Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud inspired by Theo Walcott rivalry, says Flamini

• Hat-trick hero Giroud has scored 11 goals in last 14 appearances
• ‘Competition is very important in big teams – it makes players stronger’

Olivier Giroud has raised his game to another level after Theo Walcott took his place in the Arsenal team earlier in the season, according to Mathieu Flamini.

Walcott was Arsène Wenger’s preferred central striker until he injured a calf in the Capital One Cup loss at Sheffield Wednesday in October. Giroud has been back in since then and he was the hat-trick hero of the club’s 3-0 win at Olympiakos on Wednesday night which carried them into the Champions League last 16.

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