08 September 2014

Man U's Paul Scholes calls on Welbeck to score 25-30 goals for Arsenal...

In news as incontrovertible as it is inspiring, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has apparently set a high bar for former teammate and freshly-minted Gunner Danny Welbeck, saying that "i shows how highly regarded Danny is that a club as big as Arsenal signed him. He will be a good signing for Arsene Wenger. Danny will never be a 20-25 goals-a-season man." The only logical conclusion to draw from this is that Welbeck will rise above that pedestrian level and go for 25-to-30 goals. No other prognostication is remotely possible. Sit back, Gooners, and watch as the shots go marching in.

Scholes knows of which he speaks. Having played with strikers, poachers, and scorers of all kinds—Cantona, van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov, and van Persie among them—Scholes has seen what it takes to deliver goals on a regular basis. Having played and trained alongside Welbeck since 2008, Scholes can attest to Welbeck's quality. When he says that Welbeck will "never" score 20-25 goals per season, the implied follow-up to that, the only one that even remotely makes sense, no matter which way you slice it, is that Welbeck will transcend that pedestrian level, trod by the likes of Cantona, van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov, and van Persie, and go on to score 25 to 30 goals, if not more (why did that list sound so familiar? No matter...).

Sure, Scholes went on to say that Welbeck "could get Arsenal 10 to 15", but as we Gooners know, Welbeck has been brought on as an upgrade for the injured Giroud, who himself scored 16 Prem goals a season ago. Therefore, we have no choice but to extrapolate thusly:
  • Premise #1: Arsenal need an upgrade at centre-forward.
  • Premise #2: Giroud scored 16 Prem goals last season.
  • Premise #3 (the Wenger doctrine): Welbeck was brought in as an upgrade on Giroud.
  • Premise #4 (Scholes Corollary to the Wenger doctrine): Welbeck will not score 20-25 Prem goals.
There really is only one logical conclusion to be drawn. To score less than 19 goals has been precluded by premises one, two, and three. To score between 20 and 25 goals has been precluded by the corollary to premise three. Therefore, there is only one logical conclusion to be drawn: Welbeck will score between 26 and infinity goals during the 2014-15 Prem season. With goal-differentials a frequent factor in deciding who wins the Prem, one hopes that Welbeck's tally takes him closer to the latter than the former.

On a more serious level, it's hard to imagine Welbeck going for less than 15 goals. Between the advantages of playing at his preferred position, not having to defer to van Persie or Rooney, and receiving service and support from the likes of Cazorla, Alexis, Walcott, Özil, and Ramsey, it's hard to imagine Welbeck not flourishing to the tune of 20 goals or more. No longer will he be playing wide. No longer will he have to second-guess himself on a shot, worrying that van Persie will whine and moan about teammates playing in his zones. Instead, he'll slot in to the centre-forward spot, from which he's delivered some of his best performances, and get a regular run of games to prove his worth to club—and country. This is a man, remember, who first appeared on Manchester United's radar at the tender age of six. That was 17 years ago. He might have been a one-club man (loans aside), not unlike Scholes, Neville, or Giggs. Instead, Welbeck took a look at the writing on the wall, which essentially spelt out "we're going for short-term successes at the expense of the long-term", and he realized that hist best bets lay elsewhere. Let his adoration of Henry pave the way to success at Arsenal.

At a risk then, of indulging in a bit of schadenfreude, I do hope that Welbeck delivers on his vast potential. Man U's current campaign seems to consist of outscoring the opposition, an approach that a similarly UCL-less Liverpool very nearly rode to Prem glory a season ago. However, unlike a season ago, we've nabbed a centre-forward from a key rival, and this might be just enough to nudge us up the table. Chelsea almost gave us Demba Ba but backed out once Moaninho realized the implications. This time through, Man U have gifted us Welbeck. It's anyone's guess—yours, mine, Scholes's—as to how this will play out.

Somehow, some part of me is guessing that it will play out quite well in Arsenal's favour.