At the time, this transfer raised many questions: Why are Manchester United selling him? Why are Arsenal buy him? Only for €20 million?
Like almost every player at Arsenal, he was seriously injured most of the time and we forgot what he could bring to the squad.
Able to play as a striker or as a winger (second striker), Danny Welbeck is only 26 years old and he is increasingly used by Arsene Wenger.
His place in the squad
Danny Welbeck’s last injury dates back to last year when he almost missed a whole season. We could think that would be beneficial to Olivier Giroud, but in fact, it’s Alexis Sanchez who played the entire season (not always as striker) while Olivier Giroud didn’t play as first choice anymore.
Coincidence or not, Danny Welbeck comeback came almost at the same time as the change of gameplan to 3-4-2-1. This season he played the first four games, scoring 3 goals with one assist.
Pressing with Danny Welbeck
This choice may be strange at first, but it seems to have arisen from Arsene Wenger and the change to 3-4-2-1.
Danny Welbeck did not leave any lasting memory, except perhaps that goal against Leicester at the end of the game two years ago.
Comparing with Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck was clearly the third choice in attack.
But from the end of last season, he is almost the first choice but not in the striker position. Now, this position is shared between Olivier Giroud and Alexandre Lacazette.
In the new gameplan, Danny Welbeck is positioned as a second striker, playing both on left side and alternatively in the point of the attack.
Where it becomes interesting, is in his aptitude to press the opponent : It’s true that Danny Welbeck is a strong player with a very good stamina and like Edinson Cavani at PSG when Zlatan Ibrahimovic played as the main striker, his position on the field and his ability to run for a long time make him a valuable first defender.
This was clearly seen against Bournemouth where he ran each time to try to catch the ball (sometimes with good recoveries) and the entire team did as well, even Mesut Ozil who is not frankly adept at defensive efforts. Below is the “pass network” against Bournemouth, note how Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil are high on the pitch.
However, this is not really what we have seen in previous games. But with Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin on the wings, the team looks more able to press high.
I wrote recently about how balance could be the solution for Arsenal and this game against Bournemouth showed that with a more defensive team, Arsenal are more efficient to gather the ball and then to attack.
While Danny Welbeck is not the most technical player in the squad, Arsenal team is composed of others players to make the game. The English is able to have good positions in the last meters, he is just lacking a good finish.