Tag Archives: reiss

The Future’s Bright, the Future’s Youth

We seem to have a pretty settled and well stocked squad this season.

Depth in every position, competition to drive our players forward and avoid resting on any laurels, our team appears to have the necessary resources to last through a rigorous season, even if injury bites.

What about the near future though?

It would appear we have that covered too, thanks to our promising youth starlets pushing through the Academy.

In Eddie Nketiah, Ainslie Maitland-Niles, Emile Smith-Rowe and Alex Iwobi, we have players ready to be the next spine of our side. It doesn’t stop there either.

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We have Gedion Zelalem now back from serious injury, and with previous loan spells giving him the experience he needs to push on further, it could be that Zelalem pushes out from the shadows and thrusts himself back in the limelight once again.

We have Ben Sheaf and Josh DaSilva, players who our backroom staff and those who have seen them have been raving about.

We also have Chris Willock, the midfielder who has impressed Emery enough to remain part of first team plans. Willock may not have many minutes under his belt, but the fact he has remained in the squad and hasn’t been sold or loaned points to a talented player who has kept himself in full view of the manager.

Let’s not forget about Reiss Nelson as well.

Compare this to our rivals for honours.

tottenham have the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters who seems promising enough, and Harry Winks is earning international recognition, but the best of the rest of their youth system is nowhere to be found.

At City, Phil Foden aside, there are no kids pushing through whatsoever.

United, before Mourinho anyway, were a conveyor belt for talent, and they also had a slim chance of making it into the team. Now, aside from McTominay, they have the likes of Tuanzebe who are being sent on loan as they have no hope of making an impression on the first team.

Chelsea have no representatives from their youth pool, and their recruitment policy may have calmed down, but their large amount of kids sent out on loan to the purgatory that is Vitesse Arnhem speaks volumes about what is required to be a first teamer at the Bridge.

We have not only increased the amount of our youth products coming through, but we have increased the quality.

Just look at Maitland-Niles last year. In amongst international class but a poor team, Maitland-Niles adapted in his full-back role, used his defensive nous to forge himself a slot in the squad, and impressed both Wenger and Emery enough to consider him in his preferred capacity and a s a certified first team player.

Emile Smith-Rowe made his splash in pre-season, and swayed Emery so much that he never left the first team fold. The teenager is making sporadic appearances, and is well on course to achieve great things with Arsenal. He has now got off the mark in terms of goals too.

Nketiah made a big splash last season by rescuing us with a superb brace in our league cup win over Norwich, and despite struggling to get into the team, has impressed when on the pitch, and is constantly in the squad and on the bench to be called upon.

When injuries bite and inevitable departures occur, these players will form the backbone of Arsenal – if all goes well, injury and mentality permitting.

Alex Iwobi is the target the kids have to aim for, and the Nigeria player is coming on leaps and bounds this season. He hauled himself up through the youth system, and now stands shoulder to shoulder with the Ozil’s and the Aubameyang’s in the team.

When players depart, we have the ideal fillers, and they will be one of our own.

Nelson’s Brave Loan Move

A few months ago, I penned a blog looking at the future of starlet Reiss Nelson.

It was on the back of his breakthrough season at Arsenal. He had impressed in pre-season, and his displays for the Under-23’s the campaign prior were filled with rave reviews and tongues wagging about this precocious talent.

He was rewarded with a prominent place amongst the Europa League squad, where he looked every inch a first teamer. While his trickery was dialled down a smidgin, his effectiveness and work rate were just as impressive.

It left Nelson at a crossroads in his fledgling career, and with his contract entering its final year, I surmised his options and where each path could take him.

Enter Unai Emery, and the Spaniard has picked up where Wenger left off, in terms of leaving the door open to our Academy graduates. Jo Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Emile Smith-Rowe  and Nelson have all been included in first-team affairs and while first team opportunities have been hard to come by in our first games this season, the arduous nature of the season hasn’t reared its ugly head yet and that is where these kids can feature.

Nelson has obviously seen enough to know that his immediate future lies with Arsenal, as he has been persuaded to ignore the inevitable approaches, and sign on the dotted line for the foreseeable.

Reiss-Nelson-contract-2018

His new deal will see Nelson ply his trade in the Bundesliga this season, as the winger will play for Hoffenheim for the campaign.

This move is an incredibly brave one for the youngster.

There would have been opportunities to remain in England, at the cutting edge of the game still, and up his minutes on the pitch.

Instead, he has gone to an exciting foreign side, managed by one of the hottest coaching properties in the game.

Julian Nagelsmann is an incredibly young manager, but what he has done for Hoffenheim in a short space of time has placed him on the radar for all the European giants.

Most importantly for Nelson though, is that Nagelsmann has a firm grasp on modern, tactical football. It will enable Nelson to adapt and come back into the Emery fold with more tools in his armoury.

Nelson has gone to Germany where communication for even the simplest things will be difficult. It is the better opportunity for his career though, and a great barometer to gauge where he needs to be for his Arsenal future.

Nagelsmann has already commented on Nelson before he signed, saying “If it all works out, we’ll have a great player with pace who can do a lot with the ball.”

