Welbeck Shines as England Ease Past Switzerland
One of the fascinating thing about the international break is the paucity of news on affairs about the club as everyone’s eyes are fixed on a couple of national team games here and there. When you go to the official site and read articles of Joel Campbell being astonished by Santi Cazorla’s technique, then you’d know that there’s nothing really happening at North London.
Arsenal fans had some interest in England’s European Championship qualifying fixture against Switzerland and with Danny Sturridge out injured, everyone had the chance to watch Danny Welbeck spearhead England’s attack. The team that notched up a narrow win over Norway featured again with Fabian Delph getting the nod to play in midfield. Jack Wilshere was also part of the lineup with the Ox and Calum Chambers waiting for their chance in the dugout.
Delph was probably eager to impress with him getting the nod ahead of other experienced midfielders but he didn’t do himself any good when he received a booking for scything down Stephan Lichtsteiner when Leighton Baines was on the prowl to win the ball. After some neat passing play, Wayne Rooney had the chance to hit the ball on the volley but he chose to have an extra touch and he was robbed off the ball. However, he stung the goalie’s palms with a shot after receiving a rather awkward pass from Raheem Sterling.
Baines had his work cut out for him in a flank that had Lichtsteiner and the dangerous Xherdan Shaqiri but the Everton full back defended admirably. The fullback resumed his attacking duties with a lovely ball for Rooney but Shrek’s shot didn’t challenge the goalie. The attacking trio of Welbeck, Rooney and Sterling continued to terrorize the Swiss defense and England was almost rewarded when the Arsenal forward cut in from the right but his attempted pass to Sterling was poor to say the least.
England continued to pile up the pressure and it was Rooney yet again that had a chance to put his team up but his shot was well saved by Yann Sommer in the Swiss goal for a corner. Rooney swung in the corner that was headed goalwards by Phil Jones but Sommer was on hand to make a spectacular save. At half time, the game was relatively poised at 0-0 and one may have wondered how the deadlock was going to be broken.
At the start of the second half, Wilshere connected well with Delph before firing a low deflected effort that missed by a lick of paint. Switzerland managed to gain some confidence with some nice buildup play. Xhaka threaded a neat ball to Rodriguez whose drilled effort was launched into orbit by Lichtsteiner. Switzerland was on the ascendancy when Shaqiri sent a neat ball to Seferovic that wasted no time in drilling a goal-bound but Joe Hart was equal to that challenge.
Against the run of play, England finally broke the deadlock with a goal that must have taken the wind off Switzerland’s sails. Rooney won the ball in his half and launched a counter attack and with only Sterling and Welbeck to aim for, Shrek sent a lovely ball to Sterling’s path. The Liverpool winger, aware of Welbeck’s run, passed the ball to the Arsenal man and with no room for error, Welbeck latched onto the ball with his shin to put the Three Lions ahead.
It was a pleasant sight seeing Welbeck run up to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chambers to celebrate the goal. You can see how much effort this lad is trying to win the fans over. Yes, he played for Arsenal’s eternal rivals and grew through their ranks but he’s at Arsenal and he wants to do his best here. We as fans have to give him our support.
Switzerland tried to attack England and the introduced of Josip Drmic ruffled a few feathers. Drmic wasted no time in showing his impact with an inviting cross that begged for a finish. The Swiss battled hard to get an equalizer and Seferovic fired a lovely shot that went wide after controlling the ball superbly. The home side continued to probe the English defense and almost got an equalizer when Drmic managed to round Hart but his slided effort to an unguarded net was blocked by Gary Cahill.
England made their first change with the industrious James Milner replacing Wilshere. At least, no Jackie bones were broken this time. However, the Swiss continued to ask questions of England’s defense as Seferovic’s effort slammed the cross bar but the offside flag spared England’s blushes. Gokhan Inler also had an effort that went over the bar.
With Switzerland failing to make their pressure count, England showed that how things were done when Sterling fed Rickie Lambert who in turn teed up Welbeck. The Arsenal man attracted the keeper to himself before placing the ball past him to put the game beyond doubt.
This brace was Welbeck’s first set of goals in over a year for England, as his last goals for his nation (also a brace) came in the 4-0 thumping of Moldova in September 2013. Welbeck will be in full confidence ahead of his highly-anticipated debut for the Gunners against Manchester City and I’m sure many fans would have been very impressed with what they’ve seen so far.
Shine on Welbeck. Shine On.
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