Theo Walcott says Alexis Sanchez has made the centre-forward position his own at Arsenal and has admitted Olivier Giroud may have to get used to life on the bench.
The Chile international took his tally to 10 for the season with two goals in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the Emirates.
Despite goals against Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, Giroud was forced to start the game on the bench and while he came on and had a hand in Arsenal’s third goal, Walcott says Sanchez is definitely first choice up front.
“Alexis has stepped up to making that position his and I think he is enjoying it. I can see the smile when he’s playing — he even did an interview which he never does — and in English!” he said via Standard Sport.
“I’ve been trying to say to him, ‘Talk to the guys when you can’ because his English is better than he thinks. I’m very pleased for him and I really enjoy playing football with him.”
However, Walcott feels that Giroud can still make an impact for Arsenal off the bench, as he did in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
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“Olivier’s strengths are fantastic,” he added. “I know he will be frustrated with the amount of games he has not played but if you look at his scoring record and how effective he has been when he has been on the pitch — again yesterday, coming off the bench and grabbing an assist.
“It just shows he keeps on reminding the manager what he can do. Alexis, obviously me and him are having a very good relationship at this moment in time. At the start of the season, we created goals for each other and everything was happening.
“Now, you are starting to see signs it is happening again.”
Sanchez’s form has fully justified Wenger’s decision to move him to a more central role and while Giroud has been superb coming off the bench in recent weeks it remains to be seen if he will continue to accept a reduced role.