Tag Archives: reiss nelson

Time running out for 3 Hale End products as Arsenal look to secure Europa League qualification

Morning all.

Today we face Molde in the Europa League.

Victory would see The Arsenal move to 12 points and guarantee qualification into the knock-out stages. If Rapid Wien fail to beat Dundalk, we will also secure top spot with 2 games to go.

The Europa League has not seen Mikel Arteta put out a vast number of youngsters that we have seen in previous years.

This is a nod to how much stronger our squad is that our 2nd XI now is, filled with senior internationals, and highlights how many of our top youngsters are no longer really considered youngsters.

We could put out a side containing Kieran Tierney, Gabriel, Bukayo Saka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli and it would not feel like we have fielded a side of kids, even though every single one is still eligible to play for the U23 side.

It is important to get the balance of progression right. We want to see the likes of Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez and Ben Cottrell get a run out, but we also need to ensure the 2nd string are match sharp.

A couple of the youngsters expected to play are now playing for their future at Arsenal.

Reiss Nelson has not really done it since breaking into the Arsenal first team squad in 2017.

He had a decent loan spell at 1899 Hoffenheim but has failed to kick on.

Some will say “he has not had the game time” but with Nicolas Pepe’s form since his arrival, he would have got his chance if he was showing enough on the training ground.

“But he has spent a lot of time injured” is another defence of the youngster, but that should fall on deaf ears.

There is no point have the talent of Lionel Messi if you have the injury record of Darren Anderton.

Your top players are not only talented but also fairly physically robust. How many small, niggling injuries he has had at such a young age is a worry.

He reminds me a lot of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That he might be talented but he will never remain fit enough to put together a run of half a dozen games to kick on.

Compare him to the kid a couple of years junior on the other side of the pitch.

Bukayo Saka has forced his way into the team due to his performances, and has stayed fit. He is now a regular for Arsenal and England, and is now levels ahead of Nelson.

Saka shows that if you are good enough, you get your chance. It might just be that Nelson is not good enough, and in the summer we should look to cash in, reinvest, and focus on the next rising star in the academy.

Likewise Eddie Nketiah is at a bit of a crossroads.

Nketiah is a goal poacher, but his problem is a modern striker needs to be able to do more – whether that be creating, holding the ball up or running the channels.

Eddie is 22 at the end of this year. With Gabriel Martinelli returning from injury and Balogun and Nikolaj Moller performing well at U23 level, time might be running out if he does not kick on to the next level.

Arsenal could sell Nketiah and Nelson in the summer, raising close to £40million as sides buy them based on their potential. This could be key funds to be reinvest in senior players, with the likes of Martinelli and Balogun stepping up to replace them.

Joe Willock is another one who might have peaked.

He has performed will in the Europa League in recent years but not taken that form into the Premier League. He is another the club might cash in on next summer, and start focusing on the likes of Azeez and Charlie Patino.

It would be a tough decision to let all 3 youngsters go, but if their developments has levelled out, then they should be moved on. Raising £50m+ in the sales of 3 academy products should be seen as a positive.

Arsenal would have additional funds to spend on superior players, and it frees the path for the next crop of youngsters to get their chance.

Hopefully all 3 put in top performances tonight, we win 6-0, Nketiah hat trick, 2 for Willock and one for Nelson.

Keenos

Stop pining for those that left – Support those that stayed

This morning Arsenal are linked with Donyell Malen following his fantastic start to the season in Holland.

The 20-year-old Dutch International has been in blistering form with 9 goals already this season in all competition. PSV Eidenhoven have reportedly put a £50m price tag on him following interest for Liverpool.

His bright start to the season and headline grabbing price tag has led to the usual over reaction from Arsenal fans.

“Why did we let him go?” They have cried. “Another mistake by Wenger” they moaned.

Malen left Arsenal back in 2017. Joining PSV for less than £1million.

The then 18-year-old engineered a move out of the club under the guidance of his agent – Mino Raiola.

Many Arsenal fans who saw him play were disappointed that he left, as he was clearly a talent. But they also understood the situation.

Here was a player who had come to Arsenal at 16-years-old from Ajax. Within 2 years of being at the club refused to sign a new contract and decided to move back to his native Holland to find 1st team football.

It actually took him a season to find that 1sr team football as he spent a year at Jong PSV – the reserve team of PSV Eidenhoven.

He was a talent within Arsenal’s youth team, but he was by no means the brightest star.

Capable of playing across the front 3, Malen was in direct competition with the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Stephy Mavididi.

Malen often found himself playing 2nd fiddle to those 3 players. Usually only playing within his age group when they moved up a group or were involved in the senior team.

Only Mavididi – who has since joined Juventus – was older than Malen.

Back in 2017, Malen was down the pecking order for the 1st team action he demanded.

2016/17 none of Nelson, Mavididi or Nketiah got any senior game time as Chris Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Chuba Akpom were the youngsters given the chances in the cup games.

So Arsenal had a talented young player; who was not more talented than players the same age. Whilst the club did not want him to leave; they also did not stand in his way.

Malen has had a good start to his season. 5 goals in 1 games against Vitesse. Scoring for his country. It has led to many saying Arsenal made a mistake with him.

But then remember he is playing in Holland. Take the top 2 or 3 out of the Dutch league and is what’s left much better than the Championship? Or even League 1?

