Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has backed Danny Welbeck ahead of his return to Old Trafford, as frustration in the England man increases.
Having been rushed through the door with just minutes left in the transfer window this summer, Welbeck was hoping for a fresh start in north London.
Manchester United was all he knew in football, and it seemed as though Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal may have surrendered one of United’s better young prospects, but the England international has failed to produce the goods at the Emirates.
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Despite it being a big reason for his departure, Welbeck is still struggling for opportunities to play in his favoured role as a centre forward; instead being utilised more as a winger once again.
Backed by the boss
Ahead of his first return to his former home, Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger has backed his man to impress; "Danny Welbeck is an exceptional footballer who will have a great future here. I'm very, very happy I bought him."
He didn’t, however, suggest that Welbeck’s plea for a more central role would be granted; "His position is one of the three up front.”
The 24-year-old is perhaps in no position to complain however, as figures suggest that his goalscoring form is far from good enough.
By the numbers
Welbeck has played four more games, and around 600 more minutes than Olivier Giroud, his main rival for that central role; but has almost half the goals of his French counterpart with a 287 minutes to goal ratio, as opposed to the 109 of Giroud.
Figures also suggest that Arsenal on the whole perform better without Welbeck in the side; winning 68.8% of the time without him, and only 53.8% when his name appears on the team sheet. The opposite applies to Giroud who noticeably improves the teams chances of winning.
The English forward could even see his place in the starting line-up at risk soon, as recent performances fail to inspire. During their 3-1 Champions League loss to Monaco last week; Welbeck seemed a major flaw in Wenger’s side, persistently drifting inside from his assigned wide role; restricting Arsenal’s width whilst failing in his defensive duties.
For me, Welbeck is a centre forward in a lesser side; but playing for these elite teams, Welbeck must accept his role as a team player and in a bit part attacking role. Perhaps if he is adamant on an extended chance through the middle, a big choice lays ahead with that looking unlikely at the Emirates.
Where does Welbeck's future lie? Let us know what you think...