Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Danny Welbeck could be key to Arsenal clawing back at Chelsea's advantage

Had Danny Welbeck been just a little bit sharper, the thrilling finale of Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Burnley might never have happened. 

Just as the game entered stoppage time, fellow substitute Francis Coquelin clipped an excellent pass in Welbeck's direction. 

At his best, the England forward would have surely taken the ball under control before slotting under the advancing Tom Heaton.

As it was, his touch illustrated his rustiness and the opportunity evaporated. However, Welbeck's darting movement showed just how much he has to offer.

When he regains match fitness, he will surely be a major contributor to this Arsenal side's attempts to claw back Chelsea's advantage in the Premier League.

Welbeck has quickly worked his way back into Arsene Wenger's plans. Since returning to full training, the former Manchester United man has been involved in three consecutive Arsenal games. 

He didn't play a single minute with the second string, instead being thrown straight into the senior side.

That gives some indication as to the esteem in which Wenger holds him; Arsenal are not short of attacking talent, yet Welbeck has seemingly immediately leapfrogged the likes of Lucas Perez in the pecking order.

The fact that Welbeck came on against Burnley speaks for itself. 

With the match finely poised, Wenger could have brought on Perez or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to help Arsenal see the game through. Instead, he opted for Welbeck.

Wenger seems to have an implicit trust in the striker and he's not the first; throughout his career, Welbeck has been a favourite with several managers.

His value lies partly in his tactical discipline. He plays without ego, constantly working for the benefit of the team.

Even against Burnley, he rotated out to the left flank when required, showing his selflessness and versatility when Alexis Sanchez sought to take up central positions.

Few players could count on more support on the comeback trail. Despite his links to United, Welbeck is enormously popular with the fans.

In conversation with the Telegraph, Wenger explains the "Welbz" phenomenon thus:

"First of all he is hugely popular because he did very well with England before he got injured, he was the centre-forward of England.

England failed at the European Championship and you cannot stop people from thinking,If Welbeck was there he would have helped us win against Iceland.

"Secondly, he is a young, promising striker -- he has a fantastic spirit and people sense that.

He is genuine, committed and humble and you do not find that too many times together.

Maybe as well people feel sorry for a guy who hasn't played for two years basically, and he is rightly, hugely popular

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