Friday, March 1, 2024

Malen hits the ground running in bid to succeed at Arsenal

With some young players the immense amount of hype surrounding them can often be misplaced. As far as Donyell Malen is concerned, however, the sense of anticipation that greeted his arrival at Arsenal in the summer has hitherto been justified.

Plucked from the renowned Ajax academy in the summer, Malen is a fast, powerful and skilful striker who has been capped by the Netherlands at youth level. He wasn’t the standout prospect in his age group at Ajax, but he was still very highly regarded and the Dutch side were hugely reluctant to lose him to Arsenal.

The fact that Malen has trained with the Arsenal first-team squad on several occasions since his arrival is testament to the faith that the club have in his ability.

Malen has also been making significant strides on the pitch of late. At just 16 years of age he has broken into Arsenal’s U21 squad and he marked his first start at that level by scoring the winner against Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday with an audacious chip over the opposing goalkeeper.

The forward has also featured prominently for Arsenal in the UEFA Youth League this campaign and his potential is such that he has edged ahead of Stephy Mavididi, a player who is several months older than him, in the pecking order.

Malen will start tonight as Arsenal commence their FA Youth Cup campaign with a home game against West Bromwich Albion at Meadow Park.

The young Gunners haven’t triumphed in this competition since 2009, when Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin were in the squad.

Arsenal usually field their strongest available side for this competition, but, given the first-team’s injury problems, some players such as Jeff Reine-Adelaide may have to miss out if they are required to be on the bench for the senior side against Sunderland tomorrow.

The likes of Krystian Bielik, Ismael Bennacer and Chris Willock should all feature, however, although it will be most intriguing to see how Malen fares, with the striker seeking to continue his recent good form.

Not all of his performances at youth level this season have been outstanding, but it is clear from watching him that Malen possesses something special- the ability to change the course of a game in an instant with a moment of improvised genius.

This is only the beginning, of course and the youngster will have to wait until next season at the very earliest before he can start to be considered as an option for the first-team in cup competitions.

For now, however, Malen is developing very well indeed and the initial hype surrounding him hasn’t yet subsided.

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

 

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Pedant

Would be great to see a young player coming through at that age, he would be special if so, though strikers don’t usually mature until 24 and above.

Patience is needed though happy if it isn’t needed.

Goone's Farm

A comment true to your usual reasonable self. You should consider changing your username, doesn’t suit you.

Pedant

I change it all the time – Fatgooner, Tobin, Santori, Paul, Trez – just depends what mood I’m in. I go from being a total tool to totally reasonable.

Takes a lot of time and nervous energy, but keeps the variety up for everyone.

Kenyan Gooner

Fatgooner! I found your other self! I know you’re not gonna like this but hey…

Trez

Looks like i’m a celebrity down here…who would’ve thought??

Pedant

Sorry, I do talk to myself quite a lot as well.

Paul

Me too nice!

Pedant

Again! Sorry to everyone, I’ll try to stop.

Paul

so YOU are the other Paul!!! 🙂

Pedant

Actually no!

Bollocks, now asking myself questions and then answering. Getting too weird, need to have a lie down.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Anelka and Henry led Arsenal to win PL before 24. Hope Malen will do same.

Nick

Fantastic use of “hitherto” in the first paragraph. 10/10.

Con

Who was the standout prospect at Ajax out of interest? Malen looks a born striker, almost rarity these days.

Pedant

Sanogo.

Dutch

I think it is Abelhak Nouri, there is quite a hype around him at Ajax..

Dutch

Forgot to say, there were even rumours Arsenal and man u are interested in him.

Trez

Agreed.

assistantref

They won 4-0, with Malen getting the 3rd. The Jeff also started and scored, suggesting he’s unlikely to be used tomorrow.

assistantref

Er, 4-1 that is.

Roundy

I was at Brighton and his chip was quality and he has some decent pace to.

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