herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Walcott lets Giroud get his 100

BATE Borisov 2 Arsenal 4

Olivier Giroud. Photo: Adam Holt
Olivier Giroud. Photo: Adam Holt

Theo Walcott gave up on the chance for a hat-trick in Arsenal's 4-2 Europa League win at BATE Borisov in order to allow Olivier Giroud to score his 100th goal for the club.

Walcott had bagged twice in the opening 22 minutes, with Rob Holding also netting early on, to put the Gunners in command in Belarus, but allowed Giroud to take a second-half penalty.

The Frenchman coolly converted to reach a century of goals and the England international said that was more important than a treble.

"As a forward you want to score as many goals as you can, there was a chance for me to take the penalty but Olivier was on 99 goals," he said.

"It's a great moment in his career to get 100 goals for Arsenal, I have achieved that and I know the feeling and it is brilliant.

"That is why he took the penalty. I can't be too selfish."

Giroud is the 12th fastest player to reach 100 goals for the Gunners, one game quicker than Robin van Persie

However, Arsenal conceded two goals, as Mirko Ivanic and Mikhail Gordeichuk bagged for the hosts, and did not look convincing at the back.

But they were always a threat going forward and Walcott was pleased with their attacking display.

"We don't want to concede sloppy goals, but on the other hand, when you score four goals away from home you are always likely to win games," he added. "We are really pleased with that."

Arsenal host Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday after making the near-1500-mile trip home from Belarus.

The Gunners visit Red Star Belgrade, with Bate hosting Cologne in the next round of Europa League games on October 19.

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