Thursday, April 25, 2024

Afobe and Crowley make long-awaited returns from injury

Arsenal’s participation in the Capital One Cup may be over for another year, but today there was some positive news regarding the club’s youngsters as both Benik Afobe and Dan Crowley made their respective returns from injury.

Crowley, the hugely promising central midfielder signed from Aston Villa in the summer, had not featured since early September because of injury, but Afobe had been missing for a much longer period, with the England U21 international taking to the pitch for the first time since February, when his loan spell with Millwall was cut short because of a serious knee problem.

Afobe scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over a Nike Academy side in a friendly at London Colney today, but the 20 year old will be somewhat disappointed that his return has come just too late for him to be involved in the Capital One Cup. Indeed, Afobe’s prospects of making the grade at the Emirates Stadium have dwindled somewhat during his absence, following the signing of Yaya Sanogo and the impressive progression of Chuba Akpom.

Afobe, being the determined individual that he is, will not yet have given up hope of achieving his dream of carving out a career at Arsenal. His prolific goalscoring record for the youth teams, which included 40 goals in one campaign for the U16s, prompted discussions about his undoubted potential, whilst the club also reportedly turned down an offer for his services from Barcelona when he was just 17.

For all his promise, though, Afobe has yet to make a competitive appearance for the Arsenal first-team, owing mainly to loan spells and his succession of unfortunate injury problems. He has spent time with Huddersfield Town, Reading, Bolton Wanderers and Millwall, but, the higher the level he has played at, the more difficult he has found it to score with regularity.

So what next for Afobe? He is likely to continue to build up his fitness over the coming weeks, and should play some part in the U21 fixtures against Aston Villa and Manchester United at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park next month. He will also hope to train with the first-team on occasion before potentially heading out on loan again in January as he seeks to salvage his Arsenal career, fully aware that his current contract with the club expires at the end of the season.

Having risen all the way through the club’s Hale End Academy system, Afobe certainly won’t relinquish his opportunity without a fight. With Sanogo still unproven and Nicklas Bendtner and Ju-Young Park hardly favourable options as back-up strikers, he will be hoping to be afforded one slither of an opportunity to prove his worth before it’s too late.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird



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This is a big opportunity for Afobe. Show that you have the maturity to handle your body better, overcome lack of match fitness quickly and start performing at a high level will certainly guarantee him a position in the senior squad next year.

Fail and he will have to start a career at a lower level. Not the end of the world but will take longer. Judging from the article on his strength and persistence, I hope he makes it to Arsenal 1st team.


Lets give him a chance and see what becomes of it, hope he progresses though.


Akpom and Sanogo are ahead of him. He chances are bleak at the moment especially if Wenger signs a striker. And we have Joel Campbell doing well at olympiakos.


Joel Campbell could sit on it


Would love it if he made it, had such potential…

Tapscotts Testicles

Is it me..? Why can a lad like afobe not get a few last 15 or 20 minutes of some of our easier games instead of going on loan yet again….? 4 clubs on loan…as an England u21 I think its fair to say he has something coaches like…for gods sake, give the boy a go, he deserves to be given his chance. Or do we see another Andy Cole flourish and score hundreds of goals for a different club? He will learn more training with our seniors pro’s after having 4 loan spells and getting game time here than… Read more »


He’s just not very good, I think Akpom and Sanogo have more potential I’m sorry to say.

Harish P

Great potential, and it doesn’t hurt to have high potential strikers in the wings, but with a couple of already well doing young strikers, as well as his injury problems, reality might have to start kicking in. Not sure where he fits in as is, aside from (currently) being a reserve sub…


DCgooner…..are you STILL pissed off with him for getting that USA player sent off??
Let it go man.


Am I the only one thinking about this:
..when I read about Crowley ?

Well, that might be just me.


Against Liverpool, with the absence of Flamini, is it worth letting Verm play in a DM role?

We know that he is good on the ball and despite his inability to keep his eye on the man, Kos and Mert will be available in the position where it really matters.
In an almost Mascherano, Gattuso, Flamini-like way, Verm likes to ball watch. For the DM role that isn’t too bad an issue. This should allow Ramsey to do his best work in an AM position rather than playing next to Arteta.
What do we think?


Vermaelen never played as a DMF in his professional career, I don’t think. We may test that new role against a lesser opponent but against Liverpool it seems a bit too risky. I believe our starting XI against Liverpool will be our usual: Sczcesney–Gibbs–Kols–Mert–Sagna–Wilshere–Arteta–Ramsey–Ozil–Giroud–Cazorla, with Rosicky and Verm on the bench among others. I wouldn’t mind if Rosicky and Verm actually start either. If we want to take some chance, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to start Verm in place of Kos. Matches against Dortmund and Man United follow after the Liverpool fixture, so such a rotation starting… Read more »

the outside of rosicky's boot

I’ve too thought about Verm in the DM role but agree it’s a bit untested to do that against Liverpool. If we’re ahead however, we could bring him on in that role to try and shore things up a bit. I’d like to see a starting 11 of Sczcesney-Sagna-Kos-Mert-Gibbs-Arteta-Ramsey-Rosicky-Cazorla-Ozil-Giroud. With Rosicky/Ozil/Cazorla constantly switching from wings to CAM. I think Rosicky’s and Giroud’s high pressing could work with regards to stopping their defence making easier passes to their midfield (and thus consequentially making it harder for Suarez and Sturridge to get on the ball). Plus with their 3 at the back… Read more »


Monreal should play in midfield to provide extra defensive cover. TV5 is capable but too risky in Liverpool game.


Wenger should begin to create tactical options in the DM area.just like he did with song and lately will be benefictial to the team to have several utility players.

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