Charlie Nicholas says Theo Walcott, not Olivier Giroud, should start for Arsenal in Premier League clash against Stoke City

The Frenchman has struggled to find the net so far this season

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The Independent Online

Olivier Giroud should not start against Stoke City and should 'man up' if he wants to recover his form, according to former Arsenal player Charlie Nicholas.

The French striker was jeered by his own fans after missing several chances for his international side in mid-week.

Giroud has struggled for form in the early stages of this season and lost his place to Theo Walcott in the Gunners' last game against Arsenal.


"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," Nicholas told Sky Sports.

"I would leave him on the bench and simply say to him: 'it's up to you to respond well to this criticism'."

The pressure has increased on the 28-year-old to find goals after Arsene Wenger's decision not to sign a new frontman in the transfer window.

Nicholas beleives Theo Walcott should be given a starting berth ahead of Giroud


Following a long-term injury to Danny Welbeck, Arsenal have a lack of options up top, with the Frenchman their only out-and-out striker.

Despite backing Walcott, who scored twice for England against San Marino last week, Nicholas still believes Giroud will score regularly again, as long as he 'mans up and gets on with 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," he said. "Combine both of them with Sanchez and others then Arsenal should do ok.

"He's just out of form. I'm not sure if it's the criticism he's had or not but he has to man up and get on with it."


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