Danny Welbeck was something of a surprise addition to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal on deadline day in a £16 million switch from rivals Manchester United which saw the 23 year old England striker leave the club that he has been a part of since the age of 8. After the initial criticism from some fans surrounding the signing, much has changed since the Euro 2016 qualifying game against Switzerland. Welbeck grabbed both goals in Basel and showed what he is capable of when he is given a chance in his favoured centre forward position.
Welbeck walked straight into Arsene Wenger’s plans for the home game against Manchester City on Saturday and did not disappoint; if anything he already looks part of the furniture. There were very promising signs seeing as he has only had a couple of training sessions at Arsenal since his move but already possesses a good understanding of the system deployed and the players around him. While the game was scoreless, the former Manchester United forward latched onto a sloppy David Silva back pass and tried an audacious chip over Joe Hart, only to be denied by the post.
There were many things to admire about Welbeck’s contribution; his work-rate was exceptional, he was tireless all afternoon and did not stop pressing the Manchester City back four, and his link up play was also very good. On this showing, Olivier Giroud will have a tough time getting his place back. There appeared to be a great understanding especially with Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere all afternoon, and so I would not be surprised to see Welbeck flourish at Arsenal this season. The addition of Danny Welbeck now seems like good business but he will need to add consistency to his performances, something his critics from his time at Old Trafford would say has been his biggest problem.
One primary criticism of Welbeck at Manchester United was that he doesn’t score enough goals; something Louis Van Gaal made clear to the media with a parting shot. Many would agree with the Dutchman, however if you are playing out of position and very rarely play through the middle, then chances in front of goal are naturally going to be limited. If you ask players that have played with him they could not believe how much he was sold for or even that he was sold at all. Paul Scholes even said “If you ask Van Persie and Rooney who they would rather play with, Welbeck or Falcao, they would say Welbeck”. The well respected midfielder is clearly eluding to the Arsenal man’s unselfishness and his desire to work for the team.
£16 million in this day and age is a snip, especially for a 23 year old England international who has known nothing else other than Premier League football. Arsenal have secured a player that is hungry to prove his doubters wrong, a player that wants to show the world what he can do and wants nothing more than to be the main man at a big club. He also has great schooling; you would be hard pushed to find a better club than Manchester United to receive your football education. I would expect Welbeck to now push on and make that highly desired centre forward position his own. With Olivier Giroud out until at least January, the England striker will get a good run of games to prove that he can practice what he preaches.
Next up for Arsenal is a tough trip to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday night. I expect Welbeck to start again due to his valuable Champions League experience and pace being a key factor if Arsene Wenger is to leave Germany unbeaten.