By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Danny Welbeck was omitted from the Arsenal team for Sunday’s Premier League clash at Sunderland – and their supporters were mystified.
Olivier Giroud was given the nod to start ahead of the England international and lead the attack for the second consecutive game.
Giroud started Thursday’s 2-0 win over West Brom and Emirates Stadium and keeps his place in an unchanged team for the match at the Stadium of Light as Arsenal attempt to move back into third position.
It is a decision that has perplexed supporters, given that Giroud has scored only two goals since January, both of which came in an FA Cup win against Championship side Hull in early March.
By contrast, Welbeck has settled smoothly back into the team following 10 months out with a knee injury, scoring four goals in 12 games.
Arsenal fans expressed their surprise on Twitter at the England man starting on the bench, where he is joined by fit-again Jack Wilshere, who is named in the squad for the first time this season.
Really, really, REALLY surprised that Danny Welbeck doesn’t start today. #afc
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) April 24, 2016
Amazed Wenger hasn’t made changes. Welbeck would have relished Kaboul.
— Tom Marshall-Bailey (@TomMarshall_B) April 24, 2016
Surprised Giroud starts ahead of Welbeck, our attack looked much more fluid with Welbeck up top. Good to see Wilshere in the squad though ?
— Aqeel Butt (@AqeelButt93) April 24, 2016
Benching an in-form Welbeck. Yep makes total sense.
— Heera Singh (@SinghmundFreud) April 24, 2016
Kind of expected an unchanged side. Typical of Arsene to be reluctant to change a winning side, would’ve liked Welbeck back in though
— Passenal (@Passenal1) April 24, 2016
the lampost over welbeck??? really? jesus christ i would think ozils looking forward to passing to a guy who aint scoring#beggars belief
— kevin wright (@masumba1) April 24, 2016
Disappointed Welbeck is not in the starting XI, Giroud was extremely poor midweek
— Matt (@itsmattray) April 24, 2016
How’s Welbeck not starting ?
— C.George (@CalGordon_) April 24, 2016
Once again no Gabriel or Welbeck. My disdain for Wenger grows daily. #FPL
— FPL_Fly (@FPL_Fly) April 24, 2016
In other Arsenal news, West Ham have reportedly been offered a Gunners midfielder ahead of the summer transfer window.