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Welbeck the Team Player

We Gooners can be an affectionate bunch.

The term ‘fan favourite’ is one that can be applied to many of our past and present players, and the parameters to attain this level of adoration – for Arsenal players – are wider than most fanbases.

Remember John Jensen? The Dane came to Arsenal off the back of an incredible Euro92 campaign with Denmark, and proceeded to score a solitary goal in his four years as a Gunner. Yes, he was a decent tackler, but in the cold light of day, it wasn’t his performances that keep him memorable.

The same can be said of a few others, where their skills on the turf may not have been made tangible for all of us to see, but the mere mention of their name brings forth a nostalgic grin.

Danny Welbeck is not one of those players who never showed us what he can do. On the contrary, ‘Dat Guy’ was full of nifty touches in and around the box, with a decent awareness and a hell of a tank on him to boot, that allowed him to mercilessly track up and down whatever flank he was tasked with.

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The bottom line for a striker though, is goals – and Welbeck never got close to what was needed in this one area.

Welbz did however, score some memorable and important goals. Who can forget his Cup goal versus his former team? Or his goal after returning from a nightmare injury – a five minute cameo that gave us a late win over Champions-to-be Leicester?

Welbeck came up with the goods in so many ways, just not the way that a striker is judged on – and now with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and young upstart Eddie Nketiah all vying for a striking spot in this new regime – do we have room for affection?

Olivier Giroud was a prime example of this. The Frenchman gave so much more than goals – his hold up play and touch to bring in others were superb. When compared to Welbeck he could even be described as prolific – but his lack of a killer edge in the box meant he was surplus to requirements, despite the love we had – and still do – for him.

Welbeck has scored 15 goals in 80 appearances in our shirt. Yet for England, he has a ratio of nearly a goal every other game. The way he is utilised is key – when donning the three lions, he is first and foremost a striker – but at Arsenal, he is so much more.

Welbeck’s performances and talents for our club benefit the whole team. Play him on the left or the right and you keep it far tighter than if you were to play another wide forward, and your attack is knitted together that little more succinctly too. He constantly runs, stretching defences who are forced to track his tireless darting, and this means space that our more ruthless attackers can profit from.

Sometimes, you need players who are selfless. Welbeck in the eleven means better cohesion. Doesn’t it speak volumes that he can play across the whole forward line and still make a massive difference? Welbeck is a squad player we can trust – and one we have faith in – just not in front of goal.

If an offer comes in for the England man, no one could have any qualms with him moving on in search of minutes on the pitch.

Still, if we could offload Joel Campbell and a few others rather than Welbeck, then our squad – especially when the games come thick and fast – would wholly benefit and be stronger for Welbeck’s inclusion.

He is Dat Guy for a reason.

Burnley Vs Arsenal – Match Preview

If last week was anything to go on, we should hold no fear of a visit to Burnley.


Last week saw a return to our best. We used our muscle when needed but the most important muscle of all, the brain, was the key to our victory over spurs. We were clever in possession and found the chinks in their armour, and we exploited them wonderfully. It was a masterful display that restored some faith in the players and their capabilities.


If we play like that against Burnley, then we will win. We all know though, that we often fail to rise to those heights with any consistency.


Then, our away form leaves us with more doubts. One sole win away from The Emirates in the league is just dire, and far removed from what we need to harbour any hopes of any concerted challenge for the top4. Yes, we are merely a point away currently, but we can plainly see that our away form is reason for concern.


Lastly, there is our opponent. Burnley are a real force this season, and they are just goal difference below us in the table. Sean Dyche has created a wonderfully optimised team that really make the most from their men, individually and collectively. They have a fantastic record at Turf Moor, and they will be ready for us as their last game was a week ago, and it was a comfortable 2-0 win over Swansea.


This game is a real test for us, make no bones about it. They have six clean sheets from 12 games, and will strangle our midfield so they can then overrun it. We need the Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey from last week, not the other side of them that we have seen too often so far. The midfield pair were everywhere last weekend, and we will need them to do the same thing against Jeff Hendrick, Gudmondssen, Cork and Defour.


The one weakness Burnley have is goals. They have 12 from 12 thus far, and their top scorer is Sam Vokes with just three. They will play aerially if they get no joy on the flanks, and with Robbie Brady willing to sling in crosses for fun, a switched on performance is required.


Burnley have never beaten us in the Premier League. Last season saw two incredibly tight games where we could count ourselves a little lucky to grab all the points. This current incarnation of the Clarets however, is different indeed – and better.


In terms of who will play, Arsene Wenger confirmed that we picked up no new injuries in our 1-0 loss to Cologne on Thursday. This means that only Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott will miss out, the England man is still suffering from illness. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes but his subbing was merely a precaution, according to our Manager. He will probably get a spot on the bench.


The second string that turned out in Germany did nothing to say they should get a regular starting spot, so the team that won last week should be unchanged for this game. A winning team should never be changed, and this will most likely be the case at Turf Moor.


So, another chance to better our away record. Time to shine boys.


Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.


Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 to The Arsenal

Southampton 0-5 Arsenal: 5 Keypoints From the FA Cup Tie

Wow, talk about a contrast.

Last week we saw our full strength side scrap and scrape a 2-1 win over Burnley at home, thanks to a 97th minute penalty.

This week, we saw a supposed understrength side absolutely take Southampton to the cleaners in their own digs, to the tune of five unanswered goals.

As expected, Arsene Wenger made a host of changes for this tie – ten in total – before he left the team in the hands of his Assistant Manager Steve Bould. His four match ban after his dealings with the fourth official started with this match, and with an unfamiliar side named and a somewhat bogey side to face, things were looking dicey.

Claude Puel also rang the changes with ten differences from midweek, but he and his talented youngsters could not have foreseen what was to come. 

