Arsene Wenger has explained his decision to omit Olivier Giroud from the starting eleven on Sunday.

Theo Walcott was preferred to the French striker as Arsenal lined up against a nearly full-strength Chelsea in the FA Community Shield.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal was enough to win the match but a subdued performance from Walcott has raised questions over Wenger’s call to start the Englishman ahead of Giroud.

wenger squad wembley

Walcott was eventually withdrawn for Giroud as the Frenchman came on with 25 minutes to go, but Wenger insists that the plan was to use pace first against Chelsea.

“It depends on the games. I tried to see the options I have through the season. I felt today that I wanted to use Theo’s pace to go in behind.” the Arsenal boss said

“In the first half he [Walcott] worked very hard, didn’t get too much service, but he worked very hard. In the second half when Giroud came on I think he gave us a physical presence that was needed at that time as well.”

The Gunners have more options to choose from upfront with Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez set to return, but rumours of a bid for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema have remained.

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