Prior to today, Reiss Nelson had played just over 5 games’ worth of Premier League minutes since Mikel Arteta became head coach of the Gunners in December 2019. And of those 472 minutes, 42% came inside the Spaniard’s first week in charge.
A star at academy level, it’s never quite clicked for the winger on the big stage. Injuries haven’t helped, signings have got in his way and after last season’s relatively successful loan at Feyenoord, it was largely assumed he’d depart permanently in the summer.
It’s funny how things work out. Had he not suffered an injury on the eve of the season, he may well be playing his football elsewhere – probably at a lower level – so tonight, having shot Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League, it’s little wonder he’s feeling a little “overwhelmed” with his man of the match performance against Nottingham Forest.
Sent on as a substitute for Bukayo Saka on 27 minutes, Nelson played well within himself in the first half but came to life after the break, bagging a couple of goals and an assist for Thomas Partey as the Gunners steamrolled the visitors on their way to a 5-0 victory.
Afterwards, Mikel Arteta lauded the 22-year-old’s attitude and said the entire dressing room was delighted for him. When he faced the cameras himself, Nelson couldn’t hide his pride at bagging a brace.
“Yeah it was amazing – like I was playing FIFA a bit you know,” he told Arsenal.com.
“Yeah the first one, I think the first one – Gabi saw me in the box and I knew I could get there, so I had to get there. I was going to take it first-time, and I kind of rolled it onto my left and hit it, and then I think the keeper saved – and I was gutted. Then it came back out and my eyes lit-up and I just hit it…and it when bang into the top corner. So I was really delighted.
“Then the second one, I was just busting my gut to get into the box, and I think I got there and of course I just placed it into the corner. But like I said, I’m just really happy, and just overwhelmed by the occasion.
He added: “I think it gives me all the confidence in the world you know. And yeah like I said I’m just going to keep training every day, like I can. Hard as I can, if I get another opportunity just to keep going, helping the team really – and just keep pushing on.”
The last time Nelson scored a Premier League goal for the first team was against Liverpool not long after the Reds had been crowned champions in the 2020/21 season. On that occasion there were no fans present due to Covid restrictions. This time, the Emirates was packed.
On the difference, he said: “Just the sound effects…I’ve been waiting patiently you know. I’ve been on loan, and sometimes you feel like it’s not going to come you know. But of course, I believe in God, and I believe in myself, and I believe in the team. So I’ve just been patient and ready for that. Ready for the opportunity to come.”
A great day for Reiss, who will be hoping he now gets to start against FC Zurich on Thursday night. Who knows, if Saka’s injury is worse than expected, he may even be required a few more times before football pauses for the World Cup in mid-November.
Keep them coming
Sound effects? That’s real people cheering YOU on Reiss! Get used to it.
LOL… He said it’s a bit like playing FIFA.
You can tell he’s been selecting and playing himself 😁
Really happy for him, hope it can continue
2022 Premier League stats:
Goals per appearance:
Erling Haaland: 1.55
Reiss Nelson: 2.00
Reiss also leads Haaland in goals per minute and assists per minute.
At this rate Nelson could get in ahead of Sterling in the England setup
The England XI that Southgate should pick;
Ramsdale, Norton-Cuffy, White, Holding, Walters, Saka, Patino, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Nketiah, Balogun.
Watched Chelsea for the 1st time this season yesterday. I couldn’t believe how poorly sterling played.
He was not only poor yesterday, he has been for better part this season! It will be a miracle if he makes the world cup squad
So happy for Reiss! Continue to play well and who knows, he might bag a contract somewhere.
He does only have eight months left on his contract.
When he came on I was adamant he would score 1 goal…….he proved me wrong
Good on him.
Had my doubts when he came on….glad to be proved wrong ❤️
Well done Nelson. Now that you have an assist and some goals don’t mind making a mistake as it’s all part of wing play. Take on the full backs, you really have the ability to go past them. If it fails, track back and try again next move. Would be great if he steps up and signs a new deal to go with it
Hope it works out for the guy, i really liked this crop of graduates. It didnt work out with Niles and Willock. But Hopefully Reiss can really stamp his place in the squad at least.
I can’t agree. WIllock and Niles both won a trophy and played in a European final for Arsenal. AMN got an England cap and Willock got a £25m move to start at a side that will push for Europe this season. That’s an incredible success for both, and I would love to have a photo of either in Hale End the way there have been of Saka and Wilshere in the past.
Lost count of the number of times I’ve used this guy on various Fifa games to try to guide him to a successful career. Good luck, Reiss, I’d love to see him make it for us!
The boy need to trust him self that’s all he need and nothing else and if he does that than we Arsenal got another bukayo or martineli for sure
Kudos to the manager for not using him on dodgy turfs!
I wonder what happened during that half time team talk
Sounds like he is a player who thrives on instinct and confidence. Once he allows himself to play freely I think we shall see some really explosive goals and assists from him. How he describes the second goal is really satisfying, I think the work rate that Mikel wanted from Joe Willock which led to that goal glut later in the season is in evidence here. Finally he is maturing and still utilising his instincts. I think Mikel is combining the Wenger intuitive football with Peps structured positional play really well. I’d love to see Reiss benefit from that, as… Read more »