English Premiership

Welbeck, the new Henry?

2014-10-02 12:31
Danny Welbeck (AFP)
Cape Town - Sport24's Wade Pretorius has looked at the numbers to investigate whether Arsenal could possibly have another Thierry Henry in the lineup.

After a brilliant start to life at Arsenal, many fans are wondering whether Danny Welbeck can fill Thierry Henry's famous boots.

Welbeck sealed a sensational deadline day move away from Manchester United to Arsenal which left United fans on the fence whether or not the club would miss him.

Arsenal fans, on the other hand, were not quite sure what the born and bred Mancunian would bring to their attacking threat.

The Gunners faithful have been longing for a prolific striker to lead the frontline since the departure of Robin van Persie, ironically to Manchester United, in 2012.

Welbeck started his career at Old Trafford and has been with the club since a young school boy. After turning professional, the England forward was sent out on loan to gain first team experience, first with Preston North End and then with English Premiership side Sunderland.

At the age of 20, Welbeck was given a chance to feature in Sir Alex Ferguson's first team at the "Theatre of Dreams".  

Welbeck's Manchester United career stats:


In the 2011/12 season, Welbeck appeared in 30 league matches for the Red Devils and he scored 9 goals. In all competitions, Welbeck made 39 appearances and scored 12 goals.

In the 2012/13 season, Welbeck appeared in 27 league matches, scoring just 1 goal. In all competitions, Welbeck made 40 appearances and scored 2 goals.

In the 2013/14 season, Welbeck appeared in 25 league matches, he scored 9 goals. In all competitions, Welbeck made 36 appearances and scored 10 goals.

Welbeck had made a tentative start to life with the Gunners following his £16 million move from Manchester United on transfer deadline day but now has a hat-trick to his name as well as a first English Premiership goal for his new club.

With the England international receiving rave reviews for his Arsenal form, many pundits have begun comparing him to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.

Fans of the London club are now wondering if Welbeck can really go on and emulate the success of their beloved French striker?

Just how good was Thierry Henry?

At the age of 22, Henry moved from Italy to England in 1999 for a fee in the region of £11 million. The French striker had spent just one year with Juventus before joining Arsene Wenger's project in London.

However, Henry was not unfamiliar with professional soccer as he had already spent five seasons as a professional with Ligue 1 side Monaco.

Henry would soon go on and confirm his legendary status at Highbury, Arsenal's former home ground.

The stats from Thierry Henry's first three seasons at Arsenal (his first three in the EPL):

In the 1999/2000 season, Henry made 31 league appearances for Arsenal, finding the back of the net 17 times. He featured 47 matches in all competitions, scoring 26 goals.

In the 200/01 season, Henry made 35 league, again scoring 17 times. He featured 53 matches in all competitions, scoring 22 goals.

In the 2001/02 season, Henry made 33 league, scoring 24 times for the Gunners. He featured 49 matches in all competitions, scoring 32 goals.     

Henry would go on to score 226 goals in 369 appearances over the six and half seasons he spent at Arsenal before signing for Barcelona in 2007.

Henry has a far superior goals per games ratio (54%) to that of Welbeck (21%) when you compare how the two fared in their first three seasons of first team football in the top-flight of English football.

While there may be similarities between Welbeck and Henry, including their playing style and  the age at which the started playing first team football. It is clear that Thierry Henry's finishing and scoring records are far superior to those of Danny Welbeck.

In fairness to the English striker, Welbeck always found himself down the striking "pecking order" and often utilised out wide due to his pace.

Welbeck made many of his appearances for Manchester United off the bench and the player himself will now be hoping to take advantage of  the regular starting role  in order to up his goal tally.

Even the most biased of Arsenal fans would agree, Danny Welbeck has a (very) long way to go if he wants to be fairly compared to Thierry Henry. 

Is Welbeck the new Henry? No, but if he continues his fine start to his Arsenal career, he may very well come close to emulating Henry's exploits at the Gunners.

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