Because less players equal more space to pass and move

Can Welbeck thrive away from Old Trafford?

One of the more surprising moves on transfer deadline day was the transfer of Danny Welbeck from Manchester United to Arsenal.

The striker moved to the Emirates for £16m on a dramatic day of activity at Old Trafford that saw United sign Radamel Falcao on loan for the rest of the season. With the Colombian joining Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria, first team opportunities were likely to be limited for Welbeck, though United were thought to be reluctant to sell to one of their rivals for a Champions League place.

However, the move could be the right one for the player and his new club. With first choice striker Olivier Giroud out until Christmas with a broken leg, Welbeck should get plenty of time on the field and in his preferred role as a centre forward.

He spent much of his time at Old Trafford either out the team, on the bench or out wide. His flexibility has always been one of his strengths and he can play effectively on either flank, but that versatility may have counted against him at United. Now, having said that he prefers a more central role, will he get the chance to prove that with his new club?

Arsene Wenger will have watched England's game with Switzerland in midweek with interest. Because of an injury to Daniel Sturridge, Welbeck was brought into Roy Hodgson’s team, playing as a central striker alongside his old team-mate Wayne Rooney. His two goals gave England a much needed win and also showed why Wenger may have been canny in the transfer market in persuading the striker to join the Gunners.

He is not the finished article and his display for England demonstrated that. However, if he quickly gets onto the same wavelength as his new team-mates and with a good run in the team, he should be a considerable asset to an Arsenal side chasing a first Premier League title since 2003-04. Bet 365 have them as fourth favourites, just ahead of Welbeck’s old side Manchester United.

The Arsenal manager favours a 4-2-3-1 system and his new recruit has advantages in playing the role as the main striker, not least in his pace and movement which should, in addition to enabling him to get some goals for himself, make plenty more for those in the team who will push forward from midfield, notably Jack Wilshire, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Welbeck, if given a lengthy run in the side, should also improve his scoring record which is patchy in Premier League terms. A total of 29 goals in 142 games for Manchester United would not usually warrant a £16m price tag. However, 20 of those goals came in the 53 Premier League games that he started. So, if given more games for Arsenal than he had at United, he would be expected to improve his scoring ratio accordingly. Also, his record for England is more impressive, scoring 10 goals in 19 starts for his country.

Welbeck has areas of his game that need improvement, as all players do, but throughout his time at Old Trafford his development was hampered by the lack of first team opportunities and the absence of a lengthy run in the team. If he is given that chance by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, he may well prove to be an inspired signing.