Arsenal Debate – Akpom or Welbeck as second choice striker?

With the imminent North London Derby coming up on Saturday morning, there will be much debate about which Arsenal players should be starting this crucial game on St Totteringham’s Day. We are all hopeful that Alexis Sanchez will return to the side, but the latest injury news is suggesting that Danny Welbeck will also be returning to the squad.

Olivier Giroud was taken off the field against Aston Villa as a “cautionary move” according to Arsene Wenger, but anyone who watched his replacement Chuba Akpom, trying his damnest to get on the scoresheet could not have helped being impressed by his determination and positioning in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch.

The latest news is that Akpom is close to signing a new deal with the Gunners, despite interest from top clubs like Liverpool and Dortmund, and I don’t believe that this would have happened unless Arsene Wenger had promised the academy youngster more first team chances to persuade him to stay.

But will Danny Welbeck’s return to the squad now impede Akpom’s chances of taking the field? Wenger clearly said that the ex-Man United man will be back for Spurs. Le Prof said just before the Aston Villa game: “Welbeck is very close. He is really, really, really nearly there. He will be available for the Tottenham game. He will join in full training on Monday.”

So let’s imagine that neither Alexis NOR Giroud is considered fit enough to face Tottenham, and Wenger is faced with a choice of starting either Welbeck or Akpom. Given that Danny has been out of action for the last five weeks, I personally think that Akpom should be given the nod over Welbeck as first choice, or as first substitute if Giroud is fit.

What do you think?

Tags Akpom Giroud welbeck


  1. That sounds about right. Play Akpom for first 60 minutes, then bring Welbeck on. Welbeck is ahead of Akpom though at the moment when everyone is fit.

    1. Harry kane is a very good example to let akpom have chances, they are almost of the same age 19 and 20 respectively, and we let kane leave and keep akpom for a reason, even though its in different times.

      1. Actually there is more than 2 years difference, and 2 years at the early development stage for a striker is very significant. But agree with your point – every chance for Akpom to come good but it should be said Kane had spent his life at on loan before he reached where he is now. I think the question is whether Akpom could or should develop as part of our 1st team squad or elsewhere for the time being. Getting the feeling that Wenger is in a bit of a hurry now and not sure he will want to risk his last 2 or 3 year legacy on the back of a talented but raw 19 year old.

    2. I would dive in head first 4Akpom b’se he’s natural and gifted in that area not to mention he’s an Arsenal product. Unlike welbeck who only runs, runs and run….

    1. Sending Apkom on loan and signing a World class striker is a good plan. But Bellarin ? Really ? Do you enjoy match on radio ?

    2. That confirms it, you either have a white stick to aid your walking, know nothing about football or haven’t reached you 5th birthday yet.

      Bellerin is class, and is worthy of a starting place at the moment.

    3. Seriously Hafiz. What is wrong with u? The sad thing here is even if there were a 100 people replying to his comment, he wouldn’t have the balls to even defend his point. I really can’t understand.

  2. Wellbeck for me lads. Reason for me is the boy can put them in the net. I’m sure akpon will get his chance but this is a game of life for arsenal. Come on lads take kane out of the game and then put 6 past

    1. “the boy can put them in the net” really…after scoring a whole 3goals in a mere season @manure! and how many has he scored so far for us in respect to the games(time on pitch) played???????

  3. Well in football it does not automatically mean which player who goes out with injury has to take forever to gel back in the team (perfect example would be OG).

    As much as I have liked the flushes Akpom has shown so far, we are yet to see him start in a highly contested match such as the NLD. don’t think Wenger would take this risk either as he intends to introduce Akpom to the 1st team stage by stage.

    Worse case scenario ( Sanchez / OG / Ox out), I would expect to line up as such:
    Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal
    TR7 Carzola Ramsey Ozil
    Theo or Welbeck

    – Akpom to come on depending on how the game is going
    – TR7 replaced with Theo if Welbz is selected

    Risky to start Theo I know but it might pull off especially with our dynamic midfield. We would loose the fluidity and strength we have with OG up top but Theo brings another aspects such as pace and clever runs causing havoc at the back.

    Am confident OG will be fit and all fired up for this one.

