Former Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck celebrates his 30th birthday today. Welbeck was a hardworking, likeable and perhaps underappreciated player. Remember that dramatic, do-or-die goal against Leicester City? That’s what Welbeck was all about. Sadly, injuries to an extent tarnished his career. A trip down a Welbeck themed Memory Lane.
Signed from Manchester United in September of 2014, the tale of Welbeck’s Arsenal career is a rollercoaster. There’s an iconic FA Cup Quarterfinal winner against former club Manchester United, a frenzied last-minute winner against Leicester City in the 2015/16 season and an excellent goal to save Arsenal’s bacon against CSKA Moscow.
On the other hand, Welbeck’s time with the Gunners was filled with agonisingly, tragic injuries. The nature of the injuries resulted in Welbeck missing a total of 123 games whilst at Arsenal. Danny Welbeck has always put the injuries behind him however, which is a testament to his mentality.
There have been plenty of fantastic Welbeck performances for Arsenal. Take the 2017 FA Cup Final against Chelsea for instance, where Welbeck put in an impressive, hard working performance and was unlucky not to grab a goal, hitting the post with a header. Another top performance was in the Europa League round of 16 fixture against AC Milan, where Welbeck scored a brace.
There’s an argument to be had that Welbeck was, at times, underrated whilst at Arsenal. Welbeck was a versatile player being able to play as a striker or out wide, and he could form good partnerships with the players around him. A notable example was with Lacazette in the times when both front-men were paired up together.
Picked ahead of a want-away Alexis Sánchez in a 2017 Premier League match with Bournemouth, Welbeck scored twice and picked up one assist in a 3-0 win. A man of the match performance. An influential performance to prove any critics or doubters wrong in the process.
Afterwards Arsène Wenger had this to say about Welbeck’s display, “He’s a team player, Danny Welbeck, that’s why the coaches love him. He’s a guy who has a physical potential that’s huge as well.”
In one of Arsène Wenger’s final games against Southampton, I remember when Welbeck scored a late winner to save Arsenal, just after missing an earlier chance. His celebration still sticks with me, arms stretched out, an almost casual smug look about him as if this was destined to happen before hand. An epic moment in my mind, from a decidedly average Premier League match.
Shown the door by Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, Welbeck’s sale was Manchester United’s loss and Arsenal’s gain. One of his greatest nights in Arsenal colours came against his former club, in a 2015 FA Cup Quarter-Final clash.
Selected ahead of Olivier Giroud, Welbeck’s dramatic winner possessed an air of vengeance. Rounding the goalkeeper, the forward passionately celebrated the goal, in front of his former fans. Playing a significant part in Arsenal’s road to the 2015 FA Cup Final, Welbeck’s finish at Old Trafford will live long in the memories of Arsenal fans.
While he wasn’t the most technical player to put on an Arsenal shirt, Welbeck had many good points to his game. Besides his tremendous work-rate, Welbeck had a knack for popping up with goals in big games. Particularity when facing his former side Manchester United, with a tally of three goals against them.
I’d like to wish Danny Welbeck a happy birthday, he had a good time at Arsenal which was sadly cut short by injuries. He wasn’t the most skillful player to play for Arsenal, but he always gave his all. Whether playing as a starter, in a rotated squad or coming off the bench. I wish him the best of luck in this chapter of his career at Brighton & Hove Albion.
A young writer who dreams of seeing Arsenal back in the Champions League. Particularly interested in the psyche, mentality and mental health of players – their motivation, the harmful effects of social media, and how the football world affects them.