In Focus: Welbeck is still Dat Guy as Brighton make European bow
Danny Welbeck opened his account for the season in Brighton's 3-1 win away at Manchester United last Saturday.
The 32-year-old striker finished off a brilliant Seagulls move, firing the ball past Andre Onana after some great work from young winger Simon Adingra.
Welbeck has had to watch fellow striker Evan Ferguson get all the plaudits this term but he remains an important figure in Roberto De Zerbi's set-up.
Ahead of Brighton's first ever Europa League match against AEK Athens this evening, we shine the spotlight on one of their most underrated squad members.
Brighton boss De Zerbi was full of praise for Welbeck — known as Dat Guy Welbz — after his superb 64-minute showing at Old Trafford.
The Italian tactician claimed the versatile forward's display was like that of a "young player", despite the fact he is over 10 years older than both fellow scorer Joao Pedro and debutant Ansu Fati.
De Zerbi said: "I am not surprised. I know Welbeck very well and he is an incredible player.
"Now is one of the best moments in his time in Brighton, he is playing like a young player.
"I ask them to score but the qualities of Welbeck are many because he can play No9 like a striker but also No10.
"He understands the play, the timing, the right moment, he is a very smart player."
Six is the magic number
Welbeck joined Brighton from Watford in October 2020 on a free transfer, initially signing a one-year deal.
He bagged six goals in 25 Premier League appearances during the 2020-21 season which was enough to see him rewarded with a new contract.
The following campaign Welbeck added another six top-flight goals to his CV, including a late equaliser at Stamford Bridge.
Then on the opening weekend of 2022-23, the ex-Arsenal ace earned himself a two-year deal by assisting both goals in Brighton's 2-1 win at United.
Welbeck again finished with six Premier League strikes to his name as De Zerbi's side secured a place in Europe.
Dat Guy's confidence
While he might not be hitting double figures for goals, Welbeck's importance to the side is evident for all to see and his confidence has returned.
The striker made it clear after the victory over United how much of that is down to De Zerbi.
The 16-goal England international said: "Every single game we go into we are coming to get the three points.
"That's the mindset the gaffer instils in us right from the off. The confidence is there for the lads.
"We know if we get our game right there are not many teams that can try and match us."
With Ferguson's fitness a slight concern, Welbeck will likely resume his role as Brighton's focal point when they host AEK.
His ability to drop deep and work in tandem with the likes of Pedro and Pascal Gross could be the key to breaching the Greek side's defence.
AEK's league season has not got off to the best of starts, with just one win and two draws from their first three matches.
That presents Brighton and Welbeck with the perfect opportunity to get their Europa League campaign up and running in style.