Danny Welbeck believes in Unai Emery and says Arsenal will be 'winning trophies soon'

Matt Jones - Editor 21:14 13/02/2019
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Welbeck has struggled to fully establish himseld at Arsneal, due to injury and inconsistency.

Danny Welbeck believes Arsenal will be “winning trophies soon” as players, staff and fans ease into the Unai Emery era.

The Spaniard replaced club legend Arsene Wenger, 69, last summer after the long-serving Frenchman departed having lifted three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups during a decorated 22-year tenure in charge of the Gunners.

Emery, 47, has come in for criticism after a blistering start dissipated, but forward Welbeck insists everyone at Emirates Stadium has to unite behind the new man.

“It’s been positive,” the 28-year-old told Sport360, speaking of Emery’s arrival in Dubai where he visited kids at the Arsenal Soccer Schools based at The Sevens on Wednesday.

“It’s a transitional period for the club with the new manager coming in. He has his ideas and what he wants to instill within the team.

“It’s something that as players, staff, fans, the whole club, we all have to get behind his ideas. But we’re heading in the right direction and to where Arsenal Football Club can be.”

The constant lack of challenging for major honours like the Premier League and Champions League – as well as perceived lack of ambition or inability to compete with Europe’s top teams in the transfer market – divided the club’s supporters in the final years of his iconic tenure.

Wenger – the longest-serving and most successful manager in the club’s history – finally bowed out at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, with former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss Emery named the Gunners’ first new manager since 1996.

His reign got off to a fantastic start, too. After losing their opening two games to Manchester City and Chelsea, Emery marched Arsenal on a 22-game unbeaten run, including 11-straight wins, from August 25 to December 16.

Welbeck's career has been blighted by injury.

Welbeck’s career has been blighted by injury.

Since then, however, they have slipped to six defeats and a draw in their next 13, which has seen Arsenal drop out of the top four and exit the FA Cup at the hands of Manchester United.

Securing a top-four finish and with it qualification to the Champions League became the mantra under Wenger. Glory did come for the Gunners in his latter years as they hoisted three FA Cups in his final five seasons in charge – including back-to-back trophies in 2014 and 2015,

But failure to compete in the knockout rounds on the continent or put up a valid title challenge led to a loss of faith among the majority of the Arsenal fans.

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Embrace the grind.. Stronger each day 💪🏿

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And Welbeck admits winning big trophies is what Arsenal need to be doing. “We’re Arsenal and, going in to every game, we want to be winning,” added the England international, who joined Arsenal from boyhood club United five years ago.

“If you’re winning games I’m sure come the end of it we’ll be as high up the table as possible and winning trophies soon. I think we’ve got to focus game by game and hopefully, at the end of it, we do have a trophy.”

Longsight-born Welbeck’s career has been littered with injuries and he is currently on the sidelines with the latest one – a significant ankle injury that required surgery after he was substituted in the 0-0 Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon last November.

Arsenal finished top of Group E and face Belarus’ BATE in the last 32, the first leg of which takes place in Borisov on Thursday. Welbeck has no idea when he might be back but admits his latest setback came at the worst time – he had been getting games and making an impression under Emery, netting five times in 14 appearances prior to the knock.

“It was difficult to take at the time. There’s never a right time to get injured,” said the 42-times capped England man.

“I want to participate in all the games, all the training, so it was difficult to take. The early stages were hard but you’ve got to stay strong and focused on what you’ve got to do to get back fit, and that’s what I’ve done.

“There’s stuff that will make you stronger and, mentally, I’m in a good place at the moment. I’m making good progress and I’m happy with the stage I’m at. It’s nice to have a break and get some good weather.

“It’s not something I can put a time frame on (returning to action). I want to make sure I’m 100-per-cent right when I come back.

“But I’m really pleased with my progress. I’m doing a bit of training out here but hopefully when I get back to London Colney I can kick on a bit more. I’m looking forward to it.”

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