Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Akpom shines as Arsenal youngsters enjoy Asia trip

It may only have been against a Singapore Select XI, but, from an academy perspective, there was a rather nice moment during Arsenal’s opening pre-season fixture as Arsene Wenger’s side ended the game with eight players on the field who had previously represented the club at U18 level.

One of them, striker Chuba Akpom, was undoubtedly the star performer as Arsenal reached the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy with a comprehensive 4-0 victory. The England U20 international scored a hat-trick and, perhaps more importantly as far as his development is concerned, later received assurances from Wenger that he is likely to remain at Arsenal this season rather than heading out on loan again.

Akpom could have been forgiven for feeling a little frustrated at how last season concluded for him. After some impressive cameo appearances for Arsenal he was sent on loan to Nottingham Forest, but, as was the case during his previous stints with Brentford and Coventry City, he struggled to make a significant impact and returned to the Gunners still searching for his first competitive goal in senior football.

Getting his first official goal will surely be high on Akpom’s list of priorities for the forthcoming campaign, but, if he does stay at Arsenal, it will be interesting to see exactly how he is afforded game time. The striker, for all his undoubted potential, finds himself behind Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck in the pecking order at present, whilst Theo Walcott demonstrated towards the end of last season that he is also capable of playing in a central position.

One possible option could be for Akpom to be deployed on the left flank, a position in which he has featured occasionally at youth level. With Alexis Sanchez set to miss the start of the new campaign and Welbeck currently injured, perhaps Akpom may be used as a substitute on the left wing in some of the opening fixtures.

Once everybody is fit and available, though, it will inevitably be much more difficult for the youngster to assert himself on proceedings. His performance on Wednesday, however, will have done him no harm in terms of staking his claim for further involvement.

There was a notable moment for Alex Iwobi against the Singapore Select XI, too, as he made his first appearance for the senior side, having previously been an un-used substitute on two occasions. There were also run-outs for Dan Crowley (who made his debut), Gedion Zelalem, Chris Willock and Jon Toral, with the latter a late replacement in the squad for Frenchman Jeff Reine-Adelaide.

It has been an impressive start to pre-season for the youngsters, with Akpom undoubtedly leading the way so far, but tougher challenges lie in wait and, as is always the case at this time of year, the aim for the young players will be to remain with the senior squad for as long as possible in the build-up to the new campaign.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

 

 

 

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AntiSpud

I’m I the only one who thinks that this golden kit can only prelude greater glory? Looking at them wearing it makes me think about the team celebrating in Stamford Bridge having secured the title at the end of the season. AND IM NOT DELUDED I SWEAR

Tony g

Wasn’t it won at United that year?

AntiSpud

I said this year. You need to pay attention Tony

CB

We will have tied the league up by the 19th September (Chelsea away)?

Wow, we are good.

CB

Or will it be a special trip where we break into the Bridge to celebrate?

CB

Akpom staying means no new striker is bought (we would have 4 if we include him). We can’t ‘kill’ Akpom, as Arsene would say.

Scott P

The situation is malleable at this point. There may not be any planned striker signings, but if one of those top top class opportunities a la Ozil opens up, a new player may be bought and the plan to keep Akpom may change.

jomki

I think Akpom Will do very well given a chance. Will our long history of injuries and the amount of games expected this season. This guy will surely get his chance and shine.

die hard gooner

well we can forget about new signings. wenger was quoted as saying ” we don’t guarantee new signings”. so i am lowering my expectations. ideally we would bring another dm but if not i would try a midfield diamond with two upfront against weaker opposition wilshere at the base, ramsey and santi or ox flanking him and ozil in the hole. it is like england using wilshere at the base with two energetic mid fielders in delph and henderson but with two wingers and a lone forward and also juventus using pirlo at the base, marchisio and pogba flanking him… Read more »

goonerbynature

a midfield diamond? you’re a troll from RAWK aren’t you?

bims lay

I watched the entire match on an on-line stream and i must say i was quite impressed with the performance of all the youngsters on show. understandably, initially, they were a bit over eager to impress, but once they settled down, plenty of individual quality and talents on show, no doubt. Among the lot, Chuba got most of the accolades (rightfully so too, imo) because of his performance and of course, the hat trick. i was however also particularly impressed with Alex iwobi, his movement off and on the ball, play making and trickery on the ball that definitely reminds… Read more »

palace gunner

The seasons fixtures look a tough test who knows what other cup games i.e clge will follow sure the team will need xtra reserves, and pay attention if injuries arrive any way one little trophy in afc cabinet asia trophy coyg.

paul

This is what usually happens, he will stay and make some carling cup appearances, and not make any impact. Next season go for loan again and the season after that will take permanent tranfser away.

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