Welbeck gives Arsenal timely reminder of his class

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Shaun Botterill
The attacker might not be Unai Emery's first-choice forward but he proved his worth with a decisive double in the 3-1 League Cup win over Brentford

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette ahead of him in the pecking order at Arsenal, Danny Welbeck finds himself in a situation that will very much remind him of his time at Manchester United.

The England international left Old Trafford In September 2014 in an attempt to establish himself as the starting No.9 at the Emirates, having had to settle for either a position out wide or even on the bench at Old Trafford.

Fast-forward four years and a number of serious injuries, however, and Welbeck is once again little more than a back-up option.

There have been moments to savour, such as his first hat-trick for the club in the Champions League win over Galatasaray back in 2014 and the FA Cup final win over Chelsea in 2017, but his move down south has generally not given Welbeck the satisfaction he was seeking.

That’s not stopped the 27-year-old from giving his all for the club whenever called upon, though, and Unai Emery was quick to emphasise his importance when he returned from his holiday ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

“I said to him [Welbeck] when he arrived back with us after the holidays that I want the best performances of his career – and to work hard for that,” Emery said.

“We'll be helping him improve his quality this year – more goals, more assists, working to help when we need quick pressing against the opposition.”

Indeed, Welbeck has already shown signs that he has a big role to play under Emery this term. He got his first goal of the season after coming off the bench in the 3-1 Premier League win over West Ham and netted again as Arsenal saw off Vorskla 4-2 in the Europa League.

He was rewarded for his fine performances with a starting role as striker in Wednesday's Carabao Cup encounter with Brentford and it’s fair to say Welbeck did not disappoint.

The forward needed just five minutes to open the scoring in north London, rising high after a sublime cross from Matteo Guendouzi before heading home from close range.

Welbeck continued to cause the Brentford defence all kinds of trouble in the opening 45 minutes and he doubled his tally with an easy finish in the 37th minute, after some great work from Alex Iwobi and Nacho Monreal.

The former United man went in search of his hat-trick after the break, but it was Lacazette who got Arsenal's third instead, sealing the deal late on after Alan Judge had pulled one back for Brentford around the hour mark.

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The fact that Welbeck was not allowed to take home the matchball will have done little to dampen his mood, though, as his goals not only helped Arsenal to a 3-1 win, but also served as a timely reminder to Emery that he remains a useful option in attack.

He might face a tough task to leapfrog in-form striking duo Lacazette or Aubameyang in the pecking order, but there appears to be little doubt Welbeck will get plenty of game time at Emirates Stadium if he keeps up his current form.

With his existing contract due to expire at the end of the season, that can only be good news for the versatile and long under-rated attacker.

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