By Tony Attwood
Arsène Wenger has apparently said that Olivier Giroud could return to the squad ahead of schedule, following his injury in the match with Everton. But supposing he does… Do we use Danny Welbeck in the number 9 slot, or Giroud, or have them alternating, or use both at once.
In fact Mr Wenger answered that point by saying. “Welbeck and Giroud can play together in the centre or separately. Welbeck also played on one side to Manchester United. Welbeck played in the same team with Rooney and Van Persie. He can play down the sides.”
So, that looks like good news – although obviously some way away yet. More immediately we have Theo Walcott in full training. I’m not sure what happens next – does he get a game with the under 21s as Diaby has done, or does he go onto the bench, in the hope of a run out against Hull, towards the end?
Of course if we had a fit Welbeck, Giroud, Walcott and Alexis, that would mean someone has to drop out – the notion of rotation instead of covering for injuries is something I am not used to thinking about!
Danny Welbeck is of course flavour of the month, and I think it is wonderful that he is getting time on the pitch – time to score the goals, and time inevitably to make mistakes, as all young strikers do. For when they make the inevitable mistakes strikers like to get more chances to make up for the errors, and at the moment Danny has that with both England and Arsenal.
This of course is one of many differences he finds between Man U and Arsenal – the fact that he is getting a run in the team down the middle, and the fact that he is in a settled club that has had the same manager for many years, rather than now being on its third manager in three years.
There is also one other benefit coming Danny’s way – and that is that after some tough games, we are now entering a period, where we will be playing teams against whom the goal chances could be more numerous.
As he himself said, “If you’re getting goals and getting a run of games in your preferred position, your confidence is going to grow and performances are going to grow as well,” Welbeck said. “I’m really looking forward to building on these performances.
“When I’m playing with these sort of players, they are looking to slip the ball in behind and I am always ready for that. I’m looking to make the movement right and get in behind the defenders. I want to build an understanding with the players. It’s good to play with midfielders of this calibre and they are only going to create chances.”
Of course the talk about Welbeck being like Thierry Henry, which is what some commentators have launched into, is premature. Henry wasn’t like Henry until his third season – he was doing ok after a slow start, but the Henry that we remember and see in all the clips was the Henry that emerged from the third year onwards.
Maybe it is just the fact that people who called themselves supporters were highly critical of Henry and Wenger, just as they were when we signed Welbeck. Maybe it is because both played on the wing and then moved into the middle. But still, whatever the reason for the comparison, it is nice to have a player who might be comparable in time to Henry.
What makes these comparisons and mental doodles all the more interesting, is the issue of Daniel Sturridge who didn’t really get going out wide at Manchester City and Chelsea, but now plays in the centre for Liverpool. But the on-going argument between Liverpool plus Sturridge and the England camp, contrasts with the sweetness and light that exists between Arsenal plus Welbeck and England. Sweetness and light makes such a change.
Which brings us back to Giroud and the question of could the two of them really play together? I’ve often been surprised by Arsène Wenger’s tactics, and the two of them in the same team would surprise me again. But if it could work it could be a stunningly potent attack line.
I’ve said before that there is always a great temptation to see players as individuals and not consider how they can change in order to work within a team structure. For example, apart from being a scorer of goals, Giroud drags defenders out of position, which is what has allowed Ramsey to score. That’s part of the game. Could Welbeck and Giroud each do that for the other, meaning that the defence doesn’t know where it is? Then the other one scores, or leaves the space for Theo or Alexis, or indeed Ramsey.
After all, way back in the 1970s we played Kennedy and Radford together. It only worked well for two seasons, and then it really only happened by chance (because of the injury to Charlie George) but no one can deny that it worked.
Of course these are different times, but such speculation helps pass the time when there are only internationals on TV.
(Actually that last comment isn’t quite right, because BT Sport obliged me by putting Torquay United live on TV in a Conference match last week. Unfortunately my second team lost 4-2, but still it was nice to see them.)
The home page has details of recent posts and the anniversaires for today.
- How the media always knocks Arsenal, but ignores England’s failures.
- Left has never been stronger at Arsenal FC!
- The seven main things that are wrong with football in England
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 2 comments from the manager and team news
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 1 the head to head record and comments on Spurs summer signings