Danny Welbeck has claimed that moving to Arsenal and playing more football has meant he is a lot sharper on the pitch.
When you are playing regularly, you feel a lot sharper on the pitch. Once you play regularly, it just becomes second nature to do things on the pitch. I feel match-sharp and that is important.
Last season, Welbeck scored nine goals in the league for United and this year, having played just over two more hours in the league than he did last season, he’s scored just four goals.
This season, he has averaged one goal per 407 minutes (almost seven hours) in the league, but last season, he averaged one goal per 162 minutes (almost three hours).
In total, last season he scored 10 goals in all competitions and this season he has scored eight, with three of those coming in one game against Galatasaray in the Champions League. Galatasaray finished bottom of the group with one point, conceding 19 goals in the six games they played.
I think it would be fair to say that most United fans wished Welbeck well when he left. He’s a United fan, he dreamt of seeing out his career at United, but he wasn’t good enough. As disappointing as it was to see him sold, most fans could accept it was the right thing for the club and the player.
Welbeck’s game has always been about more than goals, which, being honest, it would have to be, given that he’s never been a prolific scorer. His pace can certainly unsettle the opposition and he works hard to regain possession for his team. However, in terms of productivity, Welbeck has regressed this season, scoring less than half the goals in the league he did last season, despite playing more.
Welbeck was often forced wide at United, with superior strikers being chosen to him up front. Welbeck had a few months playing up top for Arsenal, in the absence of Oliver Giroud, but again has found himself playing out of his preferred position. But surely even the biggest Welbeck fan would struggle to defend his poor goalscoring record this season.
At United, only James Wilson has scored fewer goals than Welbeck this season, but even he has a better goals per minute ratio.
Van Persie: 1 goal per 199 minutes
Rooney: 1 goal per 208 minutes
Falcao: 1 goal per 255 minutes
Wilson: 1 goal per 332 minutes
Welbeck: 1 goal per 407 minutes
Welbeck, for whatever reason, tends to do well for England, and this was the case when he was at United too. 14 goals in 33 appearances is a decent return.
However, on the back of another goal for England, Welbeck’s claim that moving to Arsenal has made him sharper in front of goal quite simply isn’t true. In fact, in the five years he’s been playing first team football in the Premier League, this is his fourth worst season in terms of the goals he scored in relation to how much time he’s had on the pitch.
Welbeck 2013/14 (United)
1 goal per 162 minutes
Welbeck 2011/12 (United)
1 goal per 224 minutes
Welbeck 2010/11 (Sunderland)
1 goal per 295 minutes
Welbeck 2014/15 (Arsenal)
1 goal per 407 minutes
Welbeck 2012/13 (United)
1 goal per 1288 minutes