Giroud: Walcott better out wide
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has told team-mate Theo Walcott to abandon his ambition to play as a central striker and stick to his role on the wing.
- Mangan: Arsenal preview
Walcott spoke time and again about his desire to play as the lead marksman in Arsene Wenger's team last season, but finished the campaign as a regular scorer in his more familiar wide role.
Now Giroud has suggested Walcott is most useful to Arsenal in a wide role, providing him with the service to score the goals for Wenger's side this season.
"Theo wants to play up front, but his best position on the pitch is definately winger," said Giroud in an interview with Arsenal Player.
"With his pace, for sure he is dangerous as a winger. We need to keep Theo in the team because he is a really important player, but I can be the striker Arsenal needs, with Theo on the right side of the team.
"I always trusted in my quality and while I needed some time to settle now, I feel so happy here now."
Giroud has been in fine form for Arsenal in their pre-season fixtures and looks certain to line-up as Arsenal's lead striker in Saturday's season opener against Aston Villa, but manager Arsene Wenger is sweating over the fitness of key midfielders Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta.
Cazorla is due to land back in London on Thursday night following his appearance for Spain in their friendly international against Ecuador, while Arteta is a doubt with what Wenger describes as 'a slight thigh problem'.
Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby will all miss the Villa game, with Vermaelen (back) and Diaby (knee) some way off a return to the first team.