Tag Archives: reiss nelson

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

The Arsenal youngsters who will break through in 2019/20

Only Fulham gave more minutes to teenagers this season than Arsenal.

This would be a surprise to some of Unai Emery’s critics who have moaned that he has not given youth enough of a chance this season.

The figures are misleading, however, as the majority of those minutes were played by a single play, Matteo Guendouzi.

The only other 3 teenagers to get game time this season played a grand total of 134 minutes between them.

Whilst Emery has not given academy graduates much game time in the league, there have been plenty of minutes handed out in the cups.

Against Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League, there were 9 academy graduates in the match day squad, many of whom were local lads.

Arsenal finished 2nd in the Premier League 2, following up from being champions last season. The U18 team topped the Southern Division, before losing the final to Derby.

The Arsenal Academy is certainly in good health, even if not too many got their chance this season. Against Burnley we saw Joe Willock get a start, and Eddie Nketiah come off the bench and score.

Here we analyise what to expect from some of the best and brightest youngsters next season.

Reiss Nelson – After an exciting start on loan at Hoffenheim, Reiss Nelson’s form dropped off after the Bundesliga winter break. Discipline problems led him to fall out of favour and he ended up spending most of the season coming off the bench.

Nelson is clearly a talented kid, and a few fans got a little too excited over his performances in Germany – even calling for him to return to Arsenal in January and be parachuted straight into the first team.

He is probably still some way from being a first team regular at Arsenal; remember he could not break into the Hoffenheim XI with just 5 starts.

His development will continue at Arsenal next season where he likely to play a similar role that he did at Hoffenheim. Cameo roles off the bench. As the season progresses, he will get more game time, especially if he put sin some solid performances in the League Cup.

Eddie Nketiah – With Danny Welbeck leaving, Nketiah will find himself as 3rd choice striker between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang & Alexandre Lacazette.

If Emery decides to play with a 2 up top, Nketiah will the sole striker on the bench.

He does not have much time to break in to the Arsenal first team squad as Tyreece John-Jules will be itching for game time.

The one to watch out for is Folarin Balogun. The 17-year-old striker scored 25 goals in 18 games in the U18 league and at some point, he will be pushing for the game time in the cups that Nketiah craves.

For next season, Nketiah will be 3rd choice striker with John-Jules likely to go on loan and Balogun to be promoted to the U23 team.

Emile Smith Rowe – Like Nelson, Smith Rowe has been on loan in Germany, joining RB Leipzig in January. Injury has restricted him to a couple of fleeting substitute appearances lasting barely a minute.

The feeling is that he is likely to remain at Leipzig next season.

He was injured prior to going to Germany, so the logical reason for him leaving Arsenal was to spend a few months acclimatizing to a new country and living on his own. Still just 18-years-old; a year playing in Germany will see him return for 2020/21 with real chances to break into the first team squad.

Joe Willock – A year ago Willock’s future at Arsenal looked bleak. He struggled to make an impact in his Europa League appearances and the feeling was that he would not make it.

This season he has kicked on and reinvented himself as a goal scoring central midfielder. He grabbed himself 3 senior goals in the cups.

Willock turns 20 in August so has missed the window for a season long loan deal. He will be promoted to the 1st team squad, where he will provide cover for all 3 positions behind the striker and give Emery a 5th central midfield option.

The feeling is he could be a contender to be Aaron Ramsey’s replacement in the long term.

Xavier Amaechi – Next in line after Reiss Nelson in Arsenal’s stable of young, fast wingers is Amaechi. The 18-year-old saw his progress restricted this season due to injury.

Due to the injury, he has lost about 6 months of development meaning he is probably not yet ready for first team football on loan. Expect him to be ripping up the U23 league next season.

Bukayo Saka – Amaechi’s loss was Saka’s gain as the talented youngster stepped up from the U18’s to the U23’s to replace his elder team mate. Performances at this level saw him get his chance in the first team, making 4 senior appearances in total.

Like with Nelson, some have gone a bit OTT with Saka, already calling him to make regular first team starts next season. One Tweeter went as far as to say that we did not need to sign a winger for next season such is his talent.

There is no doubt Saka is talented, but there is a huge step up from U18 & U23 to the senior side.

He is still just 17-years-old so it is important that we do not rush his development.

Saka has probably now jumped ahead of Amaechi in the pecking order and could well find himself as 5th choice winger next season (behind a new signing, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and Nelson).

His star could shine the brightest of the lot.

Keenos