Last season Nelson – who is younger than Malen remember – had a good season on loan in the Bundesliga. What would he have done if he was on loan in the Dutch league? 20+ goals?

And then we have Nketiah – who is younger than Malen remember. He is currently on loan to Leeds who are topping the Championship.

Nketiah is at 4 goals in 6 games in all competitions. What would behave achieved if he was in Holland?

Mason Mount spent a season in Holland. He scored 14 goals in 39 games.

The next season Chelsea decided to continue his development by sending him on loan to the Championship. They clearly saw England’s 2nd division as being more competitive than Holland’s top.

Mount scored 11 in 44 for Derby last season. Proof that the Championship is the tougher league.

So we shouldn’t be getting our knickers in a twist of Malen scoring 5 goals against Vitesse. For every Luis Suarez that comes out of the league, you get 2017/18 top scorer Alizera Jahanbakhsh who failed to score a league goal for Brighton in 2018/19.

Last season the joint top scorers in Holland were Luuk de Jong (0 goals in 12 games for Newcastle) and Dusan Tadic (ex-Southampton). Robin Van Persie and Klaas Jan Huntelaar were joint 6th top scorers with 16 goals each.

We should be supporting the likes of Nketiah and Nelson; rather than pining for Malen.

Both Nketiah and Nelson are home grown lads who want to be at the club. They want to pull on the red and white of Arsenal.

Instead of supporting these lads, I see fans criticising them.

Following the victory over Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday; Nelson came in for a lot of criticism. “Not good enough”, “Saka is better”, “Emery doesn’t fancy him”. Nelson didn’t even play!

Malen may well become a world beater. He also may well end up at someone like Norwich bouncing between the Premier League and Championship.

We as fans have a habit of criticising our own whilst looking envious at others.

The likes of Nelson and Nketiah, Saka, Willock and Smith Rowe should be getting the support they deserve.

I would rather us continue developing those that we have rather than demand the club sign a player who has already left us once.

Back the boys at the club.

Keenos

Nelson and Willock set to be dropped as Pepe in line for first start

Arsenal will look to continue their 1 game unbeaten run in the Premier League this weekend against Burnley.

Having beaten Newcastle 1-0 at St James’ Park, Unai Emery has a bit of a selection headache.

Does he stick with the players who defended well, but created little for the match against Burnley; or does he bring in some of the fit again senior pro’s, including a couple of new signings.

Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Matteo Guendouzi and Calum Chambers all performed well against Newcastle and probably do not deserve to be dropped. However Emery will know how important it is to play the best team available, even if it ruffles a few feathers.

David Luiz sat patiently on the bench against Newcastle following his deadline day arrival. He had a full pre-season with Chelsea and is ready to play. Will Emery pick Luiz over Chambers or Sokratis? My bet is Emery might just reward Sokratis and Chambers with a fine 1st display and keep the pair in defence.

With Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac all out for one reason or another, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nacho Monreal will be the full backs.

Moving to the middle of the park, the axis of Granit Xhaka and Guendouzi provided good cover for the defence. But at home against an average side, do we need to play 2 defensive midfielders? Could Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos come in for one? Giving the side a more creative option for deep.

And what for Lucas Torreira?

The Uruguayan midfielder played next to no part in pre-season (just 4 minutes against Barcelona) due to only returning to training on 1st August after the summers Copa America. Taking into account Xhaka and Guendouzi played a full part, I would not expect him to start against Burnley – he did not even get off the bench against Newcastle.

If Arsenal are winning comfortably, I expect Torreira to come off the bench and be given 20 minutes as he regains full match fitness.

That leaves Xhaka, Guendouzi and Ceballos fighting it out for the central midfield positions.

I actually think we might see all 3 start, with Ceballos replacing Joe Willock as creator in chief.

Willock had an OK game against Newcastle, but his performance is more remembered for a tackle than anything he created. He is a hard working talented footballer and I see his career actually being a little deeper than playing Number 10.

At home against Burnley we do not have to worry as much defensively, so it might be a better option to play the more attack minded Ceballos with Willock relegated to the bench.

On the wings, record signing Nicolas Pepe looked fairly sharp on Sunday despite only recently returning to training following playing in the African Cup of Nations and the stress of his big move.

Games like Liverpool away is why Pepe was bought. His pace and power key on the break. For that reason I expect him to start against Burnley on the right hand side, replacing Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Pepe to be substituted off on 60 minutes will be a bank bet if he starts.

The left wing is an interesting conundrum.

Nelson had a solid game against Burnley and you also have the aforementioned Mkhitaryan. Alexandre Lacazette is also available which gives Emery the option of playing Aubameyang wide left.

With one eye on that Liverpool game, I have a hunch that Emery might plumb for Lacazette up top and Aubameyang on the left. That will give 60 minutes to his 1st choice front 3 – Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe.

It might be harsh on Willock and Nelson, but football is not a business of compassion. We ned to play the best team we can. That means an exciting front 4 of Ceballos, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Expect Willock and Nelson to come off the bench (if we are not chasing the game) as well as Lucas Torreira.

It is exciting to actually have so many options.

Expected starting XI:

Leno

AMN Chambers Sokratis Monreal

Xhaka Guendouzi

Pepe Ceballos Aubameyang

Lacazette

Keenos