Arsenal fans rejoiced as their was the long-awaited first start since last season for Danny Welbeck, and he started up top. There was also an immediate return to action for the fit-again Theo Walcott, and both were to show they were worthy of inclusion.

Keiran Gibbs, Rob Holding, Lucas Perez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Maitland-Niles and The Jeff himself were all part of the side, and The Ox and Maitland-Niles formed an unusual central midfield pairing. They would face Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jordie Clasie in the centre of the park – and absolutely boss it.

Arsenal started on the front foot, and it took only fifteen minutes for ‘Dat Guy’ to make his mark. He showed good control to take Lucas’s pass, and his high finish off the crossbar showed excellent composure. 

Seven minutes later, he had a brace. The source was The Ox this time, but the result was the same; good control and smart finish.

With ten minutes left, Arsenal killed the game. Super Danny Welbeck was again heavily involved, but he wasn’t the finisher. He instead showed great awareness to cross for the lurking Theo Walcott for a close range finish.

There were more chances for the Gunners, and it seemed as if they would put the tie to bed before the half time whistle, but at half time, the score remained 3-0. The Saints were not at the races, but even if they were bang on form, Arsenal would have quelled their force.

The second half saw no revival, nor a collapse from the Gunners. It was again more of the same, as the away team kept their boot firmly on the jugular of the home side. They continued to create and run at Southampton, who had no answer to this incredible show of force. Danny Welbeck was withdrawn from the action on 64 minutes before he could grab a fairytale hat-trick, but there would be a treble in the game.

On 69 minutes, Theo grabbed his second. Alexis, a second half sub, picked him out in the box and a smart first time finish into the far corner gave Arsenal the fourth. Florian Gardos and Jack Stephens – the Saints centre-backs – were left spinning by the artistry of Lucas and Alexis, and the rampaging runs of Theo and Welbeck.

Theo grabbed his hat-trick and his 99th Arsenal goal, when Lucas’s ball from a Southampton attack found a running Alexis. He had two men on his tail, but he held up play until Theo was in the box. Another first time finish and he had the match ball. 

That was that, and Arsenal were emphatically through into the Fifth round of the Cup. Here are some hot talking points from the game;



Competition fires the side

This team, Theo aside, have been on the outskirts of the first eleven this season. They would have lacked rhythm, sharpness and cohesion. They showed that hunger is one of the most important traits of all, perhaps more so than the others aforementioned. They were all on fire and wanted to put on a show. Rotation may just be necessary as we have a large squad, but also because these players need to play to give a reminder to the manager.


Maximum effort gains reward

At 4-0 up and the game signed, sealed and delivered, Southampton started to foray into Arsenal territory. The sight that warmed my heart more than the goals and the win, more than anything really, was seeing The Ox and Theo chasing back to help out with the defending in their own box. It was these young men showing they had grown up and they want to play a big part and they are willing to put in the hard yards. This is exactly what we need.


Lucas is so effective

Eight starts, and eight times he has been involved directly in a goal. He grabbed an assist this time, and he looks so assured on the ball. His cool head and great touch should be utilised more often as the season progresses, and I’m confident he will not let us down. His assist for Welbeck was sumptuous.


Welbeck to play a big part 












Whenever he has put on our shirt, Welbeck has given his all. This is the reason why our fans universally adore him. His pace, his favouring of balls ahead of him rather than to feet, his touch and his defensive qualities make him a true asset. If his fitness holds, then he could very well nail down a starting spot. Even if he doesn’t start all the games, he will have a huge bearing on our season. Love you Welbz – and that celebration!


Holding holds his own again

What a prospect. He again showed nous way beyond his years in this performance. He will have tougher games, but he is looking every inch an England player for the future. If he continues this growth, then a starting spot for Arsenal when Koscielny steps down could be on the cards. One step at a time at the moment though. He needs to continue what he is doing, but you can’t fail to be excited by what he is capable of.

There was a lot going on during this set of ninety minutes, far more than the above. Particularly impressive was Ainslie Maitland-Niles starting in the centre. He seems to have the confidence of the boss after starting a few cup games this season, and he has a great touch, as well as physical strength for a slight frame. The Ox played well in the centre too, and he appears to have grown this season. 

Next up is a game against Watford on Tuesday, before we travel to Stamford Bridge in the weekend. Mesut Ozil, Petr Cech, Coquelin, Ramsey, and co. Be aware of the competition breathing down your neck, step it up like they have. 

Arsenal 2 – 1 Leicester – The Welbeck Story!!!

This match had been hyped to the max for at least a week before today’s kickoff. Leicester’s incredible rise and demolition of all doubts gave their story a Hollywood edge. Their bandwagon – heavily laden with people jumping on it – travelled to The Emirates seeking another win which would put them eight points ahead of the Gunners.

After the ninety minutes had played out and Gooners had sang their hearts out, they had been repaid by their team after a fantastic second half display which saw one of those rare moments when fairytales actually do come true.

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Continue reading Arsenal 2 – 1 Leicester – The Welbeck Story!!!

Welbeck – A Fleeting Purchase?

The acquisition of Danny Welbeck brought with it a heady mix of emotions.With expectation running high following a spending splurge pre-season and our first choice striker Giroud crocked – Gooners expected a flagship signing to fill an Olivier shaped hole in our team. Many names were bandied around, with Edinson Cavani the most ludicrous. The late signing of Welbeck was a fillip but didn’t have a brass band nor a ticker-tape parade.

The much maligned Danny Welbeck was further derided by a portion of Arsenal fans as he was perceived to be below the class that is expected for Arsenal. Spending what little time on the pitch he had on the wing, Welbeck was offered a chance to rescue a promising career that threatened to be dwarved by a lack of appearances.

Continue reading Welbeck – A Fleeting Purchase?