Nelson could well follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho, who moved permanently to Dortmund and has since seen his stock rise immeasurably. While Nelson has committed his future to Arsenal, a move to the Bundesliga can pay off handsomely. The tactics and the level are high, and Nelson, if he gets enough starts, could come back a far more polished diamond than we had before.

So we will all keep a close eye on events in Hoffenheim. To watch a player we all know has the skill, but if he can make it at a tender age in a foreign land, then his mental fortitude and hunger will be exactly where it needs to be too.

Minutes into his first outing, Reiss scored and made an instant impact.

Good luck Reiss, we are all rooting for you.

Reiss Nelson Has A Decision To Make

As a youngster breaking through into a Premier League first team squad, the odds are stacked.

Reiss Nelson is amongst a few Gunners kids who’ve made the transition from successful Under-23 prodigy to useful squad member for the first team – but now Nelson has a decision to make, with his current contract entering its final throes.

And it’s one that will decide how his career pans out – the skeletal remains of previous blossoming talents serve as the most potent reminders.

Reiss Nelson has seen plenty of action in the Europa League so far, and has made his bow in the Premier League and domestic cup competitions this season. His exciting displays and swashbuckling style have drawn admiration from fans, who mostly believe him to have a glittering future ahead of him.

Will it be in an Arsenal shirt though?

If he continues his current trajectory, then he will become an increasingly relevant player in our side. It’s a big if, but on what we’ve seen, he definitely has a place in first team plans in years to come.

With youth comes impatience however, and there are some glaring pieces of evidence that the grass may well be greener elsewhere – in the form of Marcus McGuane and Chris Willock.

McGuane became the first Englishman to play for Barcelona’s first team in recent years, with his substitute appearance in the Catalan’s Supercopa de Catalunya final. McGuane actually made his first team debut for Arsenal ironically as a sub for Reiss Nelson in our 4-2 win over BATE Borisov, but McGuane was drawn to the potential of a big move, and is doing well for Barca’s B side.

Then there is Chris Willock, brother of our midfielder Jo. The gifted winger opted for Benfica rather than bide his time at Arsenal. His first season in Portugal has been strictly for Benfica’s B side, and options to move back to England on loan were turned down.

Could the lure of early stardom bring about an end to Nelson’s tenure at Arsenal?

So many kids have come and gone through the revolving door at our club, but not many have had the talent that Reiss does. His star is a rising one, but a move to a club that stunts his development with a lack of playing time would shrink hsi potential, setting a well-worn path that many youngsters tread – that of a journeyman swilling around the lower reaches of professional football.

Nelson also needs to have assurances from our club that his first team chances are as healthy as ever, and he will get windows of opportunity. He also needs to play more than he did this season.

So, Nelson is at a crossroads. He can look at Ainslie Maitland-Niles, Alex Iwobi and Jack Wilshere to see what could happen for his career, should he continue to knuckle down and concentrate on his football.

Or he could opt for sunnier climes, but with a far steeper incline for success. The light at the end of the tunnel may well be brighter, but in the dark it’s hard to tell whether the tunnel is longer or not.

Reiss Nelson has a decision to make.

What would you do?

Arsenal Vs FC Koln – Europa League Preview

Our first step into the Europa League feels a little like the League Cup, but with a little extra spice.

Every year, the Coca-Cola/Rumbelows/Milk/Carling/Carabao Cup represents the opportunity for fans to see the next generation of our team, at a reasonable price for once.


For many seasons we have seen some incredible things performed by kids who dream of making it onto the biggest level, and us dipping our toes into europe’s second-tier competition means another chance for these kids to shine a little brighter.









The first game in our group stage sees us welcome FC Koln to The Emirates. The German club had a great season last year, but this year sees the Cologne team struggling badly. After three games, they currently sit bottom of the Bundesliga, with no points and just one goal scored.


Former fan favourite Lukas Podolski hails from the club, and the tattoo he sports of the Koln club crest shows his allegiance. The man with the hammer for a shot brings back happy memories for most, but he will not be torn in this match as a fan.


Does their poor form mean we can take the foot off the gas a little? We all know what our team plays like when we do that. For Arsenal, there is no middle ground. We either play awfully or we play teams off the park, so we must go into this game intent on three points. The Europa League may not be our desired level of competition, but we should be looking to win it, especially after years of pain in Europe.


We also have the chance to blood our kids more than in previous years. Usually, when we get dumped out of the League Cup it means our kids must bide their time until next season, but this group stage and the fixture congestion that comes with it means that our kids may well have to come of age if we are to progress and also keep our Premier League aims firmly in focus.


Reiss Nelson and Jack Wilshere are two names that should go straight into the lineup, but for varying reasons.


For Nelson, the youngster has been banging on the door for selection ever since our summer friendly games, and he has begun this term in the Under-23’s in blistering form – winning the August Player of the Month award. His trickery, ball control and eye for goal means he must be given a shot in the Europa League to gauge whether this is either where he belongs or if he needs more nurturing.