  4. Welbeck should be used on the wings good pace,nice work rate just like chamberlain nd walcott but poor goal ratio,will love to see akpom play a full season b4 deciding on weda his goal ratio is good enough to be an arsenal striker,but 4rm the little i have seen from him that dude looks like someone who is gonna be a menace for centre backs

    1. u were absolutely right 2compare him 2chamberlain: pace work rate…but zero end product as in no assists or goals not even half assists then of what use would they be?

  5. Welbeck for me currently. has pace and experience, but my oh my the only thing which needs massive improvement is his first touch. Imagine a fast counter – attack with quick passing and Welbeck not being able to control the ball with his first touch. OG is not very good in dribbling but has very good ball control compared to other strikers.

    Also nothing against Akpom, but I need to see him more in the senior side more to evlauate him properly. Hope he develops well.

    1. And his goal scoring together with assist department. For a striker Welbeck damn poor. His stats are terrible, he has got to work hard on his goal scoring, link up and assist. Very poor stats.

      And his first touch is absolutely terrible, he spends most if his time chasing the ball after his own bad touch.

      But he is a very hard working guy, he gives his all each game, he is a Willian to Arsenal, Willian runs all game but his goal and assist stats are not good too..

      1. It’s funny hearing the comments here. There is more to our striker play than goals. OG makes himself available to anyone that is in trouble with the ball. He plays with his back to goal from just outside the box all the way to just over half. I don’t think people know how important that is to our game.
        When you try those triangles without someone to hold off a defender with his back to goal your success rate goes way down.
        Akpom might get there but Welbeck has much to do to get there.

    1. I’d be genuinely interested what others think about that. I see Walcott as hit or miss. Sometimes he’s game changing, great pace, quality crosses and goals. Other times his a complete waste of space, seems to hide from the ball, runs up blind alleys or loses the ball and when faced with goal looks like a rabbit in the headlights. He seems to play better when he doesn’t have time to think…if he does he often takes the wrong decision. Love him, but he takes inconsistency to the extreme. Am I being unfair given his perpetual injuries?

      1. He has been “hit or miss” in one respect this season and in his last full season; he scores close to every other game; hit, miss, hit, miss, hit…..etc. As an all round footballer he is less gifted than most at Arsenal, fairly one dimensional and also has close to zero versatility. But for all his weaknesses a lightning fast, wide/second forward with a 0.5 goal/game ratio in him is a pretty valuable asset/option to have in the locker.

        1. @jonestown1 you’re right, the returns are not at all bad.

          However Theo looked incredibly high potential at one point. He is an asset, I agree but not really wc, but he should have been. To me he looks to have stalled mentally. Don’t misunderstand I love Theo (he’s one of our own) and see the impact of injuries on his progress and confidence, but there is something he misses that Sterling for example, has. Is it character, nastiness, need, a fear of how he’s perceived…something is stopping Theo doing what he evidently can, consistently.

          1. Yes, he is too nice – as Souness commented you wouldn’t be bothered if your daughter brought him home. I don’t think he ever had the technical ability to become world class. I would say however, if you take the ridiculous talent that is Ronaldo out of the equation, wide/second forwards, false wingers – call ’em what you will that can score heavily and consistently are very rare. I think Wenger will always find one spot in his team for purposes of variety and balance, for a fast direct type that can be relied upon to score. Ljungberg was similar in many ways imo. I imagine in Wenger’s dreams he wishes he could clone Theo/Ox and create a hybrid – the relative strengths of both are absent or poor in the other.

      2. Theo is still not yet up to pace, he has scored 2 goals but missed many more in other games.
        Big question is – will he track back? This has been one of the most positive aspects of January’s games, with Santi, The Ox, Ramsey, Sanchez, Giroud and Tomas all putting in a shift.
        I’m OK if Theo gets to start against lower teams, but in crunch games (like the Spuds)everyone has to do their defensive bit, so he should be on the bench

  6. Akpom can do with going out on loan some where he will play regularly the boy will be a class act.bellerin you’ve gotta be joking at the moment he is flying .we all know what happend when we loaned out jenko and sold TV5 we were in dire strates at the back

  7. admin – I thought you would have known that this Saturday is not St Totteringham’s day.
    St tot’s day is the day when the spuds can no longer catch us in the league, usually a few weeks before the end of the season.

