A moment of silence to remember Danny Welbeck’s Man United career.
Dat Guy Welbz™ is Manchester born and bred.
He came through the academy, completed the obligatory loans to Preston and Sunderland, before eventually breaking into the first team, becoming a regular for one of the biggest teams in the world.
It was a fairy tale story… with a tragic, premature end.
In 2014, under Louis van Gaal’s reign, Welbeck was deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford and was shipped down south to Arsenal.
Legend goes there was one exact moment, three seconds of madness, that effectively ended Welbeck’s hopes of becoming a Old Trafford great…
Picture the scene; it’s 2014, you’re through one-on-one against Manuel Neuer, undoubtedly the best keeper in the world at the time.
What do you do?
Well, if you’re Danny Welbeck, you dribble for slightly too long before trying to chip the German giant.
This incident occurred in the Champions League quarter-final first leg between Man United v Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.
There was genuinely an electric atmosphere as David Moyes’ side tested themselves against the reigning champions of Europe.
Suddenly, in the 38th minute, Wayne Rooney slides a throughball into Welbeck’s path and the England international just needs to keep his cool and pick his spot…
Before the game, United’s coaching staff had identified a rare half-weakness in Neuer’s game.
Bayern’s imperious keeper tended to rise early in one-on-one situations.
This instinct, plus his considerable height, meant the United players were instructed to shoot low if they were put through on goal.
For whatever reason, Welbeck decided to ignore his manager’s advice, and instead attempted to chip Neuer.
The German international stood up early, just as United’s coaches predicted, and so he simply stuck out a right glove and just like that the golden chance was squandered.
United played well and drew the game 1-1 but Welbeck’s missed chance was much-discussed in the postmortem.
Inevitably, Bayern overpowered them in Munich, with Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben scoring three goals in 17 second-half minutes.
Of course Welbeck was not solely to blame for United being eliminated but his miss would have significant consequences.
According to the Independent, when Moyes was replaced with Louis van Gaal, the existing coaches told the Dutch gaffer about Welbeck’s failure to follow orders.
Combined with other factors, this led Van Gaal to the conclusion that Welbeck was not up to standard and didn’t fit his philosophy of side over self.
And so, he was sold.
Welbeck’s Arsenal career has been plagued by injury, but the stats are damning — 13 league goals in nearly four seasons.
We may never know whether Welbeck’s exact thought process that resulted in his underwhelming finish against Bayern.
Did he genuinely ignore his coach’s instructions or simply forget them in the heat of the moment?
Did he think about the added personal glory of chipping Neuer? Who knows.
It just proves the intensity of Champions League knockout ties — where one moment can make or break a player’s career.
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