Arsene Wenger has all but confirmed that Theo Walcott will remain first choice striker at the club for the moment, although suggested that both he and Olivier Giroud would have to continue competing for a starting spot, as reported by the Express.
The manager claims he picks his team based on current form and the game ahead, and insists that both men will get their chance throughout the season. Despite Giroud’s recent goalscoring form from the bench however, Wenger suggests that he will continue with Walcott up front.
“It is always hard,” he said.
“They are top players, I consider the form, the game on the day but at the end of the season both will have played their share of games.
“At the moment it is Theo but in a few weeks it might be Giroud. What is important is that both contribute.
“We have other examples on Tuesday when we based our game on counter attacks which clearly worked but in the last part of the game we based our game on longer balls – direct game and Giroud made the decision. Both are extremely strong in that game.
“And they can work together. They did that in the past but for me it’s a question of balancing the team as well.
“Alexis [Sanchez] is a very offensive player, [Mesut] Özil is a very offensive player and Walcott, Giroud and [Santi] Cazorla are offensive players as well. I have to take care of our defensive balance.”
With Aaron Ramsey’s injury (via the BBC), there may need to be some shuffling around in the coming weeks. Walcott is a potential candidate to be pushed out wide, but it seems Wenger would prefer to keep him up front.
The Frenchman admits it’s difficult to leave players out, but stresses that it’s part of the job.
“You have to accept that no club in the world can play the whole season with only one striker,” Wenger continued.
“If I would do it then you would first accuse me of being irresponsible. Once you have two players you have to be happy and make the right decision.
“It’s always hard. It’s not only hard for Giroud and Walcott, but for every single player who you leave out. It’s a difficult decision but it’s part of our job as well. We are in a job where competition exists and we have to accept that.”
Giroud arguably deserves a start against Everton, with the French forward scoring freely from the bench in recent games – including a hugely important opening goal against Bayern Munich the other night.
You could also argue that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Walcott may not have scored in his last couple of games, but he’s been getting into good positions and running defences ragged.
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Although Giroud may not be the world class striker we need, he certainly gets a lot of unfair criticism. At the moment it looks as though we have two solid options going forward, and Wenger has a decision to make ahead of our clash with Everton.