We have heard today from Arsene Wenger that Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck will soon be returning to the early stages of his initial first team training. According to Le Prof, the club has an insight for the player to make his first appearance of the season at some point in January, which will be coming up close to almost a year out of professional football.
The English forward was making quite an impact on his return from injury last season. He scored that last minute winner against soon to be Champions Leicester City, which at the time we felt was all so important in our own late title charge. Unfortunately for the Gunners however, as soon as we got the powerful frontman back, it seemed he was soon taken away from us through injury once again. Welbeck suffered a second serious knee injury in as many years and it’s generally feared that injuries are becoming a consistent issue for the former Manchester United striker.
Wenger is confident on Welbeck’s progress and expects him back in January, with two months preparation in training for his return to the Premier League. Wenger said: “He is ahead of schedule and could be back in January. After that let’s not forget he was out for a year, and to get him back to competitive level will take two months. He will be out to start running in two weeks.”
Welbeck was of course originally brought in to challenge Olivier Giroud for the main striker spot at Arsenal, however since his signing, plenty has changed in North London. Although Giroud is generally still considered as the club’s main striker (with Alexis primarily a converted winger), Welbeck also has to battle against the re-positioned Alexis, the competition from Lucas Perez and of course the form of Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi on the wings. In my opinion it’s going to be difficult for Welbeck to get back into this Arsenal side when he does finally make his return to fitness. We are already seeing how hard it is for new signing Lucas Perez to get into the starting eleven, whilst Giroud is nowhere to be seen, so if everyone’s stays on form the way that they are, then Welbeck could find his opportunities very limited.
I feel that if Welbeck suffers another injury soon after he returns to the pitch this time around, then we could find ourselves in a similar situation to that of Jack Wilshere. Wilshere has of course been loaned out in order to obtain more playing time and to focus on building his fitness away from Arsenal. Welbeck could soon be seen in the same light, however I’m not sure if the Gunners would consider the same approach with the frontman as they have done with Welbeck’s English compatriot.
I’m sure we all wish Welbeck luck with the last bits of his return to first team training and hopefully we’ll get to see plenty of the frontman after the turn of the new year!