Oxlade-Chamberlain restored the home side’s lead in the 50th minute.
The winger was given far too much room by the Newcastle defence as he collected Santi Cazorla’s pass and he fired a low finish into the bottom corner from just outside the area.
Nine minutes later, Newcastle were level.
Gabriel Obertan danced into the Arsenal penalty area and crossed virtually across the goal-line for Marveaux to tap home.
Sloppy defending was a theme and Arsenal were back ahead in the 64th minute.
After good work from Wilshere, Podolski was on hand to nod home Arsenal’s third and give them the advantage yet again.
On 69 minutes, Newcastle drew level for the third time as Kieran Gibbs once again got sucked in and Ba volleyed Marveaux’s excellent cross in.
Four minutes later, Walcott was too sharp for the Newcastle defence as he spun in the area and fired high into the top corner from 12 yards.
Six minutes from time, Walcott turned provider as he crossed for Giroud to score with a diving header to relax the home crowd and ensure the victory.
Three minutes later, the Frenchman scored his second as he collected the ball in the penalty area and smashed his effort past Tim Krul at the near post before Walcott completed his hat-trick.
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