Arsenal’s poor performance against Dortmund yesterday featured more weak finishing from Danny Welbeck. I’ve always been a fan of Welbeck for his tireless work rate and ability to get under the skin of defenders with his runs, but last night was another unfortunate reminder of the crease in his game that cost him the faith of Louis van Gaal and still cannot be ironed out.
The first was tricky, a cross being deflected straight onto his boot giving the forward little time to react, but it was something of a panic-hack nonetheless. The second was classic Welbeck: a superb angled run to find himself one-one-one with Roman Weidenfeller followed by an awkward, off-balance skewed shot past the far post. It was one of those rush of blood to the head moments that strikers low on finishing confidence seem struggle to shake. Like Fernando Torres at Chelsea.
The third chance consisted of another solid run spoiled by a failure to hit the target, this one going over the bar. Arsene Wenger, who has always been very good about protecting his younger players from criticism, was understandably keen to back his new signing up.
“Danny will improve, I don’t think we have to make a problem of that,” he said. “He had a very lively first half. He had two or three good chances but couldn’t finish them. There was one obvious one. We have to be patient with him.
“The paradox of the night is that we had very good chances to score first, but they then scored from counterattacks.”
It isn’t really a paradox, though, that Dortmund took their chances and Arsenal did not. It’s a difficult one for Wenger because Welbeck is at the stage now where it’s difficult to know if his finishing can really improve, or if it is just a crucial element of his game he cannot figure out.
After sitting behind Van Persie and Wayne Rooney at United and disliking, like most proper strikers, being tried on the wing attempts to play him on the wing, the circumstances are now absolutely perfect for him. Arsenal are a Champions League club who need a goalscorer and Welbeck believes (he was reportedly dismayed at the idea of going back to Sunderland or to Hull City) he is the man for the job. He still could be – but he won’t have forever to prove himself.
Wayne Rooney Has Apparently “Ended His Feud” With Sir Alex Ferguson Even Though He Didn’t Say Anything Of The Sort
A few papers this morning are reporting on how Rooney has”buried the hatchet” (Daily Mail) or “ended his feud” (Guardian) or even “ended his bitter feud” (Telegraph) with Sir Alex Ferguson, after he gave an interview to MUTV to mark his tenth year at the club.
I haven’t seen the interview yet, but scan those three stories and you quickly notice that Rooney didn’t mention anything at all about when he asked to leave the club in 2010, or when he denied having handed in a transfer request in May 2013, those two events presumably being the “feud” that the papers are talking about.
Perhaps he really has buried the hatchet, but that’s not the point. Any real evidence of hatchet-burial is notable by its absence – all that’s there is how he was grateful for Ferguson’s faith in signing him from Everton. The stories mention nothing about the mistrust that clearly characterised the pair’s relationship in the later years and to ceremonially announce any ‘feud’ over is just a little lazy.