Arsenal's Danny Welbeck ready to prove doubters wrong - Arsene Wenger
LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said Danny Welbeck is ready to prove his doubters wrong after a two-goal haul against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Welbeck netted the first and last goals in a 3-0 win over the Cherries at the Emirates, setting up Alexandre Lacazette for the other.
His first involved some fortune as Sead Kolasinac's cross came off his shoulder, but the second was a perfect finish into the far corner from a tight angle.
"People are not convinced that he's a great finisher, but these types of goals will help him to get more relaxed in front of goal," Wenger told a news conference.
"I liked his second goal today, it was really the clean finishing of a goal scorer."
Welbeck had been criticised for missing a number of chances at Stoke and Liverpool in Arsenal's previous two losses, but Wenger said it was clear the England international was getting his confidence back after two seasons that had been largely ruined by injuries.
Having started up front against Liverpool, Welbeck played alongside Mesut Ozil behind Lacazette against Bournemouth and produced his best performance of the season.
He nearly completed a hat trick, but his chip over Asmir Begovic went just wide of the far post.
"He gets stronger and stronger. Let's not forget that he was out for a long time," Wenger said.
"He's a team player, Danny Welbeck, that's why the coaches love him. He's a guy who has a physical potential that's huge as well."
Welbeck started as Alexis Sanchez was left on the bench following a late trip back from South America after international duty and transfer deadline-day turmoil when a deal to sell him to Manchester City collapsed in the final hours.
Sanchez came on for Welbeck in the second half and was met with a smattering of boos from the Emirates crowd after making it clear he wanted to leave Arsenal at the end of the season.
A majority of the crowd backed the Chile international, however, and Wenger insisted the boos had not affected him.
"We have to accept responses from people. I don't know why [people booed]. But the best way to get people on your side is to perform," the manager said.
"I had a chat with him after the game, he didn't look unhappy. Maybe [he was unhappy] because he wanted to score. The interpretation of the attitude is always very dangerous."
The win was a perfect response to the 4-0 loss Arsenal had suffered at Liverpool before the international break, although Bournemouth offered little resistance after Welbeck opened the scoring in the seventh minute.
"It's always a test when you had such a negative experience as we had, for the mental health of the team, to see how we respond. Overall we had a committed, disciplined and offensively a very good performance," Wenger said.
The only negative for Arsenal was substitute Francis Coquelin having to come off with a hamstring injury with 10 minutes left.
Wenger said Coquelin would miss at least Thursday's Europa League game against Cologne and next weekend's trip to Stamford Bridge.
However, his injury could open a path back into the squad for Jack Wilshere, who has yet to make an appearance for Arsenal this season despite having declared himself fully fit after an ankle fracture.
"Jack Wilshere is getting stronger. The fact that Francis is out now gives him a chance as well," Wenger said. "I don't know yet [if he'll play on Thursday], he's not far from that."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.