'Welbeck gives huge offensive potential'

Arsene Wenger knows better than most the journey that Danny Welbeck has been on as he has fought his way back from two serious knee injuries.

Following the England international’s goalscoring return against Southampton on Saturday, the Arsenal manager was asked about what he brings to the attack.

Wenger also discussed squad depth, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance in central midfield at St Mary’s.

on how pleased he is with Walcott and Welbeck’s return…
First of all, I’m pleased with their individual performances. It’s important to have players. We have scored many goals since the start of the season and Danny was not there. To add him to the squad as well gives us huge offensive potential. Now I have to use the strikers well, in the right moment and without destroying the balance of the team. I would add Lucas to that as well. He did very well on Saturday to create chances. Offensively, we have many players who can produce and score.

on Welbeck’s physical and mental strength…
To come out of what he has come through, you need to be mentally strong. To play like he played on Saturday, you need to work hard physically. That’s not a gift of God. You have to go through all kind of suffering to come back to that level of fitness.

on if Arsenal could play with three at the back…
We can as well play with three at the back. We have Gabriel, we have Mertesacker, we have Holding, we have of course Koscielny and Mustafi. When needed, we can do that. But we are a team who are focused on the offensive game. We like always to go forward and have numbers in the middle of the park and up front.

on where Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future lies - wide or in the middle…
I agree with you [there is a debate to be had]. He is a good flank player and a good central player, but the future, personally I would say, is more central than on the flank for him. But when you are young, you want to come in the team and the push is always a bit more on the flank. Why? Because centrally there is more experience demanded, more planning, more tactical planning and on the flanks you can be a bit more instinctive. But naturally, he is a guy I think who is comfortable to be involved always in the game. It looks in all the games he played central, in many of them he has done very well.


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