Danny Welbeck continued his comeback from a serious knee injury by scoring a penalty as Arsenal's Under-23s comfortably defeated Chelsea 4-1 at London Colney on Friday (24 February). The 26-year-old former Manchester United forward played the full 90 minutes and scored his side's fourth from the spot on 72 minutes as Steve Gatting's starlets swept aside their city rivals.
Arsene Wenger was in attendance at Colney as he ran the rule over Welbeck, who has been incredibly unlucky with injuries over the last couple of seasons, and will be happy to see the powerful attacker come through a full match unscathed.
Many Arsenal supporters have called on Arsenal boss Wenger to field Welbeck in recent weeks, but the Frenchman has taken no risks with the England international's rehabilitation. Welbeck has suffered two serious knee injuries in the last two years and was not considered to feature in Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup fifth round victory over non-league Sutton United due to concerns over the potential risks that come with playing on an artificial 3G pitch.
Welbeck was not the only familiar face to turn out for Arsenal's youth squad against Chelsea: Carl Jenkinson, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Emiliano Martinez all got minutes under their belt. Defender Holding even scored the opener and helped set up Donyell Malen's strike to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead over Chelsea at half-time.
Reiss Nelson added a third to give Gatting's side real breathing space before Chelsea's Ike Ugbo pulled one back on 68 minutes, but any hope of a comeback was quashed four minutes later when Welbeck dispatched his spot kick past Jared Thompson.
Welbeck has a real opportunity to claw his way back to full fitness before Wenger's men travel to face Liverpool on 4th of March. The Gunners were due to play this weekend against Southampton, who Welbeck scored a brace against in the FA Cup last month, but Claude Puel's men are instead gearing up for their EFL Cup final clash against Manchester United at Wembley.