Champagne Charlie toasts Gunners strength in depth

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Ex-Gunner Charlie Nicholas says Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez give Arsene Wenger real squad depth as Arsenal challenge for the title in the second half of the season.

After nine months on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery, Welbeck has made two appearances off the bench at Preston and Swansea in the space of a week.

Nicholas now believes the England international can challenge the likes of Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez for a regular starting berth, even though scoring goals hasn’t always been his forte.

“Welbeck’s not a big goalscorer but his energy and the ambition he’ll have to prove himself make him a real asset to the squad,” Nicholas told Sky Sports. 

“Just look at the goal he got against Leicester last season. He keeps fighting until the end. He won’t score a big amount of goals but he will make a contribution and gives the strength in depth which is so important when you get to the business end of the season.

“Arsenal and Manchester United have the strongest squads in the top six and that will come into play with the FA Cup and Champions League. I’m very pleased he’s back and I’m sure he will make a contribution.”

The Scot also had warm words for Lucas Perez who has notched five goals and six assists in 14 appearances since signing from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer for £17 million.

“I would say he [Lucas] has been underused,” Nicholas said.

“I do like his movement, which is very important, especially without Theo Walcott in the side. He was the one guy against Bournemouth that should have come out of it with credit, other than the self-indulgent Olivier Giroud.

“He’s under-used, under-appreciated and should have been given more game time. I like him and am happy to have him at the club.”

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