As Arsene Wenger has revealed, the £16 million signing of Danny Welbeck from Manchester United on deadline day was a stroke of good luck for the Gunners because the manager had a 6am start to the day to meet Pope Francis at the ‘Match of Peace’ charity match in Italy and if he hadn’t traveled, the striker wouldn’t be with the London club. It is rumored that Wenger met someone involved with the deal in Rome, which helped push the transfer through.
With Oliver Giroud perceived to be out for three months with a foot injury back then, Wenger decided to go for the 23-year-old who presented a better option both than Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell as the central striker. We take a look at how he has fared in the four months since his move.
He has played the perfect foil for Alexis Sanchez with the Chilean mesmerizing fans and opponents alike with some amazing football and more importantly goals. With just two goals in his last 13 appearances in all competitions for Welbeck, questions have been asked about the striker’s finishing abilities, although 7 goals from 19 starts is not particularly a poor return considering he was never an out and out goalscorer and he had scored 20 goals from 90 appearances with Manchester United.
Things started off well for the English international and he could have had a debut goal against Manchester City only for his chipped effort to hit Joe Hart’s post. A week later, he had opened his account for the season having provided Mesut Ozil for the opener at Villa Park as Arsenal blew away the home side with three first half goals in 192 seconds. It was looking like the makings of a bright partnership with Welbeck providing Arsenal with counter attacking options up front with his quick thinking and intelligent movements.
Ten days later, he was putting Galatasaray to the sword with his first goals in the Champions League for his new club. He went on to score a hat trick becoming only the third Arsenal player to score a Champions League hat-trick following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry and ‘Lord’ Nicklas Bendtner.
Things have however fallen limp since that night in London. Here’s a stat, Giroud has scored more Premier League goals than Welbeck in almost 1/3rd of playing time.
Even though he has been good with his movement and defensive work, he has been inconsistent with his finishing and needs to be more decisive during the build-up play. The loss of Ozil has definitely impacted Welbeck as he has often found the lack of service frustrating, but he needs to improve on a few aspects of his game.
A tad bit selfish at times, Welbeck could also do much better with his hold up play, especially with Arsenal full of nimble-footed attacking players. With Giroud’s comeback, it was expected that he would benefit from being on the receiving end of one-touch give and go’s and goes, but it hasn’t transpired as of yet.
Important winning goals away at West Brom and West Ham have been other high points in his budding Arsenal career and an impressive display at the Boleyn Ground shows the tremendous potential he still possesses.
With three of his four Premier League goals along with both of his assists coming away from home, it signifies that he fits well in a counter-attacking unit, but might struggle in a side which focuses on patient possession and penetration. With Theo Walcott’s return to fitness and the continual heroics of Arsenal, Welbeck could establish himself as the third wheel of a dangerous counter attacking side in big games, especially away from home.