Why Danny Welbeck’s move to Arsenal was the best Deadline Day deal

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Arsenal sealed an eleventh hour $26 million deal for Manchester United and England forward Danny Welbeck, which could turn out to be the best Deadline Day of them all.

Welbeck, 23, is proven at the highest level, is eager to prove doubters wrong and may have found a club which is a perfect fit for him.

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[RELATED: Every Deadline Day deal]

Here are four reasons why Welbeck should thrive at Arsenal and prove to be one of the best buys in recent transfer windows.

Gunners fans, get excited.

Gets to play in his preferred role as striker

Much has been made of Welbeck’s poor goalscoring stats over the past few seasons and I can see what you mean. Just one PL goal scored in 2012-13 saw Welbeck criticized but he was a key player out wide, while last season he netted 10 goals in 36 games and 12 times in 2011-12. Most of those seasons Welbeck has played second fiddle to Wayne Rooney and then Robin van Persie, but now he’s getting the chance to be the main man up top for the Gunners. For England he has scored eight goals in 26 games, including a game-winner in a crucial Euro 2012 victory against Sweden and when he is allowed to play as the high man, balls played in behind for him to run onto suit his style perfectly. One thing’s for sure, Welbeck is a handful if he’s played in the correct role and let’s not forget, United weren’t too keen to let him go. The only reason they did so was because Radamel Falcao arrived on Deadline Day.

Fits in with Wenger’s policy of buying young

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Welbeck has excelled on the biggest stage in the past. Now he must kick things up a notch.

With the addition of Welbeck on a five-year deal, Arsene Wenger now has a core of England internationals at the Emirates Stadium. Just like he had with his famous team full of French internationals Emmanuel Petit, Nicholas Anelka, Patrick Vieira , Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord back in the day, Wenger is hoping a group of players fighting for success for both club and country will knit the unit together. Right now, Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers will all be key for England and Arsenal over the next four to five years. That bond they will develop could be crucial if Welbeck is to succeed, as he already knows and has played with a large chunk of his new teammates. That will be crucial as he settles in.

Speed, power, built for counter-attacks

We have already mentioned his pace, but the power Welbeck possesses is another huge attribute. I remember Welbeck terrorizing Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu two seasons ago and scoring a stunner. Last season, also in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, he tore Bayern Munich’s defense to shreds at Old Trafford and his direct style of play links in with the way Walcott and Alexis Sanchez attack. All three spring forward in an instance and have incredible acceleration. If the Gunners can spring counter-attacks successfully this season, not many defenses will catch Welbeck, Walcott and co.

Something to prove

You could say this for most players moved on during Deadline Day, but Welbeck has to kick his career after earlier promise for United and England has diminished over the past 12 months. He has all the attributes to thrive in the PL and you don’t rise through Manchester United’s academy if you don’t have the right mentality, that’s for sure. He has to remember that this is a chance to become the main man for Arsenal and to solidify his place for England. With Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge taking his place in the starting lineup for the Three Lions, now is the time he must stand up and make this fresh start count.

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

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The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia