The Week In Arsenal: Welbeck partially wakes up Wenger's men from slump
The week in five words
Important win despite minor protests.
What went well
Arsene Wenger's decision to replace Alex Iwobi with Danny Welbeck was met with some disapproval from the fans.
"Given Wenger’s reluctance to use Theo Walcott, the best is for Welbeck to play – he looks their most dangerous striking option at the moment.
They felt that Olivier Giroud, struggling once again as his terrible recent form continued, should have been the man to make way. Less than four minutes later though, the Frenchman nodded Hector Bellerin’s cross to the feet of Welbeck, who cracked home what turned out to be the winning goal.
Giroud’s all-round performance was poor again, but that was telling contribution as Arsenal look to secure a top four place ahead of an important summer rebuild. We also saw the quality of Petr Cech who kept his side in it in the first half.
Arsenal’s overall performance was another disappointing one. Although they faced a Norwich side well organised and obviously scrapping for their Premier League lives, there was a lacklustre feel to the way Wenger’s men performed.
It’s clear they’ve been struggling in recent weeks, since the title become an impossibility, but the flowing, pass and move football they’ve become so renowned for has deserted them completely at this stage.
Quote of the week
Arsene Wenger, when asked if he had a message for the fans who held up signs looking for change at the club, emphatised with the angst of fans following their dismal second-half collapse this season.
"That we respect the opinion of everybody, and that we give absolutely the best. I’ve shown my commitment to this club. I care for the club and the fans. I’m really sorry that I cannot make them all happy, of course, but we’ll continue to work hard to achieve it.”
The need-to-know facts
- Welbeck has equalled his Premier League goal tally from last season for Arsenal (4) but has played only 10 games this season compared to 25 last campaign.
- Only Mesut Ozil (18) has more assists in the Premier League than Giroud (5) for Arsenal this season.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches (W4 D4) with only West Ham (10) and Leicester (9) on longer unbeaten runs than the Gunners.
- Wenger’s side have kept three clean sheets in a row in the Premier League for the first time since September 2015.
Video/GIF of the week
That Mesut Ozil pass.
Winner of the week
Despite not making his first appearance of the season until February, Welbeck has four league goals to his name.
That’s actually more than he scored in the whole of last season – but of course he did score in other competitions. After the game, he admitted rust is still an issue, but given the form of Giroud and Wenger’s reluctance to use Theo Walcott, the best way for Welbeck to get match fit is to play.
He looks their most dangerous striking option at the moment.
Loser of the week
Not exactly a loser, but Joel Campbell has found himself sidelined in recent weeks after the emergence of Iwobi.
Theo Walcott, despite his dismal form, is preferred to him as a sub, and in order to bring Santi Cazorla back to the squad, the Costa Rica forward dropped out completely against Norwich. It seems Wenger has made up his mind about the 23-year-old and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was one of the summer departures.
It’s an odd thing to say about one of the most hard-working consistent players this season, but it’s difficult to look beyond that scenario.