On Sunday Arsenal will be tasked with attempting to stop one of their own from inflicting damage upon them, as Bournemouth’s Benik Afobe seeks to prove that the decision to allow him to leave the Gunners was an ill advised one.
Afobe, who has hit the ground running since working his way back up to the Premier League, is perhaps the most prominent example of Arsenal’s ability to produce impressive strikers.
The club haven’t yet produced a forward capable of leading the line for Arsenal since the academy’s reformation, but there is evidence to suggest that matters are moving in the right direction in that regard.
Almost every season there is a talented young forward who makes the sizeable leap from schoolboy football to the U18 squad. Zak Ansah may not quite have fulfilled the immense potential he demonstrated when he was emerging through the ranks at Arsenal, but he still seems set to carve out a career for himself in the lower leagues.
With regards to Arsenal’s current young forwards, Chuba Akpom hit the headlines by scoring a hat-trick for his loan side Hull City against Bury in the FA Cup last week, with the England youth international eager to prove that he is capable of making the grade with his parent club.
There is much work for Akpom to do in order to achieve that aim, but he certainly possesses much raw talent.
Meanwhile, another prodigious striker, Stephy Mavididi, is continuing to score with regularity for Arsenal at U21 level. Mavididi has hit eight goals in 13 appearances for the second string this campaign and at present is fending off competition from the highly regarded Donyell Malen to hold down a place in the starting line-up.
A little further down the ladder Edward Nketiah has hit double figures in terms of goals for Arsenal U18s this season, with the forward impressing with his quick movement and nimble footwork.
The production line is continuing, but it remains to be seen whether any of Arsenal’s homegrown forwards will be able to succeed in the long term at the club, but it can at least be said that attackers are being produced who are capable of thriving at youth level. Afobe, meanwhile, has demonstrated that it is still possible to thrive even after leaving Arsenal.
That certainly isn’t the case with regards to defenders, with many of the centre-backs that emerge from the club’s Hale End system often lack positional nous and struggle to get much further than the U21 team.
Steps are being taken to improve the quality of players coming through the club’s academy, but at the moment it seems as if it is attacking talents, as opposed to defenders, that are the order of the day.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird
Good luck to the lad, must be tough to be released by your club when where’s wally keeps hitting the corner flag.
Wally has been playing for Arsenal the whole time?
I guess the red and white kit is a good disguise. I’ll look out for him on Sunday.
“The club haven’t yet produced a forward capable of leading the line for Arsenal since the academy’s reformation.”
I think you’re overlooking academy product Nicklas Bendtner who is undoubtedly The Greatest Striker That Ever Lived.
Would have upvoted, but saw that it was at 52.
love to see him play against us and if he wants to score let him score but my mind is set on picking the three points
Unfortunately we sold Afobe and kept Sanogo.
I was disappointed at the time & even more so now. Sanogoals has shown himself to be a rubbish footballer who if I’m not mistaken has scored fewer goals in the last year than Afobe has in the last few weeks.
I guess you can’t always get it right…I am as eager as anyone to see an Arsenal striker rise through the youth setup and start banging goals for the first team, hopefully that will be Akpom (althought I have my doubts).
Shame no one is learning the art of defending!!! Lacking positional nous my arsenal!!!! I would expect positional nous to be the least one would expect from a defender – I look at some stats given in this site as evidence of great footballing quality and, personally, can help but think “is that all they did!!!!” What happened to putting in a decent shift eh?
Afobe has scored bag full of goals wherever he went on loan prior to his move to Wolves. I think his sale was a mistake. He could have been given a chance to the top level before moving him on. Everyone deserves a chance specially a player who guarantees goals.
Prior to his move to Wolves? I think you’ll find he struggled to score consistently at every club he was at before MK Dons which probably didn’t help him. It’s shame he never got a proper chance with us but don’t be fooled into thinking there wasn’t a reason why he was let go.
While I would hope excelling at Bournemouth isn’t considered the same as excelling at Arsenal, he seems to produce goals. Not sure he’d usurp the HFB, but it’d be an interesting dual. Obviously our lack of goals recently is concerning, however not sure his lad would turn it around. I was disappointed when we let him go, but I don’t think a few goals in his first few games at the new club should signify that he’s a revelation of sorts. And last but not least, fuck off to him tomorrow COYG
Second guessing is easy
Not a lot of people are second guessing, I’m not taking any credit I never knew how good Afobe was back then. However, Afobe was always very highly rated by people that knew him. Him doing his ACLs is much better than a regularly injury prone Sanogo. Lets see where Yaya ends up? He has time ahead of him, but he needs to play in English lower leagues and prove himself first.
