Why Danny Welbeck could shine for Arsenal

Danny Welbeck

The injury to Daniel Sturridge opens up the door for new Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck to partner Wayne Rooney upfront for England against Switzerland in the Euro 2016 qualifier on Monday.

Welbeck joined Arsenal on the transfer deadline day for a reported fee of £16m from Manchester United. Rooney, the England and United captain feels that Welbeck’s move to the Emirates was important for the forward as it could re-ignite his club and international career.

“Danny is a lively player; an impact player,” the England and United captain said. “He is quick, he can score goals and I am sure with him getting the move to Arsenal now, hopefully he can play up front for Arsenal. That will really help him with England.”

Welbeck is a typical ‘modern’ forward who could become a real asset for Arsenal. He is strong, versatile, quick, energetic and possesses almost all the necessary attributes that defines a perfect modern-day striker, who are expected to be adaptable enough to carry out multiple roles.

Welbeck’s natural quality is his speed. While Manchester United have tried to use his pace by drifting him out wide, Arsene Wenger probably would want his new striker to run in behind defences and create space for his attacking midfielders to exploit.

Wenger is not a big fan of a ‘poacher’ type striker rather he loves speedy forwards (Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka et al) who would contribute more to the game than by just simply scoring goals. From that perspective, Welbeck seems an ideal fit into the profile of a typical Wenger-type-striker.

The only thing missing from his game, for which he has been heavily criticised, is the lack of goals. His goals per game ratio is not something you would expect from a good striker, let alone an elite level striker like Radamel Falcao or Luis Suarez. It could be down to the fact that most of the time he plays out of his position and comes on as a sub (read as impact player) to influence games tactically. Michael Cox, a renowned blogger notes that Welbeck is a “great footballer, but not a great goal scorer.”

Having said that whenever Welbeck was given chances to play the lead role for a considerable period of games, he has hardly disappointed. Last season, during the busy festive period, Welbeck when deployed as a lone striker by David Moyes, has returned the faith of his manager by bagging five goals in six matches in all competitions.

The 23-year-old is tactically disciplined and chips in with valuable defensive shifts. He is particularly good in tracking opposition full-backs and has done commendable jobs in man-marking deep lying midfielders.

Probably the best feature of his game is his high pass-completion rate, which is over 85% – exceptionally high for a forward. He keeps it simple through neat and precise passing and is equally good with his distributions.

In absence of Olivier Giroud, the England international should now get the chance to impress his new manager by playing at his natural position, but it remains to be seen, how and where he will be used once the Frenchman returns from injury.

However it is not Welbeck’s primary concern at the moment as all he needs now is regular games under his belt. His tactical versatility makes him a perfect signing for Arsenal and there’s no reason why he cannot shine for the North London club.

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