Former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas believes Olivier Giroud must be benched when Stoke come to the Emirates, and claims Theo Walcott should be starting ahead of him, as reported by Sky Sports.
The Frenchman has been getting more stick than usual recently, with the team firing blanks and goals proving hard to come by. The negativity towards Giroud increased following Arsene Wenger’s failure to secure a new striker during the transfer window, and many are keen to see other options explored.
Charlie Nicholas is among those calling for something a little different against Stoke, and believes Walcott should get the nod.
“Giroud hasn’t been in good form and that’s why I’d pick Walcott ahead of him against Stoke,” Nicholas said.
“Giroud’s movement has been pretty static. When he’s on form you see him getting in behind people, taking shots early but I don’t see him doing any of that so far this season. He looks easy to mark and is very predictable.
“I would leave him on the bench and simply say to him: ‘it’s up to you to respond well to this criticism’.
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“Arsenal will make chances for him it’s up to him to take his chance.”
The England international has already been handed a chance up front this season, and started the game against Newcastle last time around. He looked sharp initially, but after the Magpies were reduced to ten men he was less than useless.
The few chances he did get he squandered, but at least he was getting into the right positions. Hopefully his brace against San Marino will give him a confidence boost, and he can get back to scoring ways against Stoke.
Many fans are of the opinion that we can’t win the league with Giroud leading the line, but Nicholas believes he is just a small part of the puzzle.
“Giroud was never going to be the player who is going to win you the title but he’s one of the players who could help you win it,” Nicholas continued.
“This season I still expect Giroud to score 15 to 20 league goals. If Walcott stays fit I’d expect him to score 15-20 league goals, too. Combine both of them with Sanchez and others then Arsenal should do ok.”
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Wenger is known for building sides which look to spread the goals around the team, and that’s exactly what we should be doing this season.