- Theo Walcott unselfishly gave up chance to score a hat-trick for Arsenal
- The 28-year-old wanted team-mate Olivier Giroud to take their team’s penalty
- Giroud’s spot-kick success ensured he reached 100 Gunners goals in 4-2 win
- Earlier Walcott grabbed a brace in Arsenal’s entertaining win over BATE Borisov
Theo Walcott unselfishly gave up the chance to score a hat-trick for Arsenal as he revealed he insisted team-mate Olivier Giroud should take his side’s penalty during their 4-2 win against BATE Belarus.
The 28-year-old Walcott generously passed up the opportunity to net a treble after his two first half goals helped win the game for the Gunners in a bid to aid pal Giroud grab his 100th goal for the North Londoners.
Walcott, who reached the ton-up milestone back in February when he scored against non-league outfit Sutton United in the fifth round of the FA Cup, was keen for his colleague to become the next man to get to three figures for Arsene Wenger’s men.
Unselfish Theo Walcott has revealed he let Arsenal pal Olivier Giroud take their team’s penalty
Giroud scored from the spot against BATE Borisov and in doing so hit his 100th Arsenal goal
Walcott said afterwards that he gave the spot-kick to Giroud so he could reach the milestone
Speaking after the game Walcott said: ‘Being a forward you want to score as many goals as you can. There was a chance for me to take the penalty [and score my hat-trick] but knowing that Olivier was on 99 goals I felt like he should.
‘It’s a great moment in his career to get 100 goals for Arsenal, I’ve achieved it myself and I know the feeling.
‘It’s brilliant so that was why he took the penalty. There were chances but I can’t be too selfish.’
Earlier in the game Walcott struck twice in a frenetic opening to the Europa League match
Walcott had already reached the 100 goals mark for Arsenal back in February against Sutton
Walcott and Giroud become the first men to reach 100 goals in a season for Arsenal since Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp reached that special number back in 2003. The Frenchman also reached the target in 233 games, one match fewer than Robin van Persie.
With the Gunners picking up their second win in two games in the Europa League following a 3-1 victory over Cologne at the Emirates two weeks ago, their campaign to lift the second tier European trophy has got off to a flying start.
Walcott added of the 4-2 victory in Belarus: ‘I felt we pressed well and attacked very well as a unit especially, for 60 minutes we were very steady. We were disappointed with the goal we conceded.
‘With the structure we play, we don’t want to be conceding sloppy goals like we did but on the other hand when you score four goals away from home, you’re always likely to win games and we were pleased with that.’