Yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon secured our place in the next round of the Europa League, but came at a heavy price. Danny Welbeck suffered a horrific ankle injury after going for a header and landing awkwardly in the penalty box. It hasn’t been confirmed by the club, but this looks like a serious break. It’s inevitable that players will get injured, when you are playing twice a week, but you never anticipate a leg break like this.
I am a huge fan of Welbeck as a person and as a footballer and his rotten luck with injuries has robbed him of the opportunity to elevate his game to the next level. If you are going to compete on multiple fronts you need a striker like him. He’s quick, powerful, brave and never shirks a challenge. Although he is not our main man, he is a vital part of our squad and his contribution across all competitions has been excellent. He will be sorely missed, particularly as we approach the busy Christmas period. A recall for the impressive Reiss Nelson may be on the cards, but I hope we can perservere without him. The young Englishman is dazzling for Hoffenheim and is blossoming well with regular game time. A recall may stifle that progress.
The players response to Welbeck’s injury
I hope the players retain their aggressiveness and tenacity on the pitch. In the past when similar injuries were suffered by Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey, they had a huge psychological impact on the rest of the team, particularly on how they approached physical challenges. Luckily this wasn’t a consequence of a bad tackle. If Eduardo didn’t have his leg broken, we would have won the league that season.
The unbeaten run continues
We remain unbeaten, but that’s three draws from the last four games. Sporting defended well, but we lacked the guile in front of goal that has been there in recent weeks. Three points against Wolves at the Emirates on Sunday is a must.
Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 0 Wolves
P.s. Danny is out of contract in the summer. Despite the injury, I hope the club give him a new deal and help him get back to playing football.
Good luck Danny!