With the pre-season ready to kick-in, every member of the Arsenal squad will be looking to impress the gaffer. After all, this is a big chance that can guarantee a place in the first team for the next season. This could be the trip that would open up a couple of spots and then close it out with the best performers of the pre-season tour.
That, of course, doesn’t mean the end of the world for the absentees. We are not talking about the forced absence for Alexis Sanchez who is taking a much awaited break. We are talking about the prolonged absence of striker Danny Welbeck. The England striker has been out of action since the semifinal of FA Cup in April and is still not fully recovered.
Just like any injured player, Welbeck wished to be fit for the new season. There is no harm in putting your long term plans ahead of anything else so long as you plan in the best interests – both individual and team. Welbeck thought he can be fit for the pre-season but he is now racing against time to be fit for the start of the season.
Where does Welbeck go from here? The England striker was rated very highly by Wenger even before he signed for Arsenal. Wenger always looks for a specific style of play in his strikers and Welbeck wasn’t entirely of the same ilk. Just check this – the much maligned former Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie played as a creative striker (or a false 9) as a Gunner while at Manchester he was more of an out-and-out striker.
Wenger wants more creativity from his strikers. He doesn’t count on his striker for goals alone; he wants them to bring other players into the equation. He wants aerial presence from his strikers to be a threat in set-pieces. In short, he wants Welbeck.
Wenger has Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and even Aaron Ramsey or Theo Walcott to call upon for goals. What he doesn’t get from any of these is the consistent ‘pestering presence’ of Welbeck. We have already seen in his limited games for Arsenal that Welbeck is a nuisance for the opposition defenders.
If he can stay away from injuries and continue to do the same, Wenger should be happy to welcome back Welbeck. The gaffer will be well served because Welbeck, Giroud and Sanchez complement each other so well that they can terrorize any defense. All this, only if Welbeck can stay fit for the season. If he can, watch out for him.