Since Robin van Persie was injured against Shakhtar Donetsk on December 10, Danny Welbeck has stepped up to the mantle with incredible aplomb. The striker, who has often been criticised for his lack of goals, and had rebuked manager David Moyes’ suggestion that he didn’t train after hours, bagged six goals in six league games in RVP’s absence.
The question is now, can he continue that run against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (Sunday, 4pm, Sky Sports 1), and go from ‘Dat Guy’ to ‘The Man’?
welbz is dat guy
— ra’vel (@morrisonravel) February 13, 2013
- In total Welbeck has nine goals in 21 appearances this season, and a decent tally of eight Premier League goals in 11 starts
- In the last six league games, only Luis Suarez (seven) has scored more goals than Danny Welbeck. Not bad for a player criticised for his prolificancy
- In those six games Welbeck has attempted 19 shots, giving him a conversion rate of 32 per cent. In comparison Suarez’s conversion rate in that time is 23 per cent
United fans understandably love Danny Welbeck – not only does he have incredible pace and power, but he was born four miles from Old Trafford and has loved the club since he was a kid. His critics will say he is wasteful in front of goal, but the 23-year-old looks to finally shed that label. Handy, considering the World Cup is just five months or so away.
- Are you backing Welbeck to make it a magnificent seven from seven? Get the latest odds here: Desktop | Mobile
The Englishman’s all round game has improved drastically since last season as well, arguably because he is leading the line more rather than being played out of position on the wing.
- The only time Welbeck came close to this kind of goalscoring run in the league was when he bagged five goals in six games for Sunderland in late 2010
- This season in the league he is attempting, on average 2.1 shots a game, compared to 1.4 shots a game in 2012/13. The extra confidence to take the shot on is paying dividends with his goal tally
- And he has every right to goal for goal looking at the stats. His shot accuracy has soared from 42 per cent last season to 54 per cent this year – the same percentage as Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie
- More of United’s play is also going through Welbeck who is becoming more influential in their attacks. The striker averages 24.9 passes a game this year compared to 18.8 passes last year and his pass acuracy has gone up slightly as well to 87.7 per cent
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 12, 2014
The question many United fans will ask is whether he can produce the goods against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. As I pointed out in a cheeky little article here, Moyes’ record against the Londoners is a bit of a shocker, and incredibly Manchester United have never scored against a Chelsea side managed by Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge. Ever.
Welbeck is 9/1 to open the scoring at the Bridge and 16/5 to find the onion bag at any time. Whether he can continue his red-hot form in front of goal at a ground Mourinho has never lost a league match on is another question Welbeck will be looking forward to answering.