Evening all. With Theo Walcott currently performing like a cross between Thierry Henry and Pele, people don’t seem to be missing the injured Danny Welbeck as much as they might have done.
That said, a dip in form for Theo or an injury to his current back-up Olivier Giroud would leave us with a worrying lack of options up front, so it was great to hear Welbeck say his recovery from knee surgery was going well and that he’s hoping to be back in action around the turn of the year.
Speaking from Dubai, where the former Manchester United striker was visiting the Arsenal Soccer School, he discussed a range of topics including his rehabilitation and our stunning, recent win over his former club. He said:
It’s difficult to put an exact date on it (his return from injury), around the New Year. After I had the operation, I was in a leg brace for about four weeks – which wasn’t easy. I had to do a lot of machine work, about six hours a day. Sleeping in a leg brace isn’t good. At night it’s not comfortable, it’s the first time I’ve slept on my back in years. It’s good to finally be out of the brace now and walking. It feels like I’m getting that little bit closer to getting back out on the pitch. The way we started the game (against United) was obviously crucial for the result, in the end. It was a great team performance, I thought the mentality was spot on with the way we started the match and went about things.
Welbeck also revealed his frustration at not being able to play at the moment, said the squad must continually strive to improve, and outlined the importance of consistency in a very competitive Premier League if Arsenal are to be champions:
It’s frustrating being on the sidelines and watching in – you feel kind of helpless. But you just have to keep motivated. The appetite’s there, you just want to get back out on the pitch and show what you can do. So it’s difficult but you’ve got to see the positive side of things at times. Obviously there’s some days when you just want to be back out there playing, but it’s a process and something that I’ve learnt to deal with in time. But it’s hard. The most important thing, obviously, as a team and as a squad, we want to keep on improving. The way we’ve started the league we’ve had a few good results, but there’s also results where we could have done a bit better in certain situations. The most important thing is we improve on what we’ve got to set a standard. We’ve just got to keep on improving as a squad mentally going into games, making sure we’re right for every single match and not just on selected games. In the Premier League there’s teams in the lower half of the table beating teams in the top half and that just shows you the level of competition throughout the whole league. There’s not one game where you can take your foot off the gas and we’ve got to be prepared mentally, physically and tactically for every single match we go into to. It’s the same for every single team. It doesn’t give one side a better opportunity to win the league. Every three points is going to be vital. And if you get those wins and keep racking them up that’s going to be the most important thing come May.
Nothing at all to argue with in that and the bit about the squad improving mentally going into games is the standout-out comment in my opinion. As much as we marveled at our display against United, just a few day earlier we produced a very different performance against Olympiakos.
The players were mostly the same and their physical condition presumably not an issue, so the logical explanation for the defeat would be a lack of focus. But as Danny alludes to above, we need to ensure we’re tuned in for every game, big or small, if we want to lift the biggest prizes at the end of the season.
Anyway, the sooner Welbeck and our other two long-termers, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere, are back to bolster the squad the better, because when we emerge from a hectic festive period, we’ll no doubt be in desperate need of freshening things up.