10th May 2016: Welbeck worry + Giroud on getting back among the goals

Evening all. Some worrying news to begin with this evening as the Guardian have reported that the knee injury Danny Welbeck sustained against Manchester City on Sunday may need surgery and the striker is facing ‘months out of the game’.

A proper prognosis is expected tomorrow but Welbeck’s dreams of playing for England in this summer’s European Championships certainly appear over and he’s already in a race to be fit for the start of next season.

I’m not sure what to say other than our injury curse would be funny if it wasn’t so soul-destroyingly depressing. We’ve improved our medical department significantly in recent seasons yet remain extraordinarily prone to picking up long-term injuries as a club.

Wearing my Arsenal hat I suppose the best thing we can say about Danny’s latest knock is that it’s probably come at the best time it possibly could for us (other than ‘never’ obviously), with the season having just one more game to run.

But that of course is absolutely no consolation for the player himself, who’s not long been back from ten months out of the game with a different knee injury, and who I’m sure was relishing the prospect of representing his country at a major tournament in just a few weeks’ time.

I read somewhere that his ‘type’ of meniscus-related problem isn’t as bad as certain others and that he should make a complete recovery within around four months but when you then add match-practice etc, it may be closer to six.

Hopefully we’ll get good news tomorrow and the time-frame isn’t quite as long as that but for now all we can do is wish Danny a speedy recovery and hope he returns from injury in the same goal-scoring fashion as he did against Leicester in February.

Elsewhere, Welbeck’s fellow Arsenal front-man Olivier Giroud has been speaking to Arsenal Player about ending his goal-scoring drought after he headed home our first against City last weekend. He said:

The goal meant a lot because it has been a tough time for me on the pitch as I have missed a bit of efficiency, a bit of luck and a lot of things. Things haven’t gone my way to [allow me to] finish, but I kept the faith and knew that it would come back. It is always nice for a striker to score, even more with an assist for Alexis’ second goal which was important. We now have our own destiny in our hands to finish third or maybe second. These last few weeks I tried to set up goals. [Alexis’ goal] was my sixth assist but I’m happy to score too and help the team to reach our target and qualify for the Champions League. That is a great present. We are a team and a group that makes the difference. We try to help each other do the job. We fight for each other and we have a good understanding.

Meanwhile, his manager Arsene Wenger hailed Giroud’s performance at Etihad stadium, as well has praising his team’s ability to twice fight back from a goal down to secure a point. He said:

Olivier Giroud was questioned recently and I’m happy I kept confidence in him because I thought he had a top-level performance. He was fighting, he had control of the ball, he was finishing and he gave an assist. We showed a lot of character and the intensity of the game was very high. We dealt well with what was thrown at us and Manchester City looked like they were doing absolutely everything to win the game. They are difficult to beat and we have shown again that we can get results against top teams. The fact we came back twice each time we were down, we looked like we had the response to score. I think we could have won the game in the end. Overall, it is a positive result.

Given Welbeck’s injury, the onus will very much be on Giroud to continue his goalscoring against Aston Villa on the final day of the season, as we look to secure at least a third-placed finish.

Hopefully the striker can do just that and then we can head into the summer and reshape our squad in what promises to be a very busy transfer market.

Back tomorrow.

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