Wenger confirms Walcott as Arsenal’s first choice

Date published: Friday 23rd October 2015 10:43

Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott: Pair fighting for same Arsenal shirt

Arsene Wenger says Theo Walcott remains Arsenal’s first-choice striker for now despite Olivier Giroud’s recent goals as a substitute.

Giroud has scored in each of the last two games against Watford and Bayern Munich having replaced a goalless Walcott as a second-half substitute.

Wenger, however, has suggested Walcott will keep the shirt against Everton on Saturday, though he has warned the situation could soon change.

“It is always hard,” Wenger said of his selection dilemma. “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.

“You have to accept that no club in the world can play the whole season with only one striker.

“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 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.”

With Walcott providing pace behind the defence but Giroud known for his hold-up play and aerial ability, Wenger will pick his forward based on the opponents.

The Frenchman also believes the two can play together but acknowledges the risk of losing defensive solidity with too many attacking players in the team.

He said: “On Tuesday 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) Ozil 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.”

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