Thierry Henry caused something of a stir in April after claiming Arsenal could not win the title with Olivier Giroud leading the line. The problem for Arsene Wenger was that Giroud was his only viable option up front.
A number of Arsenal fans – including Henry – had hoped Wenger would rectify the situation in the summer by investing in a world-class name. Karim Benzema was strongly linked, but a deal for the Real Madrid striker never seemed realistic.
Two months into the season and 22 points later, Arsenal seem fine without Benzema. Indeed, many pundits are already considering them favourites for the title and at least a challenge seems inevitable.
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That is, at least in part, down to the form of Theo Walcott. The England international has finally been given his chance to impress up front and, so far, has not let anyone down. Even Arsenal's all-time top goalscorer has been impressed.
"I was saying that maybe they needed a striker in the summer to help out, but Theo Walcott has emerged as that striker,” he told Sky Sports.
“He is playing ever so well. Now there is competition for the No 9 role - Giroud is no longer on his own as the striker. When Walcott is playing, he's doing his job. When Giroud is playing, he's doing his job."
And it is the competition between Giroud and Walcott that appears to be the driving force behind his improvement. Henry knows from experience that the threat of losing his place in the team is the best thing to keep Walcott motivated.
He said: “When I used to play for Arsenal, I knew I had only 60 minutes to perform because there was Dennis Bergkamp, Nwankwo Kanu or Sylvain Wiltord on the bench. I knew I had to perform."
"The difference with Theo Walcott this season is that he's having a run of games. In the past, Arsene Wenger would have played him as a No 9, then put him back on the wing for five or six games, then back on the bench.
"It's important that Walcott goes out there with the confidence of the manager, but he also needs to go out there and play hard. You can be funny, smile and be a nice guy, but if you don't perform you'll be on the bench or leave the football club."
Who should be playing?
Giroud started Arsenal's last game against Everton and, not for the first time this season, delivered the goods by scoring what would prove to be a decisive goal in a 2-1 win. Had the Frenchman failed to perform, Walcott was watching on from the sidelines.
Now the debate over whether Walcott or Giroud should start their next Premier League game against Swansea City on Saturday. The stats suggest Giroud is the more prolific hitman, but Walcott's raw pace is an effective weapon in itself.
Here are those stats
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