With the untimely injury to Alexandre Lacazette, Wenger is facing an unwanted situation. With Aubameyang being Europa League ineligible, combined with the sales of Giroud and Walcott, the simple fact is that Danny Welbeck is Arsenal’s only senior striking option for this Thursday. Indeed, the England International maybe the sole option, if we set aside young Eddie Nketiah, for the next six weeks in the Europa League. A period that, with a fair wind could take us beyond the Quarter-Finals. Bookies still have Arsenal amongst the favourites to win the Europa League, which represents their most likely route back to the Champions League. But this is Arsenal we’re talking about here, remember – so it’s never a sure thing. If you want to take a pop at picking a winner, be sure to check out Efirbet for the best betting tips and bookie reviews first.
This option seems to be filling the majority of Arsenal fans with trepidation and Welbeck has recently been subject to considerable criticism from a demanding fan base. Certainly the suggestion that we should be selling Welbeck and not Giroud was common in January. So for those who don’t trust Welbz to lead the line in Europe the anxiety is entirely understandable. However, I do not count myself in that number as a supporter who has a soft (some might say blind) spot for Danny.
Yes, as a central striker he has been far from prolific but to counter that one could say how may successive games has he actually played in that role? Yes, his first touch can let him down but when he does have the ball at feet he is always progressive and commits defenders. Yes, he can lack coolness in front of goal but at the same time he can cause chaos and create space for colleagues.
Most of his best performances may have come from the flank, where his work rate is hugely beneficial but that same energy deployed centrally can mean the opposition central defenders get no peace as his boundless movement and pressure is an undoubted asset. Let us not forget that it was Welbeck who lead the line at Wembley in May. He gave Luiz, Cahill and co a torrid time and for my money, despite a certain Chilean and Big German taking the plaudits he was my Man of the Match.
So before you resign Welbz to the scrap heap and panic about his ability to step up in the Europa knockout stages, I thought it might be timely to recall some of his finest moments, Cannon on chest.
Arsenal v Galatasaray, Champions League, Oct 2014
A superb hattrick that night saw Arsenal’s new signing prematurely compared to Henry, with the style of his pace, strength and finishing.
Man United v Arsenal, FA Cup QF, March 2015
Selected in a 4141 Welbeck lead the line with aplomb and in front of 9000 Gooners, Welbeck scored the winner, against his boyhood club. It was one of my favourite ever nights at a match and Danny celebrated at the corner flag as if he has been a Gooner all his life. He was substituted to raputouous applause from us and the Old Trafford faithful poured out with 10 minutes still left
Injury deprived Danny of the opportunity to play at Wembley in the final, having played in the Semi but none of us should be in any doubt of the part he played in the end of a 9-year drought on that barmy Monday night on March 9th.
Arsenal v Leicester, Premier League, February 2016
After 10 months on the sidelines injured Welbeck returned in spectacular style, giving us arguably the greatest ever moment in the Emirates. Perhaps the Arshavin team goal winner versus Barcelona might have a case but Danny’s late, dramatic headed winner against the league leaders sent the stadium into an absolute frenzy.
His goal should have been the turning point in the title race, only for Wenger’s Arsenal to blow it in true Gunner style losing the 2 subsequent matches away at Man United and at home to Swansea. To be fair to Welbz he scored at Old Trafford and was not in the team that capitulated at home to the Swans.
Southampton v Arsenal, FA Cup, January 2017
After another 9 months out Welbeck returned with a quality brace in a 5 Nil victory at St Mary’s. Walcott wrongly took the plaudits with three late goals but trust me I was there and this was the Welbeck show:
As fans in the stadium we were concerned at the risk Wenger took that day with Reine-Adelaide, Maitland-Niles and Chamberlain in midfield but we needn’t have worried as Welbeck’s first half goals settled the nerves and sent Arsenal on their way to a third FA Cup triumph in 4 years.
Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1 FA Cup Final May 2017
As I mentioned at the top of this piece Welbeck was my man of the match at Wembley. He worked tirelessly, stretching the Chelsea defence, winning free-kicks, causing havoc and creating space for his team mates.
Winning his first trophy and yes the interviewer is quite right, he did give those defenders a ‘hard time’.
So there you have it, Danny Welbeck, not Aubameyang, but much more than a second rate journeyman. He has the opportunity to prove a few wrong and he has the added incentive of an outside shot at the World Cup.
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