Arsenal legend calls for Olivier Giroud to be benched in favour of Theo Walcott for Stoke City clash

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Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas has pleaded with manager Arsene Wenger to start Theo Walcott ahead of Olivier Giroud against Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.

The Gunners have struggled to hit the back of the net so far this season and have been helped out by own goals from the opposition in their two victories against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United.

With Wenger failing to sign a centre-forward in the summer transfer window, coupled with the long-term absence of Danny Welbeck, the north London outfit are short of options to lead the line for the next three months.

Giroud and Walcott have both been given the opportunity in attack during the first five games of the new campaign and they have mustered a grand total of one goal between them.

Speaking ahead of the clash against the Potters at the Emirates Stadium, Nicholas believes Giroud, who was booed whilst on international duty with France earlier in the week, should be left on the bench:

“Giroud hasn’t been in good form and that’s why I’d pick Walcott ahead of him against Stoke,” the former Gunners star told Sky Sports.

“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.”

“He has struggled a bit with the criticism that has come his way but it’s up to him to prove the doubters wrong.”

“I would leave him on the bench and simply say to him: ‘it’s up to you to respond well to this criticism’.”

“Arsenal will make chances for him it’s up to him to take his chance,” Nicholas added.

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