11th November 2015: Wolves, Welbeck and Ozil

A warm Wednesday welcome to you. When the only live football on TV on a midweek evening in November is Chelsea Ladies v Wolfsburg Women, you know you’re in the middle of an international break.

I actually quite like the women’s game, and I’m a big fan of Arsenal’s very own Kelly Smith, who has a left peg in a million, but that said, tonight’s offering on Eurosport was about as enticing as a trip to the dentists.

If it was the Chelsea men’s team versus wolves on the other hand, I might have tuned in. But actual wolves mind, not Wolverhampton Wanderers. Otherwise that too, would have been about as enticing as a trip to the dentists.

I mean, anybody can watch buses being parked just by going to their local garage, but seeing Jose Mourinho and his players being chased all over the Stamford Bridge pitch by a ravenous pack would make for superb entertainment by anybody’s standards.

After the match, Jose would no doubt have blamed an offside wolf’s tail, a distracting howl or Arsene Wenger, but nothing would have be able to detract from the fact his team had been ripped to shreds …

Meeeeeeeeeanwhile, Danny Welbeck, who I think could prove himself the best all-round striker we currently have at the club, if he can just get and stay fit, has been speaking to the Arsenal Weekly podcast about his move from Manchester United in 2014, and how his England team-mates already in north London made the transition easy for him. He said:

It makes it easier for you because, like any situation in life, if you go somewhere and see a familiar face then you can obviously bond with them. Knowing the England boys from international duty and growing up with them in the youth teams made it easy. They integrate you into the group a lot easier with the other lads as well. It was a new challenge but it was an exciting time for me to approach a new situation, move from Manchester to London and all of the stuff that goes with it. It was a whole new city, not completely new as I’d been to London before, but it was weird knowing that I was going to be calling London home and not Manchester. The thing that you miss the most is your family and that’s the most important thing. A lot of my family and friends do come to London to see me anyway. They come to all the home games so I get to see them quite a lot anyway. But I was leaving something that I knew after growing up in Manchester, coming to a new city, it’s an exciting period.

It may sound like a cliche but I think Welbeck has all the attributes to be one of the best around. I know he has a lot of doubters, who bemoan his finishing etc but I think he’s at the perfect club and has the perfect manager to help him become the finished article up front.

Of course first he has to play in order to improve and score the goals that win Arsenal games, so it was very worrying to read unconfirmed reports his injury wasn’t improving, and he may even be side-lined for the rest of the season.

The official update is that he’s still expected back around the turn of the year so fingers crossed those rumours were way wide of the mark and he’s back to provide Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott with competition in the second half of the season.

Elsewhere, Mesut Ozil, who incidentally, has shown signs of a fine mutual understanding with Welbeck in the relatively few times they’ve played together (think Villa Park last season), has been speaking to Arsenal Player about adding more goals to his game:

After training there are a few shooting drills that can help with self-belief. In general, when you look at my chances in front of goal, I’ve taken them well. Every player wants to score goals. I’m intending to score more this season than in previous years. It’s most important for us to perform well and to be successful – I’m looking forward to giving assists or scoring goals. My aim is to score more goals this season than in the last two. I think I’m on a good path and will achieve that.

His assists alone so far this season must have him in contention for the player of the year award, and if he keeps producing them at his current rate, he’ll take some stopping.

Especially when you consider that bar Jamie Vardy, there aren’t many stand-out contenders to be Eden Hazard’s successor. There’s a long, long way to go obviously, but it wouldn’t be the first time one of Arsene’s predictions proved spot on.

Back tomorrow.

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