Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he was uncertain whether or not to play Welbeck against Everton as the Englishman is still recovering from his knee injury, as per Arsenal’s official website.
The 25-year-old returned from a long injury lay-off last month, scoring a late winner in injury time against Leicester City and also opened the scoring within 10 minutes against Everton last weekend.
Wenger believes that Welbeck’s return has given the Gunners a lot of options at the front as the forward can play anywhere across the front three. Speaking to Arsenal Player, he said:
I believe [he can make a difference]. I had many hesitations to play him before the game because he is still not completely over his knee problem.
We have to be cautious but I pushed it because I knew this was now or never [for the title bid].
He can play on the flanks and through the middle, so I can play him with Giroud or [instead of] Giroud – that gives so many options. You cannot say you don’t miss a player of that stature for nine months.
The Gunners have been struggling for the past few months and the main culprit for this dry spell has been the lack of cutting edge in front of goal, as the strikers failed to capitalise on some great chances.
Giroud has lead the attack for most of these games, but has failed to make an impact in the final third. The return of Welbeck has solved that problem to a certain extent and although the Englishman is not known for finishing, he has been great in that department since returning.
He was all over the Everton defence over the weekend and his cool finish early on showed his deft touch in front of the goal. From Wenger’s comments it seems he is yet to full recover from his knee injury and is it justified to risk him?
Yes, it absolutely is. Wenger has no other option but to play him as Arsenal’s season is at stake and from now on, even if the Gunners drop a point then it’s curtains for the title challenge. It’s now or never for the club and there’s no point saving your big players when your season is at stake.
Hopefully Welbeck proves this quote right. Quote: Cometh the hour, cometh the man