Our 1-1 draw with Brighton symbolised more than just our last home game of the season.
At full-time, our club said goodbye to three of our current squad. Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck will all leave The Emirates at the end of this season, and while Aaron Ramsey’s farewell caught the headlines and all the feelings – Danny Welbeck faded into the background.
The England striker has had his last season ruined by injury – not for the first time – but his value as a player to our cause since his arrival in 2014 has always been huge.
Unai Emery recognised this and Welbeck was often used in the Spaniard’s first campaign, but yet another injury put paid to not only Welbeck’s season, but his Gunners career.
Could we rely on his fitness? The doubts were there, but when fit, was there another who gave as much on the pitch? Welbeck was at home out wide as well as through the centre, and despite flitting in and out of the eleven throughout his time at the club, he always gave his all and never threw his toys out of the pram.
It helped that his England career was not stymied by his sporadic Arsenal appearances, but Welbeck when fully fit gives any manager – international or otherwise – something different. Tireless running, great positioning and a fantastically deft touch meant that the striker was always prevalent in attacking moves.
Welbeck is also responsible for one of our stadium’s most iconic moments.
The 2015-16 season. Welbeck had once again been injured seriously. His recovery coincided with a late cameo against title-chasing Leicester City. His header from a Mesut Ozil set-piece won it late on for the Gunners, and the roar was perhaps the loudest we have heard since The Emirates was erected.
Another moment would be Welbeck’s goal against his former employers, Man United, in the FA Cup. We hadn’t won at Old Trafford since 2006, but Welbeck’s goal, rounding De Gea, provided the platform to win it and knock out the home side.
We should be sad to see Welbeck go. In a time when we bemoan the lack of energy shown by our side at times, we are letting go of a player who always gave his all and played for the badge rather than himself.
Danny Welbeck, there will be plenty who are sad to see you go. Thank you for everything.