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Arsenal: What Does The Frenchman’s Return Mean To Their £16m Star?

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Olivier Giroud returns to full training
Olivier Giroud set to start the game against stoke later today

Fate sometimes has a unique way of punishing you. And Danny Welbeck knows all about that. His athleticism, pace and energy was one of the main reasons why Welbeck was often deployed on the wings at Manchester United. After years of waiting for his opportunity to play as a central striker, Welbeck finally gave up and moved to Arsenal in the summer, in the hope that he will be played more centrally.

At the start of the campaign, with the injury to Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo meant that the 24-year-old finally got his wish as he was played as the side’s main striker. The Englishman seemed to relish that opportunity and got into a rich vein of goal scoring form. Although he has scored just thrice in 11 starts in the Premier League, it is in the Champions League that he has proven to be prolific having scored three times in his four appearances.

All is finally well in Welbeck’s world right now. But it might not be for far too long. Giroud’s return to fitness now means that Welbeck might have to fight for his place in the starting line up. Arsene Wenger now has a decision on his hands. Does he keep playing Welbeck, who has scored or assisted in every other game this season, or does he bring his compatriot straight into the starting XI in place of Welbeck.

Both strikers bring two very different things to the table and it is up to Wenger to decide whether he wants the pace and explosiveness of Welbeck or the finesse and one-touch play of Giroud. Whatever decision he makes at least of his strikers isn’t going to be too pleased with his decision.

The Englishman has certainly done enough to warrant a place in the Starting XI but has at times shown his lack of composure in the box. Although his finishing isn’t at the mark it should be, for a world class striker, he is much more than a poacher. The Englishman’s pace stretches defences and his combination with Alexis Sanchez has already brought plenty of joy for the Gunners.

Returning French International has talked about Welbeck’s presence in the team recently and has stated that he has already clicked well with the former Mancunian and also believes that his ‘striker’s mentality’ will make the Gunners more dangerous inside the box.

With Danny we are quite complimentary,” Giroud told Arsenal Player. “We have a good understanding on the pitch.

“If you are watch the last game when I came on – and West Brom as well – we found each other really well on the pitch. We can play together.

However, if Wenger decides that he needs the physical presence of Giroud, then Welbeck might have to play second fiddle to the Frenchman. And given Giroud’s ability to hold the ball up and bring his team mates into play, it looks as though the Frenchman might not have too much of a problem displacing the English striker.

On the other hand, if Wenger decides that he needs Welbeck in the team, then he can always play him on the left wing and have him drift in and join the attack. Although one of the main reasons why he came to Arsenal was because of an opportunity to play up top, he might have to make peace with starting on the flanks.

Even that isn’t a long-term solution particularly given the fact that the Gunners have genuine wingers in the likes of Chamberlain and Theo Walcott who will be raring to go. So the Englishman might have to spend more time on the bench than he initially thought he might have to.

In the end, it looks as though Welbeck’s move to Arsenal won’t be as good as the striker thought it would be as he might once again have to do a job for the team on the flanks or be the club’s second-choice striker. No matter which way it goes, Welbeck must just be glad that he is the club’s second-choice striker and not the third or fourth choice, like he was at United.

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