Friday, 12 September 2014

Welbeck can flourish

In a hectic transfer window one of the most surprising deals was that of Danny Welbeck as he swapped Manchester for London in a sixteen million pound move.

Like fellow teammateTom Cleverley who also headed for the exit door on deadline day, this move could work wonders for Welbeck and his career, he could progress from the average player he is to the star that was expected of him when he burst onto the scene.

"He played three seasons for the first team, but he doesn't have the record of Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney. And that is the standard," Van Gaal said when explaining why he let the young Englishman go.

His 29 goals in 142 games is not a glamorous record when put up against his replacement Radamel Falcao who possesses a phenomenal record of 220 goals in 356 games, this does not truly reflect the impact of Welbeck who for much of his United career has been played on the wings compared to Falcao who has been a number nine for his entire career.

The move to Arsenal could see Welbeck blossom into the goal-scoring striker that he has for so long threatened to become, especially now that we would expect he will be the main man up-front for the Gunners due to their lack of depth in the area and the lengthy absence of Giroud through injury.

You can’t help but feel a sense of de-ja-vu with this transfer thinking back to fellow Englishman Daniel Sturridge’s move from Chelsea to Liverpool, while at Chelsea Sturridge was not seen as a main striking option and was played frequently on the wing, hence his poor goal-scoring record of 13 goals in 63 games.

Since his move to Liverpool in January 2013 Sturridge, while playing in a more central role, has scored a total of 36 goals in 52 games, his International career has also benefited becoming the main striker and scoring 5 goals in the 12 games sine his Anfield move.

Welbeck will hope to follow in these footsteps and following his double against Switzerland last week he has already shown if given the chance he can score goals at the highest level.

Arsene Wenger is known for developing young players and pacey 23-year-old Danny Welbeck will be hoping he has made the right move at the right time to further his career.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cleverley’s new chapter

One player who is sure to be ecstatic about starting a new chapter in his career is 25-year-old Tom Cleverley, after becoming a scapegoat for the fans last season at Manchester United his loan move to Aston Villa is sure to be a welcome relief.

No longer a part of the English International setup Cleverley has had a tough year, he even was subject to an online petition not to be on the plane to Brazil, a petition that had reached 17500 signatures.

Tom Cleverley was no stranger to criticism but surely this took its toll on the young man, the last year has undoubtedly been confidence sapping but with a new club comes a new start and Cleverley will be hoping that on this occasion the grass will be greener on the other side.

Cleverley has racked up a total of thirteen international appearances, these are no flukes Cleverley earned these caps, Cleverley has the potential to be a strong Premier League midfielder and will be hoping he can recreate the form he showed during his loan spell at Wigan in 2010/11, where he was an integral member at the team, at Aston Villa.

Aston Villa is, with all due respect, a smaller club than Manchester United and the pressure Tom Cleverley will be under will be considerably lower maybe suiting the loanee.

Under the guidance of Paul Lambert and assistant manager and former United great Roy Keane, Cleverley could blossom into the man who was once seen as the ideal replacement for Paul Scholes.

At Villa Cleverley should expect to start the majority of games and starting this week-end at Anfield he might even stake a claim to be re-included in the England international squad and who knows maybe this time there will be a petition for him to be included in the squad, stranger things have happened.

photo credit: eschipul via photopin cc

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Under-achieving Welsh hope to buck trend

1958, the last and only time Wales were represented in a tournament finals, that being the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden. A wait far too long for the followers of the Welsh side and one they hope will end in the near future.

Wales have never qualified for a European Championships in their history, 2004 was the closest they’ve come in recent years losing out narrowly to Russia 1-0 in a play-off.

In their last qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup, Wales were disappointing finishing 5th in their group behind Belgium, Croatia, Serbia and Scotland while finishing above bottom placed side Macedonia.
This time around optimism surrounds the Welsh national team, their group is by no means straight forward but it is expected to be a coming of age campaign for Chris Coleman and his talented young squad.

Wales see themselves in Group B alongside Belgium, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel and Andorra, a tough group but with the top two teams qualifying for the competition and the third place side getting a play off place Wales have a better chance than ever before to qualify for their first ever European Championships.

They kicked off their Qualifying campaign with a 2-1 away win to minnows Andorra in a far more competitive game than was expected for the Welsh, Gareth Bale was on form for Coleman’s side scoring two to come from behind after Andorra opened the scoring from the spot to record their first competitive goal in four years.

The state of the pitch was a major talking point after the game taking much of the attention away from what was an underwhelming performance for the Dragons.

In the latest 23-man squad, Wales have only three players thirty years old or older, the relatively young team is now coming to a point in their careers where they must step up and be counted on the international stage.
The Welsh squad is jam packed with Premier League players; they include Ashley Williams, (Swansea) Ben Davies, (Spurs) Aaron Ramsey, (Arsenal) Joe Allen, (Liverpool) Neil Taylor (Swansea) not to mention the world’s most expensive player Gareth Bale (Real Madrid).

Coleman has now appeared to have entrusted Bale with the striker role, one that he is fulfilling having now scored fourteen International goals, the Welsh midfield also looks bright with Arsenal playmaker Aaron Ramsey at his peak along with Liverpool maestro Joe Allen. Completing the strong spine of the team is Ashley Williams, a rock at the heart of the defence.

With such an array of young talent in their ranks Wales will expect to at least be getting into third place in the group guaranteeing them a play off tie, anything less than this would see them continue their reputation as underachievers for yet another few years.