The 23 year old Englishman joined the Gunners from their rivals on transfer deadline day for a fee of £16m.
Welbeck’s goal scoring tally at Manchester United may be a bit displeasing for some Arsenal fans as he only managed to score 29 in 142 appearances, but he believes he can change and score more goals at his new club if he is played in his preferred centre forward position.
In a recent interview, Welbeck said: “I prefer to play as a centre-forward. We’ll see (about his scoring rate) when I get my opportunity to do that. I’ve never had the opportunity to get a consistent run of games as No 9 but have faith in my ability.”
Welbeck got the chance to show off his performance in the centre forward position on Monday night when England played against Switzerland in a European Championship qualifying match. England won the game 2-0 with Welbeck scoring both of the goals.
To become more productive at Arsenal, Welbeck must outplay his competitors for the starting centre forward job – Oliver Giroud, when fit, and Yaya Sanogo are in his way.
Winning the job against Sanogo shouldn’t be a problem for him as the Frenchman has failed to score or provide an assist for Arsenal after ten appearances in the Premier League, so Welbeck should have the starting centre forward job until January at the very least.
The hope would be for Welbeck is he will be picked ahead of Sanogo, and that he will be allowed to cement his place as a centre forward in the Arsenal side and retain it after Giroud returns back to football in January after recovering from an ankle injury he picked up against Everton.
In order for this to become a reality for Welbeck, I think he needs to better the goal per game ratio that Giroud had last season. The Frenchman scored 16 goals in 36 Premier League appearances last season, giving him a goal per game ratio of 0.44. Welbeck must obtain a goal per game ratio of 0.45 or better between the time of now and January to keep the starting job once Giroud returns from injury.
Last season at Manchester United, Welbeck only scored nine goals in 25 Premier League appearances, a goal per game ratio of only 0.36 which isn’t good enough. However, during that time, Welbeck wasn’t played predominantly in the centre forward position as he had to compete against Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez for that position.
One area Welbeck currently does beat Giroud in though is shot accuracy. Last season, Giroud had a shot accuracy of 43% whilst Welbeck’s was 53%.
However, Welbeck’s shot accuracy might be higher than Giroud’s because last season he took fewer shots per game than Giroud. The Englishman’s shot per game average was only 1.84 whilst the Frenchman’s was 3.11. Welbeck needs to be taking advantage of his shot accuracy percentage and take more shots per game as it could lead to him scoring more goals and becoming more productive.
Welbeck could also become more productive by providing more assists for his team mates, but this is a part of his game he needs to improve upon. Over the past two seasons, Welbeck only provided his team mates five assists in 52 Premier League games. This isn’t good enough to compete with Giroud as he made eight assists in last season alone.
Welbeck can become more productive at the Gunners by becoming their main man upfront. To do this, he needs to prove himself in the time between now and January when Giroud comes back from his injury by scoring and helping create goals.
Welbeck’s first game in an Arsenal shirt will be this Saturday lunchtime against the current Premier League champions Manchester City. If he can help his new side win against his old rival team by helping or scoring a goal or two, it will be a good start towards him winning the starting centre forward job and becoming more productive at Arsenal.