With the Champions League knockout phase now upon us, the football world has been talking about the clubs still in the competition and in England that talk has obviously been focused upon Arsenal and the other two sides left among the elite of Europe.
The Gunners have the toughest task to get through to the quarter-final stage after drawing the German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and there has been plenty of speculation in the football media about how Arsene Wenger should approach the away tie tomorrow, with one former winner Rio Ferdinand suggesting that Arsenal have to start with the fit again forward Danny Welbeck if we are to stand a chance.
In the Metro report about Ferdinand’s comments Welbeck is described as our secret weapon and the former England and Man United star spoke about how Welbeck was often at his best in big games and produced some of his best games for United against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Rio said, ‘Arsenal should pick Danny Welbeck in their starting line-up tomorrow.
‘He had a knack when he was at Manchester United of playing well in key games away from home. For example, I remember him scoring against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in the last 16 four years ago.
‘He was probably our best player that night and gave Bayern problems a year later in the quarter-finals. Knowing Danny, he has probably reminded the Arsenal coaches of this and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts.
‘He is one of the freshest players Arsenal have right now because he’s only just come back from injury and will also have a real hunger to make up for lost time.
‘Danny gives them a different option: he’s strong, he’s quick, very good on the ball and he can score a goal. Experience in such huge games counts for a lot.’
That all sounds good to me and I would add that this game in which Arsenal are likely to have to defend more and sit deeper is one in which pace on the counter could be key. I am also reminded about how the surprise selection of another tall and fast forward in the shape of Yaya Sanogo worked well for us and helped Arsenal to beat Nayern Munich on their own ground a few years back.
So is Welbeck the secret weapon that could swing this game for the Gunners?