Another lion in London red: Analyzing Welbeck’s potential at Arsenal

Danny Welbeck certainly has a point to prove at Arsenal
Danny Welbeck certainly has a point to prove at Arsenal

Manchester United academy graduate and England international Danny Welbeck joined Arsenal on September 1st, in a move that most fans (including those of the club) were quick to understandable label a “deadline day panic buy”. Yet, as is always the case with all transfers no matter how much sense they make, the clock ticks on, emotions settle, we enter the stage of acceptance that we must live with what’s happened, and consider what comes next. So let’s jump in.

Welbeck’s arrival sees him joining a young and strong English contingent at his new home in Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshire, and fellow new signing Calum Chambers. The fact that five of these lads have already been photographed in training together giggling and grinning like high school best mates bodes well – at it’s core, team spirit and togetherness not only make those long hours training a little more fun and challenging, but also foster positive relationships and result in good influences off the pitch. Perhaps in lieu of receiving shots by mouth from England’s number 1, young Jack Wilshire will now add a bit more gentleness to his ways by spending time with the always smiling and (thus far) non-controversial Welbeck.

There is also the fact that the 23 year old man from Manchester has been given the main striker’s role at the club. At 6 foot tall and with shoulders that will surely continue to broaden in both a literal and metaphorical sense, being able to play down the middle with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez on your flanks is a chance any striker would relish.

Yet the alarming fact remains that finishing has unfortunately been his weakness. Managing 20 goals in 90 appearances over 3 seasons at a club like United is not an ideal statistic, which has led most to laugh his transfer off as acquiring a player who isn’t good enough for a rival team. But then again he played nearly all of those games as a winger due to his pace; Arsenal already have a plethora of rapid players to play on the wings, and what they needed was a solid, pacy striker who could for once put away assists as goals rather than provide them. In Welbeck, they may not have the best in this category, but they do have one who has his basics covered.

wenger and welbeckHe’s fast, agile, jumps well, has excellent stamina and his positioning is on the rise, not to mention his work ethic both offensively and defensively is off the charts. When you consider the fact that Arsenal are the kind of team that require their strikers to act more as anchors in keeping the ball until a midfielder like Cazorla or Ramsey arrives to have at it at the opposition goal, Welbeck’s solid passing abilities add an extra dimension to his utilisation at the club. But this is also a drawback for the player – he isn’t very strong nor balanced, and hence may not be able to keep the ball the same was Giroud has done in the past to pick out a daft pass for a shot at goal.

Considering what Danny brings and doesn’t bring to the table, Arsenal have a young, established England international who has been given a cosmic push in confidence due to the belief his manager and colleagues, and now slowly his fans, have shown in him. But belief on it’s own does not win you trophies; tactics, planning, adapting, great football and teamwork do.

The basics may be covered, but it remains to be seen whether this Arsenal side with Welbeck as it’s spearhead are indeed good enough to be challenging for top honours in England and Europe. With the likes of Falcao, Balotelli and Costa arriving at fellow top flighters, for all the positives and the justifications, Welbeck remains a wild card who now has the perfect opportunity to prove himself on England’s biggest stage.

Whether he will turn out a predator or an overwhelmed cub remains to be seen.

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