….Well at least for a while to come.
Like many fellow Gooners, I was very excited when we signed Daniel Nii Tackie Mensah Welbeck back in September. We were desperate for new firepower up-front and Danny seemed the right man for us. He was further in his development than Sanogo and would be able to compete for the CF spot with Giroud, and there was also potential for both Giroud and Welbeck to start in a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.
Welbeck was pushed out at Manure as LvG was looking for more established firepower… Their current combined strike force share between them about an eye-watering million pounds in wages every week, but they have been very net-shy this season – and long may it continue. 😀
The 1.84m tall attacker was very keen to join us. He wanted to play football regularly, in the central role and with a lot of creative players around him, who are able to launch him into space. The arrival at the home of football gave him a spring in his step, resulting in fine and effective performances for England and Arsenal. He scored five goals in twelve PL and CL appearances for Arsenal and he produced two PL assists as well. However, it has been a while since he hit the net as it looks like he is struggling to get himself into scoring positions at the moment, as well as taking the few good chances that come his way.
This seems to coincide with Ozil’s injury, and it did not help either that Jack has been injured in the last few games. A player like Welbeck is highly dependent on creative midfielders who can anticipate and pick out his runs, and we have lacked that to a large extent. Only Alexis, as a fellow striker/winger, has been picking him out regularly and effectively during the last few games.
I watched Danny on a number of occasions and cannot help but feel that he is not ready to be our CF on a regular basis. In fact, I think he would be a lot more effective as a winger.
I am convinced that the injury to OG has cost us badly this season. Not just for his goal contributions, which, let’s face it, is not his strongest attribute, but especially for the shape his gives to the team and the link-play he provides for the rest of the team. For Wenger’s current preferred – but temporarily abandoned – system of 4-1-4-1, OG is very, very important.
I don’t think this role fits Welbeck, even though he is working very hard to be effective in it. Danny is best when we regain the ball in midfield or defence and spring a counter-attack: when there is space to run into and there are midfielders who can pick him out. Manure have always played this sort of football under RedNose and you can see Welbeck has been properly schooled in it.
Danny is a total athlete, and it is great to watch him run with or without the ball at defenders, when there is space and real momentum.
But we do not play that sort of football very often and we face a lot of park the buses teams. We need either another Giroud-type, OR a predator in the box, and, from what I saw of him against Burnley, he is neither, AS YET.
Of course, he will only become 24 this month and Wenger has had very little time to work with him. I am convinced he will be a success at Arsenal, but not so sure whether that will be as our big CF.
In a dream world, we will have all our attackers fully fit and really give opponent teams the creeps. For me, and I reckon Wenger, this means OG in the centre and Alexis and Theo on the wings, with both Ozil and Jack providing the through-balls and central box penetration. Welbeck could be our super-sup up-front, just as Calum Chambers will be at the back (once everybody is fit there, sigh, sigh!).
As you can tell, I am not so keen on Danny being our CF right now. He still has a lot to learn in terms of anticipating crosses and owning space around defenders in the box. Crossers of the ball don’t find him enough, and he does not anticipate their crosses enough either…. And a deadly CF demands the former and is brilliant at the latter. They also often are, instinctively, in the space were rebounds drop. And when he gets a chance he tends to lack the ‘cold-bloodedness’, often not keeping his shots low, thus giving the keeper a chance.
In my view, Danny is not doing well enough to warrant the CF role going forward at the moment.
But as a winger, with a licence to position himself centrally on a regular basis, I can see him do really well. He has the power, speed, hunger and physical strength and endurance for it, and I can see him give Theo a real run for his money. I can see him give Alexis and Theo a break now and again, or allow the Chilean to play more central, if required.
Of course, as long as Giroud is out it will be Welbeck up-front, but once the French Lighthouse is back, I would love to see Danny play on the wings for a while. I think then we will see the very best of him this season.
Written by: TotalArsenal.
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