Manchester United: Danny Welbeck Deserving of Credit in Tough Season for Reds

Jake NisseFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

Welbeck played like a veteran against Swansea
Welbeck played like a veteran against SwanseaShaun Botterill/Getty Images

So far, Manchester United's season has been an utter disappointment.

David Moyes has not produced the results fans hoped he would, Marouane Fellaini has not proved to be worthy of his hefty transfer fee and Old Trafford seems like a shadow of the fortress it once was.

Amid all of this turmoil, however, Danny Welbeck has quietly improved his game and taken massive steps in his development.

Before this season, Welbeck was considered an undeveloped player, overflowing with strength and pace but devoid of a refined final product near the goal.

As a center forward who rarely scored, United fans were growing tired of his lack of goals. Last season, he scored only one EPL goal, showing little consistency or finishing ability with a shot accuracy rate of 42 percent. 

Because of this, Sir Alex Ferguson gave him some time at the left-wing position, essentially expressing his doubt of Welbeck as a true goalscorer. 

Fast-forward about a year, and Welbeck is now playing center forward again; David Moyes has had no choice but to play him there with injuries to Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Welbeck has thrived without van Persie and Rooney playing with him
Welbeck has thrived without van Persie and Rooney playing with himShaun Botterill/Getty Images

This time around, however, he's thriving in this role.

Welbeck has eight goals on only 24 shots, while amassing 15 appearances.

The striker has been an absolute revelation for United, improving his formerly mediocre finishing and notching a respectable shot accuracy rate of 54 percent.

Welbeck has had only six appearances at the center forward position, but has tallied five goals and six assists in those matches. In addition, he has compiled a WhoScored rating of 7.57 in these games, while he earned a pedestrian rating of 6.67 in three appearances as a left midfielder.

His newfound potency in front of goal, especially without the likes of Van Persie and Rooney to aid him, is a sign that his technique and final product are finally beginning to catch up to his undeniable athleticism.

With his striking partners out, and a robust six goals in six games, Welbeck has assumed somewhat of a leadership role.

Playing alongside the 18 year-old Adnan Januzaj, the erratic Antonio Valencia and the underachieving Shinji Kagawa against Swansea, Welbeck was called on to lead United in attack. He played a solid game and scored a second-half goal to double United's lead.

Welbeck is undoubtedly playing better as a center forward, silencing his critics and making it difficult for Moyes to revert him to the bench once one of his striking partners comes back.

With his recent performances, Moyes should feel no need to add another striker in January, and he may have to turn to a two-striker formation to get the best out of his squad.

Information from, Squawka and ESPNFC was used in this article.