Having not kicked a ball in anger for Arsenal since we were held to a no score draw by Chelsea at the end of April as they cruised to the Premier League title last season, Danny Welbeck is understandably being treated with kid gloves by Arsene Wenger and the medical staff, but the England international forward is getting very close to being able to play for us again.
He has already completed a valuable hour for the under 21s yesterday and although you might think that puts him in the frame for a first team return, the Tomas Rosicky saga last week has probably made the boss even more cautious. The Frenchman’s injury update reported by Arsenal.com this week was pretty positive though and I think that Welbeck could be ready even sooner than he suggested.
Wenger said, “He is playing today with the under-21s, for one half at least. I believe that he needs to play two or three games before thinking about coming back into the first team. We can organise games internally without being official games and I think in the next three weeks he should be available. He has not played for 10 months so we need to be patient with him. He has good basic fitness but after it is competitive decision-making and he needs to get used to that again. We are a bit relieved because with such an injury, you never know how a player will come back. But he looks promising in training.”
So it is good to hear that Welbeck is looking sharp and after completing 60 minutes with no trouble against the Brighton reserves he should be available for selection soon, but where will he fit into the Arsenal team? Welbeck has size and strength as well as pace so will Wenger see him as a direct challenger or cover for Giroud through the middle?
Will he use him on the flanks as Man United often did and if so, would he be challenging Alexis Sanchez on the left or Theo Walcott on the right? Could Wenger use him and Theo as wide forwards with great pace and bring Alexis into a support striker’s role?
It looks like his first game back will be Hull City in the FA cup so we should learn a lot more about Wenger’s plans for him then. How do you see Welbeck fitting into this Arsenal team, if at all?