Danny Welbeck can at times become a forgotten man at Arsenal, with the striker having spent far more time on the treatment table than he has on the pitch. But the good news is that ahead of Arsenal’s weekend fixture against Manchester City, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger revealed that Welbeck is just a week away from returning to training.
Arsene Wenger revealed in his pre-match press conference: “Danny Welbeck is one week away from completing normal training. To be back in the squad; that will take some time because he wasn’t played for a long, long time.”
Welbeck has been ruled out with an injury since May 2016, after he suffered severe cartilage damage to his knee in a 2-2 draw with Sunday’s opponents Manchester City. The striker was a front runner to be a late call to the England national squad for Euro 2016, but given the injury, Welbeck was ruled out of the tournament and the start of the new season for Arsenal.
Back in 2014, Arsenal fans had been calling out for a new striker to be signed for a number of seasons, without little end product coming from Arsene Wenger. Eventually Arsene Wenger completed the signing of then Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck and although the move may not have initially been what the fans had hoped for, nor expected, Welbeck seemed to be a fairly suitable striker that could plug the gap.
Welbeck seemed as if he was going to challenge Olivier Giroud for the top spot of Arsenal’s front line and at times the Englishman was certainly preferred over Giroud. However persistent injuries since his move to Arsenal have meant that he’s failed to have a regular run in the side. The frustrating factor is that when he has played for the Gunners, Welbeck has made a big difference. His late winner against Leicester City last season looked as if it had given the Gunners a boost in the title race (however of course that didn’t come to anything), whilst Welbeck also proved to offer Arsenal a more flexible and fast style of play in comparison to Giroud.
Now with Welbeck’s return just a week away, we have to consider what the likelihood is of him getting in this current Arsenal side. Giroud has found himself out of favour so far this season, with Wenger much preferring the new found striker talent of Alexis Sanchez. This means that even though Giroud has struggled with injury a little this season, I find it very difficult to see Wenger replacing Alexis in this form. Besides, much like Jack Wilshere, it seems that Welbeck needs to have a decent run in the side, but that his return also needs to be controlled in order to limit the chances of picking up yet another injury.
Welbeck has been unlucky with injuries since his move to Arsenal and personally I’m a fan of the striker. My only concern with him is that I find it increasingly unlikely that he’ll manage to jump into the starting eleven of this current side of stars and even if he does, Welbeck’s then got a big task of ensuring that he maintains his fitness and limits the chance of picking up or agravating his usual injury.