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Stones a positive but Everton need a spark

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Giroud reveals Arsenal struggles

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has admitted he struggled to come to terms with being dropped to accommodate Theo Walcott's desire to play as a centre-forward.

• Giroud: I can do better

After a series of five Premier League games without finding the net, Giroud, 26, made just a single start in six top-flight encounters either side of Christmas, spending the rest of the time on the bench watching Walcott lead the Arsenal attack.

"It's true. I had a bad run in front of goal, and there were all the discussions concerning the contract extension of Walcott, who wanted to play through the middle. It wasn't easy," he told L'Equipe.

"Then we played Newcastle with that 7-3 win. I came off the bench 15 minutes from time, scored twice and just missed out on a hat-trick. But it's better now."

Three goals in his last four Premier League games have not only helped restore Giroud's own faith but also that of Arsenal fans, who read throughout January their club was set to reinforce their attack.

Purchased only last summer from Montpellier, Giroud was always confident Arsene Wenger would not condemn him to playing second fiddle to a big-name striker.

"There was [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar and also [David] Villa. The British press talked about it a lot," he said. "The coach isn't really in favour of the winter transfer window. It would be hypocritical to say that I didn't think about it, but I always believed the coach would give me time, so I didn't see him pulling the rug from under me."

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