There wasn’t just one Arsenal side that enjoyed victory against Marseille yesterday, with Arsenal U19’s, albeit in vastly differing circumstances to the first-team, overcoming the French side’s academy in their first fixture of the new UEFA Youth League.
Arsenal ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in the end, and there were many positives to glean from the occasion for Steve Gatting and the rest of the coaching staff, not least the performance of Serge Gnabry, who shone in his role as an unorthodox striker. Gnabry scored twice, which along with strikes from Alex Iwobi and Jack Jebb, propelled Arsenal to victory despite the Gunners scoring a comical own goal when goalkeeper Deyan Iliev mis-kicked a back-pass into his own goal.
Gnabry was the star of the show, however, with the young German demonstrating his key attributes of pace, power and flair, with his second goal, and Arsenal’s third a case in point. Gnabry did superbly to control a long pass and flick the ball into the path of Jebb, who returned the ball to Gnabry, with the former Stuttgart player powering forward to score.
It was a sublime move which came less than a week after the same player had scored an equally memorable volley for the U21s against West Bromwich Albion at Emirates Stadium. For all the potential he has demonstrated in these two fixtures, however, Gnabry has yet to feature for the first-team so far this season, with the youngster currently not registered to play in the Champions League due to quota issues.
He should receive an opportunity to shine against West Brom in the Capital One Cup, though, and, at present, the 18 year old certainly seems a much better option than fellow winger Ryo for involvement with the first-team.
The victory over Marseille also saw impressive performances from Gnabry’s fellow goalscorers Iwobi and Jebb, with both players, who are now in their second full seasons at the Academy, demonstrating their considerable potential. Iwobi, who is usually deployed as a winger, has started the season in excellent form, whilst Jebb’s performance yesterday, operating as an advanced midfielder, was his most accomplished for quite some time.
There was further good news for Arsenal’s youngsters earlier in the week when it was confirmed that the club have signed 19 year old centre-back Semi Ajayi on a permanent basis following a successful trial. Ajayi, who rose through the ranks at Charlton Athletic, is an extremely good reader of the game and has joined on a two-year deal.
The games are now coming with some regularity for the youngsters, but, after a difficult summer, this week has been one of many positives for the Arsenal Academy.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird
Keep doing well son. Season is long, we will need you at some point.
Well that escalated quilckly!
Hmmmm, excelling in an unorthodox striker roll. 1st team needs striker back up…
I can feel a swelling Serge coming!
I can certainly feel a swelling coming on
Keep your head down and keep working, son. Breakthrough is only a couple of months away.
I’d like to see him play on the right. Besides for his goal last night, Walcott was poor. Walcott has improved but Serge is ready to compete.
The lad’s got it in him..
Anyone find some highlights of that game?
Can’t grasp why he was not signed up for Champions League. He’s surly more worthy of a spot than Ryo
He doesnt need to be as he is under 21 years of age… any player under the age of 21 can play in the CL.
He would make a great striker. Physically he will develop well. He’s great technically and could go to great heights. I hope he makes it! I’d much rather prefer him over Bendtner!
Guys, lets be reasonable here. Ryo showed that he can contribute at premier league level when he was at Bolton. He’s still regaining form after an injury. I like Gnabry too. We could have two great wide players for the near future.
Keep your head down and keep working, son”
Gnabry’s form is just as good as Ramsey’s at the moment
Love to see him play btw, gonna be one of the great Arsenal wingers of all time
Reassuring that we can field fairly strong team when we rest key players v WBA. Not sure who will pair with TV5 as BFG, Sagna and Kos need a break.Too early for our new CB. Is there any good young centre backs ready to make step up? Gnabry, Ryo and Chuba should all start and have sone first teamers on the bench as back up
Jenkinson TV5 Hayden Monreal
Gnabry Eisfeld Olsson Ryo
Probably see a team like that.
I hope you’ll see a little more experience in there than that. WBA is not, er, Bradford.
Zelalem might get to start. Another gold nugget we got for the future. Actually looking forward to this game.
Zelalem is probably still going to be out by the West Brom game. So hopefully the job will be done and there will be more games in the COC for him to shine.
I don’t think westbrom will play as youthful a squad. Maybe 3 first team players might balance the team out. Wishere, Sagna at CB and Theo on the right.
They are playing every game. They need a break.
Gnabry seems to be in great form at the moment. If we are a few clear or chasing a goal against the Orcs, would be nice to see him get a good 15 to 20 minutes.
Looks like Arteta could start.Perhaps team could be; Fab, Jenks, Monreal, Sagna, TV5, Arteta, Eisfield, Frimpong, Gnabry, Ryo and Theo given game as CF.Have some options like Girroud and Ozil on the bench and that should be fine.