Oh Danny boy…
I must confess that, after days producing content related to a game which will have finished by the time you read this (hopefully, it’s gone well – EDIT – let’s not talk about it), I felt a touch tapped out.
What to write about?
For obvious reasons, the derby match is off limits- unless I want to get all Nostradamus about it. Which I don’t.
What to write about? Who to write about? After a week drenched in nostalgia and some Spurs baiting, I had no idea. So I asked someone and they said… Danny Welbeck.
So you have Rachid to thank for this post.
When Danny Welbeck signed for Arsenal, Arsène Wenger described him as an “ideal” signing.
Remember, this was against a background of white noise suggesting that Le Boss hadn’t wanted to sign Welbeck and it was only a slightly incompetent performance from Yaya Sanogo against Leicester that had forced his hand.
It strikes me that Welbeck may also be an ideal signing for the Arsenal fanbase, because he seems to be a slightly divisive figure and there’s nothing we like better than a division in the ranks, is there?
There are those who see his speed, strength and work ethic and are prepared to forgive the slightly rougher edges that exist in his game- his finishing being one example. These people are generally glad that we signed Welbeck and were therefore spared the sight of Yaya Sanogo careering around the pitch like a deer on LSD whilst Olivier Giroud recovered from his leg break.
Then there are those who saw Welbeck as a last minute panic buy, a Manchester United reject who was almost certainly not good enough to play for us.
That it was left late is undeniable, but perhaps explainable. Maybe, for example, Arsène felt that, given time, he could develop Sanogo into the forward he clearly thinks the young Frenchman could be- a game here, a game there, minutes on the pitch throughout the season. Giroud’s injury at Everton rather forced the issue and then it became a question of who was available.
Arsène clearly thought Welbeck worth a gamble. It’s worth pointing out here that not being good enough to play centre forward for Manchester United who can count on Rooney, Falcao and that other bloke, as well as, er… Fellaini and Di Maria is not quite the same as not being good enough for Arsenal.
Not when your only competition is Giroud and… and… er, that’s it.
We needed Danny, is what I’m saying.
I think he’s been a refreshing presence in the team.
At least, he was until he got injured.
Granted, some of his air shots haven’t spoken to the lethal kind of finishing a fanbase used to the likes of that other bloke, Thierry Henry and Wrighty expects but he’s 24 and at a club managed by a man with a proven track record of getting the best out of young strikers.
Where was Wrighty age 24?
If there’s a player in there- and I happen to think that there is- Arsène is likely to find him.
His work ethic, wherever he plays, is phenomenal- is this to be expected from someone who came into the Manchester United first team under Alex Ferguson? Along with Alexis, it’s made a nice change to see our forwards working so hard without the ball.
Perhaps the most important thing about Danny’s presence in the first team squad is that Olivier Giroud now has genuine competition for his first team spot.
I think Giroud’s all round game, despite his lack of pace, just about edges Welbeck out of the starting line up but this is because Giroud has come back from injury with a bang.
Boasting a goal per game ratio this season of .53 (eight goals from 15 games) as opposed to an Arsenal career average of .39 gpg (39 from 98), Giroud has been in excellent form. He knows he’s got to keep on keeping on, otherwise he’ll lose that shirt.
Speaking of stats, Danny’s seven goals from 20 Arsenal appearances represent a gpg average of .35 which isn’t great, but also isn’t that unfavourable when compared with Giroud’s form up until this season.
With 10 goals in 36 Manchester United appearances last season, he scored at an almost identical rate last season though I’m willing to bet that his next three goals will not take him 12 matches.
Of course, three of Danny’s goals came in one game and it was that game, against Galatasary, which gave us the clearest demonstration of what Danny Welbeck could be.
It’s kind of been lost over the last few months, but, despite the mediocrity of the opposition, it was difficult not to be excited by that display.
His intelligent movement, the ability to run in behind and away from defences and the quality of his finishing all reasons to be cheerful.
If his finishing for Arsenal hasn’t always lived up to that promise, then his performances for England have also shown what he is capable of.
It could be that that one game was a perfect storm, the night- the one night- when everything came right for Danny Welbeck, but I don’t think so.
I see someone with all the attributes, in the right place at the right time, to develop into a top class striker.
I see someone who has a point to prove.