As expected, many people commented on this mornings blog without actually reading it.
The jist was simple. Arsenal need to keep fringe pair Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck. And this was justified by pointing out that they were squad players, and more importantly home grown.
The majority of replies were “they should be the first two out of the club”. It highlights people not reading the blog, or understanding football.
Lets take Danny Welbeck. He is 3rd choice striker. Next season how much game time is he going to get? He will need both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be out of the team to get a start up top.
If everyone is fit, we will play 1 up top, so Danny Welbeck will be on the bench. Whoever is not playing between Lacazette and Aubameyang will be bought on before him if we need a goal. Welbeck will be a long way from the first team.
3rd choice striker got me thinking.
Is Danny Welbeck the best “3rd choice striker” in the Premier League? In all honesty, without looking on Wikipedia, I could not name the 3rd choice striker of most times. So off I go, to do some research (in the hope of producing a pretty little spreadsheet). The findings were interesting.
The only other striker other than Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus to play for Manchester City this season was Lukas Nmecha, a 19 year old Englishman who has made 2 substitute appearances after the league title was one. 14 minutes in total.
Chelsea are in a similar position. They have just two senior strikers. Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud. They have had Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi on their books as well this season. Costa has left and Batshuayi on loan.
The reality is, Chelsea do not have a 3rd choice striker currently at the club. Will Batshuayi return? Who knows? Next year it will probably be Tammy Abraham. The youngster on loan to Swansea has 5 goals in the Premier League this season.
Manchester United are in a more favourable position.
After Romelu Lukaku, they have Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. If I wanted to be biased, I would claim that Sanchez is a wideman, and that Martial is 3rd choice striker, but in truth Sanchez would be moved upfront if Lukaku was injured.
This leaves Rashford as 3rd choice striker.
Rashford is similar to Danny Welbeck. Infact is he just a young Danny Welbeck? An adequate striker who is often used on the wing and scores 1 in 4.
There is talk of Rashford leaving Manchester United and joining Arsenal. If this resulted in Welbeck leaving, it would be like when a rich middle aged man leaves his wife for a younger model.
Rashford is just 20, so he will still improve (where as Welbeck will not). Certainly one for the future, but Welbeck will start ahead of the youngster for England.
Liverpool are an odd one. Mohamed Salah is the leagues top scorer, but is no more a striker for us than when Alexis Sanchez was when he was playing out wide for Arsenal last season. Salah has played just 3 times down the middle this season.
Despite also not being a natural striker, Roberto Firmino is their out disputed number one. Whenever he has not played, Liverpool have put Dominic Solanke through the middle. He has made 4 Premier League starts this season. That leaves Danny Ings as 3rd choice striker.
Neither Ings or Solanke will go to the World Cup. Welbeck will.
When Harry Kane picked up his injury for Spurs, they pushed Son Heung-Min further forward. This clearly puts Fernando Llorente as 3rd choice, even though he was originally bought as back up to the English cry-baby.
At 33 he is clearly a striker on the wain. He scored 15 league goals last season for Swansea, but found the net just once for Spurs in the Premier League this – although he has played just 226.
The fact that Mauricio Pochettino does not seem to trust him to be 2nd choice striker behind Kane is telling.
Danny Welbeck might not be everyone’s cup of tea, yet he has 10 goals in all competitions this season. He has started just 5 games this season upfront. I would be surprised if too many are in the Premier League.
Arsenal do need a better wide option than Danny Welbeck. 16 starts on the wing is too many. He can not be our first choice winger next season. But up front, as 3rd choice striker, there are not too many better in the Premier League.