English Premiership

May day as Welbeck targets Arsenal start

2017-01-30 08:15
Danny Welbeck (Supplied)

London - Danny Welbeck is targeting a first Premier League start since last May when Arsenal face Watford on Tuesday after his two-goal showing in the 5-0 FA Cup demolition of Southampton.

The England striker confirmed his return to fitness, scoring twice at St Mary's Stadium and is now hoping to play a more prominent role in the Gunners' bid to close the eight-point gap to Premier League leaders Chelsea when Walter Mazzarri's struggling Watford side visit the Emirates Stadium.

An injury picked up against Manchester City at the end of last season led to the forward's latest extended absence but Welbeck has been blighted by fitness problems during his three-year stay at Arsenal.

"It was obviously good to be back out on the pitch after such a long time out, it's been a tough few months," Welbeck told Arsenal Player after the Southampton game that booked the club's place in the last sixteen of the FA Cup.

"The thought of coming back definitely helped. I think because I had this experience before, coming back from an injury, I kind of knew what to expect even though it's a tough time.

"The end game is to be back out on the pitch and playing in the first team and I got that opportunity. I'm certainly looking forward to doing it many more times."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was forced to watch from the stands at St Mary's on Saturday as he started his four-game touchline ban after being charged for misconduct following his altercation with the fourth official during the home defeat of Burnley.

Against Southampton, Wenger's absence from the dug-out had little impact and Theo Walcott, scorer of a weekend hat-trick insists it will be no different against Watford.

"We're on the pitch, we just try to do our job," Walcott said.

"When things are going well it's great, it's obviously important for the manager to be there, but he was in the dressing room before and after the game and during half-time, but we know our jobs."


While Arsenal have every right to feel confident about extending their unbeaten run in 2017, Watford will arrive low on confidence after a humiliating FA Cup exit at the hands of League One Millwall.

Without a win in seven league games, the last thing Mazzarri's side needed was to find themselves on the receiving end of one of the shocks of the fourth round.

The manager has blamed a lengthy injury list for his side's dip in form but was confident following the recent draw at Bournemouth that with players coming back, there were signs of improvement.

But the Millwall defeat may force a rethink.

"I am very disappointed, angry, disappointed for our fans," said Mazzarri, who made a number of changes to his line-up and is under growing pressure.

"We conceded a goal when we were pushing, it seemed like we were never going to conceded but we conceded, disappointing.

"It's normal that in one game it doesn't go your way. Now we have to concentrate on what is to come.

"We still miss some players, this is why we have to change formation. Now we have 16 games and I want a team that for 16 games fights for every ball and helps us move up the table."

Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon was stretchered off against Millwall joining Valon Behrami, Roberto Peyreyra, Nordin Amrabat and Isaac Success on the sidelines.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 20 January 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, The American Express Community Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v West Bromwich Albion, Goodison Park 17:00
Leicester City v Watford, King Power Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth, London Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Manchester United, Turf Moor 17:00
Manchester City v Newcastle United, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
Monday, 22 January 2018
Swansea City v Liverpool, Liberty Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.