Look at Afobe’s Arsenal and England youth record, it is sensational, a goal a game.
so was sanogo at youth level, he bag shit lot of goal in french league 2 , the injuries stop his developpement, if Afobe would have been kept he wouldnt have played as much it was better for both party…and its not like we dont have the money to buy him back if he is actually turn up great
Afobe has as many PL goals as Theo this season.
And yet Theo has been given 10 years to prove himself whereas Afobe didn’t even get 10 minutes.
And will be on a significantly lower wage…
Apples and oranges my friend.
Afove is a striker, And Theo has played quite a lot as a striker this season, if not at least in a free-roaming forward role.
I know it’s an easy excuse but Walcott got injured and it’s always hard to get going after. Afobe’s goals were mostly rather easy ones, some of them due to blatant mistakes. Walcott’s goals have been hugely valuable, especially the one against city. But most of all Walcott was not trained to be a striker, he has to reinvent himself. None of those are reasons why he is under performing so unacceptably and he needs to pick himself up. Comparing the two player’s goal tallies is only scratching the surface. (All of this is my opinion and I respect everyone… Read more »
Fair of your opinion.
I of course, disagree.
You say Theo was not trained to be a striker. Are you including the 7-8 key footballing years at Southampton Academy where he solely trained as a striker? The position he’s been calling out for?
You say Afobe only scored easy goals. But Theo has fluffed A LOT of easy one on ones.
Fact is, for all the hype of Theo, he only has ever had 2 purple patches in his professional career (all during contract time).
At the time I thought Zak was the Ansah
Ya Ya, hw could still be.
BTW, the photo above was taken at a shoe store?
Will be a better player than Walcott by all indications. How much is Theo getting paid again? But don’t worry guys, ‘Arsene knows’.
Pains me sooo much that he isn’t in arsenal anymore. Especially when wenger persisted on giving sanogo chance after chance. Afobe barely got one.
Ahhhh, really frustrating.
Sanogo, Bendtner, or even Walcott…. Keep getting chances
That’s the biggest gripe. People can claim “hindsight” all they want, but the simple truth is that some players unfairly get more of a chance than others. This shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us, afterall, it probably happens in your work place right now as we speak. Some players get preselected to be given a chance due to their talents, whilst others have to fight for their chance or pray for luck (ala Coquelin and Campbell). It may not mean they get the chance or that they will become world class, but at least a fair and equal… Read more »
Sometimes coaches are bound to be unfair to some players. Ferguson stated, you do not stop the progress of a young player who emerged. What does that mean ? That coaches are not willing to let an older player secure the position for himself. For instance, Debuchy made it very easy for Wenger but for nothing, Wenger would want Debuchy to freeze Bellerin out of the starting XI. If Guardiola prefers a player in his satrting XI, he doesn’t even speak to the other guy competing fot the position anymore. He did that even to Ibra, to Yaya Toure, to… Read more »
15 years at arsenal and he was let go. You’d think that Wenger knows something about talent spotting and nurturing young players.
Let’s all pretend like we managed in EPL before and second guess the manager.
Although I agree with you let’s not pretend Arsene Wenger is immune to mistakes. His track record of spotting talents is sensational but no one is impervious to a lapse in judgement. We can always buy him back if he starts banging them in in the PL. I think I read something about a buy-back option but I can’t guarantee.
Let’s smash them on Sunday and put this ex-player bullshit down! COYG!
I sincerely hope we do have a buy back option
He was sold, Arsenal didn’t let him go.
I remember quite a few remonstrated on here when Arsene chose Sanogo over him. I think the main concern was that we’d all heard for years what a revelation he was in the youth set up yet we’d not had a chance to see him for ourselves. In arsenes defence, Sanogo had similar ridiculous scoring ratios at youth level and thought he had a younger model with more potential. Also Chuba Akpom was rated as better technically and I’m sure was expected to push on more than he has. Maybe he’ll have to drop a league to stake his claim… Read more »
Walcott will always block the path,why? He can’t stay fit for evaluations. Giroud is a proper second choice striker for the team who can’t create a moment of magic…lack of a decent striker is costing us the league it is pitiful
Yeah, that game where Giroud got us qualified for the round of 16 in CL wasn’t a moment of magic. Plus, who provide the goals at the beginning of season to make us title contenders? He doesn’t have a big name like Falcao, Torres, Pato I suppose.
Happy for the lad- hope everything career wise works out for him.
As people on here have said everyone makes mistakes and if he does well, well that’s great for him on a personal and career level.
I do think we needed a striker last summer, Welbz was injured and that left just Giroud and Walcott, as Sanchez is best at cutting in from the left. Walcott just doesn’t cut the mustard as a striker.