It must have been a tough call to make for Arsene Wenger, because the Arsenal and France international striker Olivier Giroud has been in great goal scoring form since he returned from injury. The big Frenchman had also put his poor show against Monaco behind him and scored in the next two games for the Gunners, while Danny Welbeck has not been featuring much and may have been a bit ring rusty.
But Wenger thought that his pace on the counter attack could be crucial playing away in such an important game and the fact it would be Welbeck’s first return to his old stomping ground Old Trafford made his mind up and it paid off big time.
Welbeck was fired up and used his pace and power well all night, especially when he sprung to punish Valencia’s back pass and score the winner. Not only was that a hammer blow to United’s chances, it was a blow to Louis van Gaal, the manager who had sold Welbeck as surplus to requirements. They certainly could have used him last night.
Van Gaal also admitted that Wenger’s decision to start Welbeck through the middle had surprised him so the Arsenal boss gets another gold star, while the pressure increases on his rival. Add to that the confidence boost he has given to Welbeck, and you must agree that his decision was an inspired one!