  8. Welbeck is head of Akpom, just ahead. I am not and never rated Welbeck at all in his career but for the experience right now is ahead if Akpom. But in the goal scoring threat department from what I have seen of both guys Akpom is well ahead, the boy seems to be more technical, he has a bit of skill, good at hold up, always on the shoulder of the defender and wanting to run in behind. But both of them are shot snatchers, they are not clinical which for Akpom it’s acceptable and expected for his age and lack of experience, but Welbeck has not got that excuse now, the likes of Kane, Sturridge etc all the same age group as him are scoring goals, so no more excuses for him..

    1. I think he has reasonable “excuse” in that Sturridge and Kane play at the top of park centrally and Welbz is alternating a central role with being deployed wide left. 8 goals in last 18 apps for England, mostly played through the middle is a good return. He has got 7 in 20 apps for us, but nearly all of those in the 10 or 11 times he has actually played through the middle. Problem is OG is better so he won’t get a run.

  9. Haven’t seen enough of Akpom yet to be honest… Maybe he should go out on loan, just for one season though, to a PL side. That way, everyone can have a good look at what he can do with regular game time…

    The other side of me is saying that their is no need for a loan spell and that he is ready… We saw glimpses of it against Villa.

    With Giroud fit, I would go against the grain here and say Akpom for the bench… its a risk, but at present, he will be better than an unfit Welbeck…

  10. I didn’t know this until today but Akpom has been with Arsenal since he was 6 years old.

    Talk about home grown

  11. Welbeck all day long for the spuds match. Actually think it unfair to start knocking him for his strike rate – he couldn’t have been clearer or more open about his desire to play centrally. Unfortunately for him he is just reliving his Man U nightmare living out wide. Grioud or Akpom wouldn’t score from out there any more than him. He has 7 goals in 20 apps and all those goals if memory serves me correct have been from the few occasions he has started in the middle. He has also become decent for England in the central slot. 8 in the last 18 is similar to Rooney, Shearer and Owen in terms of goals/game ratio. I think he would return decent stats if he had a long run at CF but not likely to happen. Problem is he is not better than OG so won’t get a starting slot in the middle. He would be useful in on the bench for the spuds game. It is said that for the really difficult away games that SAF would often have him as one of the 1st names on the team sheet – there are times when effort, attitude, work rate and overall team contribution will trump all else – especially if you have enough scoring options elsewhere.

  12. Welbz for me. More experienced, more inclined to work hard for the team and win the ball back. Akpom needs to keep getting game time with 15-20 min cameos to build experience. Having looked at his goals last year he is more poacher than complete striker, so could play well with someone like Giroud, but conventional 442 is not our thing. Having said that his physique reminds me of Sturridge…he could be a top player for us In the next year or two. Like Lukaku he would have benefitted from a season or two in the PL but not sure we can consider that anymore.

  13. Yes Welbeck over Akpom. Welbeck has missed many chances to score (so has Giroud but not as many) but he has scored goals for us. Akpom hasn’t. Akpom needs to fight for a spot.

    However, if Wenger goes for a WC Striker (unlikely), then I would send Akpom on loan (he needs regular Playing time to improve)

    I’m a big fan of Akpom, Coquelin and Bellerin by the way. They are the future of this club. also Hayden, Bielik, Zelalem and Crowley.

    We should be proud of having exciting young gunners.

  14. This prove that Welbeck is a poor signing by Mr Wenger since his being compared with Akpom, his not good enough to be compared with Giroud. To spent £16 million transfer fee and wages of £80,000 per week on a player to sit on a bench is madness by Wenger. The bench role Welbeck will play for the remaining season would be more suited to Campbell, Sanogo or Akpom. With everyone fit Arsenal front three should be

    Ox Sanchez Walcott
    Sanchex Giroud Walcott

  15. I’d pick Welbeck over Akpom at the moment even though the argument is a bit difficult. Akpom has a higher ceiling than Welbeck. Long-term he will be a great use for us.

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