Olivier Giroud should be dropped for Arsenal, says Charlie Nicholas

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Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas believes Olivier Giroud should be dropped from Arsenal's starting XI against Stoke City on Saturday in place of Theo Walcott.

The French striker has struggled to find form so far this season, epitomised by his lacklustre performance against Serbia during the international break and having scored just once in the Gunners' opening four games of the season - an albeit outstanding effort against Crystal Palace.

As a result of the 28-year-old's faltering performances, Nicholas insists that England international Walcott should spearhead Arsenal's attack on the basis of stronger form, the winger scoring twice against San Marino last weekend.


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"Giroud hasn't been in good form and that's why I'd pick Walcott ahead of him against Stoke," the former Arsenal man 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."

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The out-of-form striker has come under scrutiny in recent weeks and to be dropped from Arsene Wenger's side is likely to further damage his confidence, though Nicholas believes this would be a necessary and beneficial step to take.

"He has struggled a bit with the criticism that has come his way but it's up to him to prove the doubters wrong," Nicholas continued.

"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."

Giroud's lack of form, combined with news that fellow-striker Danny Welbeck will be out until Christmas following surgery, further condemns Wenger's decision to not bring in a new forward in the summer transfer window.

And while Walcott poses as a capable source of goals for Arsenal, the fact remains that Wenger might be made to rue not delving into the market for a player that many believed was a necessary addition to his side.

Nicholas echoed such sentiments and said that while Giroud is a competent goalscorer, he's not one to lead a title charge so much as add to one.

"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."

"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."

The Gunners host Mark Hughes' Stoke this weekend with the north London side eyeing a return to form, following what has been an indifferent start to the new campaign.

An opening-day loss to West Ham spelled what could be yet another hit-and-miss season for Wenger's men, but since then they have taken seven points from a possible nine.

Goals remain something hard to come by for Arsenal at the moment, though, given that two of their three so far this season have come through own goals, placing all-the-more importance on returning their first-choice striker to form.

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