Arsene Wenger says the amount of offensive options Arsenal have right now will mean that there’s going to be a fight for first team places.
Olivier Giroud returns to the squad for the first time since August and last year’s top scorer faces a challenge from new boy Danny Welbeck. Theo Walcott, despite a small groin injury, will be back in regular contention soon and Alexis Sanchez has been the Gunners stand out player this season thus far.
The challenge for Wenger is how to fit those players into his team, and although the return of last season’s top scorer might shunt Welbeck out to the left, the Arsenal manager has backed him to make an impact if he is asked to play there.
He also made it clear there was no agreement in his purchase which guaranteed him a central striking position.
“That was not a condition,” said Wenger. “You have players who play on the flanks who score goals. I don’t think that will stop him from scoring.
“Cristiano Ronaldo played all his life on the flanks and scored more goals than games he played. What is a problem for him is to play. He is adaptable – the modern player is adaptable.
“It is so important on the flanks to have pace and work rate, that sometimes in some games you have to put them there because they can absorb the quantity and the quality of the work.
“One of the main reasons he joined was that he wanted to play. We spoke about that and one of the main reasons he came here was just that he plays.”
Wenger played down suggestions that it was a one or the other situation with regard to Welbeck and Giroud.
“Welbeck can play in different positions up front and there is room for both of them to start in some games. Of course it is a fight. There’s always a fight, because we have a lot of offensive options.”
Meanwhile, if the former Man Utd man needed any more motivation for tomorrow’s game, comments from Louis van Gaal will have provided that.
The Dutchman said of Welbeck, “He was not a line-up player, he was more a substitute than a line-up player.
“Here, Welbeck doesn’t play every match. Mostly he doesn’t play.”
The reason the lifelong United fan wanted to leave was because he felt he wasn’t being given the opportunities he deserved, and being dismissed by a manager who knew him for just a couple of weeks should have him fired up nicely.
Galatasaray Mk II please, Danny.