Stat of the Day
In scoring three in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Galatasaray, Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck became the sixth English player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League.
The England striker follows in the footsteps of Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Andrew Cole and, for pub quiz regulars among you, Mike Newell. Who, he? Thanks to Opta Joe for that little gem.
Welbeck also becomes the third Arsenal player to score a hat-trick in the competition, after Thierry Henry (unsurprisingly) and Nicklas Bendtner (yes, really).
That’s four in five matches for the 23-year-old and if he carries on like this there is a danger of him being tagged with the label ‘prolific’ – a term that lay buried beneath the Old Trafford permafrost during his time with Manchester United, when one goal in five matches was the expected goal return.
In his performances to date Welbeck has demonstrated that he has a talent. The question that has always hung over him, was whether those individual skills could ever be harnessed into something more productive than the occasional feint or flick.
To give Welbeck his dues, unlike at Old Trafford where he was was deployed ato do the legwork for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie, his new club has utilised him in his favoured striking position.
“I forgot the match ball,” Welbeck said afterwards. “My last hat-trick was probably for Manchester United reserves. The manager has shown a lot of faith in me and I’m delighted to repay him tonight. He has given me a chance to play football up front, in my preferred position and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is happy.
“The third goal was probably the hardest because I was stretching for it. I’ve been in that position a few times, trying to chip the keeper. Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn’t. We’ve set the benchmark with this result and we have to build on it.”