Sitting second in the table only due to goal difference, Arsenal’s lightning start to the season has been nothing short of miraculous considering their undernourished strike force.
To the utter confusion of a number of Gunners fans this summer, the club failed to sign a single outfield player. As a result, despite a series of injuries, it’s incredible that the north Londoners have been able to keep tabs on the financial brawn of Manchester City.
However, away from all the title-chasing speculation and buzz around the Emirates sits Danny Welbeck. The England striker is recovering from a knee injury and isn’t set to return until the New Year, increasing the burden on Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
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Since abandoning his Manchester United frustrations, Welbeck has found the net only eight times in 34 Arsenal appearances. If he is to survive at such a domestic giant as Arsenal, the goals will need to come thick and fast following his recovery given the striker’s scoring record.
Considering the midfield muscle that Arsenal boast, Welbeck’s conversion rate from the ammunition of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla is astonishingly poor.
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The 24-year-old only found the net four times in the Premier League throughout 2014/15 and has just a single goal to his name in 2015. Fabricio Coloccini, Damien Delaney and Tyler Blackett have all scored more league goals for Arsenal this calendar year and none of them have ever donned the red jersey.
Injuries have admittedly conspired against the Englishman and at a tender age, he is still learning at the highest level. However, after 15 months settling in at Arsenal, the chips will be firmly down when he returns from injury.
With Arsene Wenger’s arsenal of forwards stripped bare, the Frenchman will need Welbeck to contribute his fair share of goals upon his return. If the Gunners are to win the league, Wenger will need to be able to interchange his forwards and still be guaranteed goals.
The fact Welbeck has 14 international goals to his name and found the net 12 times for United in 2011/12 suggests the Englishman can be prolific on the biggest stage. Despite this, the striker is yet to demonstrate his true class in an Arsenal shirt and barring a treble against Galatasaray, has displayed erratic finishing.
The 24-year-old isn’t always deployed as an out-and-out striker and there’s more to his game than just scoring, but four leagues goal in over quadruple the amount of matches is not good enough.
It’s this under par goal record that emphasises the importance of his performances when he returns from injury. If Welbeck continues to prove capricious in front of goal, Gunners fans will begin to wonder why the Englishman deserves a place at such a renowned club.
Welbeck needs to perform this season; it’s now or never for his career at top four clubs. After seasons of underachieving, supporters may begin to wonder why he attracted so much interest from top clubs in the first place.
An impressive record for the Three Lions comes to nothing when you're seemingly allergic to scoring in the Premier League, especially with arguably the league’s best midfield supplying you.
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