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

Matt Jones 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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Winners and losers from Premier League Week 26 as Sergio Aguero equals record

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Manchester City star Sergio Aguero

It was another weekend of intriguing football in the Premier League, with twists and turns at both ends of the table.

Liverpool regained top spot by comfortably beating Bournemouth at Anfield, but Manchester City hammered Chelsea 6-0 to leapfrog the Reds on Sunday.

Spurs remain five points behind the leaders after beating Leicester at Wembley, while Manchester United are nine points behind in fourth after brushing aside Fulham.

Arsenal and Chelsea are one point behind the Red Devils, with seventh-placed Wolves sitting 11 points behind sixth place.

Everton, West Ham and Bournemouth are all firmly in mid-table with 33 points, while Crystal Palace, Brighton and Burnley are all three points above the relegation zone.

Cardiff’s last-gasp winner against Southampton sees them leap one point above the Saints, who drop into the relegation zone.

Another loss for Fulham sees them move eight points away from safety and Huddersfield remain rock bottom with only 11 points.

Who stood out and who had a weekend to forget? We’ve taken a look below.

WINNERS

Paul Pogba – Manchester United

The Frenchman continued his fine run of form at Craven Cottage, finding the net twice in a comfortable 3-0 victory.

Pogba has scored eight times in nine league games under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and this was the third time under the interim boss he has found the net twice in a match.

Fulham could not get close to him as he ran the show in midfield. A charismatic performance.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba was instrumental against Fulham.

Chris Wood – Burnley

The Burnley forward found the net twice in a huge 3-1 away victory over Brighton.

Wood has been linking with Ashley Barnes extremely well in recent months and the two were too much to handle for the Seagulls.

If Wood can keep firing in goals for the Clarets, then they’ll be confident of avoiding relegation this season.

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City

The Argentine was among the winners last week and here he is again after netting another treble, this time against Chelsea.

Although he missed a glaring chance early on, he did not let that affect him as he equalled Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League hat-trick record of 11 as the Blues were put to the sword by rampant City.

Aguero is now level in the top scorer charts with 17 strikes this season, alongside Mohamed Salah.

Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero made more history at the weekend.

LOSERS

Jamie Vardy – Leicester City

The Englishman’s weekend started in the worst possible way as he was named on the bench by manager Claude Puel against Spurs.

When Vardy did come on in the second half, his first touch was from the penalty spot, but his tame effort was easily saved by Hugo Lloris.

He did manage to get his name on the scoresheet but it was not a match to remember for Vardy.

Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy endured an up and down day against Spurs.

Fulham

The Cottagers showed no signs of determination or fight on Saturday as United strolled to victory.

Claudio Ranieri will be very worried by the performance and if they continue to play like that, then they’re certain to drop down to the Championship.

Chelsea

The Blues were humiliated at the Etihad Stadium and were 4-0 down inside 25 minutes.

Maurizio Sarri simply can’t get the best out of the players he has at his disposal and if the Blues don’t show signs of improvement, then he could be at risk of losing his job.

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri’s Blues are in a spot of bother.

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Man City's confidence soaring thanks to early goals, says Bernardo Silva

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Bernardo Silva believes Manchester City‘s confidence is soaring thanks to their knack of scoring early goals.

The champions reclaimed top spot in the Premier League on Sunday with a sensational 6-0 hammering of Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, sparked by Raheem Sterling’s fourth-minute opener.

It was the fifth time in six league games in which Pep Guardiola’s side have struck inside the opening 20 minutes, a sequence that includes two first-minute goals.

With City engaged in a tight battle with Liverpool for top spot, midfielder Silva feels getting off to quick starts is important.

The Portugal international said: “It is true that we have been lucky lately to score early. It is good to start the game like that.

“It helps you for the confidence and for everything else, to start the game pressing high, creating chances, having the ball.

“Lately we have scored lots of goals in the first five minutes, which is very good.”

Against Chelsea, City were able to build on their positive start, adding three more goals to put the result beyond doubt inside the opening 25 minutes.

Silva said: “It was very good we scored early – that goal gave us the confidence we needed against, in my opinion, one of the best sides in the world and it was fantastic for us.

“We were lucky enough that almost every time we went (forward) we scored. When it is like that, it is always easier. We played very well in those first 25-30 minutes and we were very happy with the score.”

City’s victory moved them back above Liverpool to the summit on goal difference, but they have played a game more.

Liverpool play their game in hand when they face arch-rivals Manchester United on February 24, a match that will put City in the unusual position of wanting a favour from their neighbours.

Sergio Aguero equalled the record of Premier League hat-tricks held by Alan Shearer against Chelsea.

Sergio Aguero equalled the record of Premier League hat-tricks held by Alan Shearer against Chelsea.

Silva said: “Of course it is better if they lose some points but I think all of us, not only the manager but all of the players, have been saying to focus on our job.

“If we don’t win our games, it doesn’t matter what they do so that is the most important thing now.”

Sergio Aguero did most of the damage against Chelsea, scoring a record-equalling 11th Premier League hat-trick and a 15th overall for the club.

“I think you don’t need any more words to describe him,” Silva added. “He just proves week after week how good he is, year after year.

“It is just fantastic for us to have a striker like him scoring so many goals for us. I just hope he continues.”

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