Jack is a conundrum. He hardly set the world alight after opting to join Bournemouth on loan last season, and since returning from the Vitality stadium inevitably injured, he has been fighting to get fit again. Now only match sharpness is needed, and what better way to attain this than the Europa League? Plus, our central midfield is hardly setting the world alight right now – a fit and firing Wilshere could make a huge difference to our team. This is a huge gamble though. For now, let us just see if he can stay fit for a few weeks.


The team should have a sprinkling of youth mingled with fringe players who have seen precious little gametime this season. Eddie Nketiah, Jo Willock and Ainslie Maitland-Niles can expect some minutes, as well as Calum Chambers, Theo Walcott, David Ospina and Alex Iwobi.


What of Alexis though?


The Chilean has recovered from his abdominal injury, but now seeks the last 5% he needs to be fully firing. Alexis may well play in this game, and instead of being swapped out for the following game at Chelsea on Sunday like the rest of the team probably will, Sanchez could stay in the team. It makes sense to get him flying as quickly as possible, and then play him as much as possible with an exit looking nailed on. Let us make the most of him whilst he is here.


FC Koln will be looking to play it tight and sneak away with a point most likely, especially with their season being worse than ours right now. No form means they need something, anything, to latch onto. They have some good players and last season showed they merit inclusion in Europe, but we must hurt them as they lay prone on the floor. We cannot afford to give anyone a second of recovery, we simply aren’t playing well enough.


Hopefully the players Arsene Wenger picks will go hell for leather to prove they are worthy of more minutes. that is the benefit of a packed squad, and this game is the stage in which they can show what they are made of.


So, for the first time, Thursday will see the The Emirates lit up for the Europa League. Let us all hope we have a fairly decent crowd and that our players put in a performance which is worthy of the badge.


Predicted Lineup – Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Chambers, Debuchy, Wilshere, Elneny, Nelson, Iwobi, Walcott, Alexis


Predicted Scoreline – Fingers crossed, 3-0 to The Arsenal.

Arsenal 5-2 Benfica – The 2017 Emirates Cup

Posted on The Arsenal Review

Arsenal laid on the goals in the first day of the Emirates Cup, with Portuguese champions Benfica hit for five.


The last time Benfica played in this warm-up competition, Yaya Sanogo blitzed them with four goals as Arsenal ran out 5-1 winners. This was a similar story – but without the inspired underdog story of the now departed French striker.


This pre-season tournament is the next step on the way to being fully prepared for the coming season, and the tempo this game was played in suggested Arsene Wenger made sure his troops were fully aware of the need to put their all into this performance. 


The opponents too, played in a gear not familiar with a friendly match, and although they were not victorious, Rui Vitoria will be pleased they managed such a vigorous exercise.


This game saw the debut of our new, blue, away kit. Not to everyone’s taste, at least it was clearly visible on the pristine Emirates pitch. Arsene Wenger went for an experimental lineup – if he cannot do it in a friendly game, then when can he? – but it was not to hold the Gunners back.


David Ospina took the gloves, and again the 3-5-2 formation was implemented. Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker and Sead Kolasinac were the men who formed the backline, and in the all-important wing-back spots were two of our youngsters – Ainslie Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson.


Midfield was comprised of Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka, with Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi just behind lone striker Olivier Giroud.


The equilibrium may not have quite set on the team, but at times, the click that all managers seek was on display. Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott were always on the front foot and took the game to Benfica defenders Luisao and Eliseu, but it was another who took the plaudits.












Young Reiss Nelson grabbed everyone’s attention on the pre-season tour in Asia, with his no fear approach which cut out chances and he really made things happen. This match though, was like a personal highlights reel for the 17 year old. Full of industry, Nelson never wasted a ball, and his close control at times overshadowed his more experienced and illustrious teammates.


However, it was Benfica who took the lead.


The Portuguese champions had made the early running, and Cervi took a shot which deflected off of Mertesacker. The ball diverted in direction enough to deceive Ospina, and the home side were a goal down.


Only for 13 minutes though.


Sead Kolasinac was making his Emirates bow, and he did enough to show home fans that he will have a positive impact. It was down to the Bosnian defender that Arsenal grabbed the equaliser, not giving up on a lost cause, keeping the ball in play and crossing for Theo Walcott, who volleyed into the net from inside the box.


Eight minutes later, the Gunners had the lead. It was Kolasinac again who was involved, this time he linked up well with Coquelin, who squared for an ominously lurking Walcott to finish easily.


The first half still had legs though, and a defensive lapse saw Benfica pull the score back to 2-2.


Xhaka and Elneny – a first half replacement for the injured Coquelin – were nowhere to be seen as the away team launched an attack. It was left to Mertesacker to show initiative. The German’s last-ditch tackle nearly worked, but the ball fell kindly for Salvio, and another deflection put paid to Ospina’s attempt to save.


The second half was a much more complete display from Arsenal. We held off Benfica’s intermittent attacks with relative ease, and it was only eight minutes until we regained the lead.


It was Theo Walcott again, his cross-cum-shot was put into his own net by Lisandro Lopez, and it was the least we deserved. Theo could have clinched his hat-trick seconds later, but after Giroud laid off the ball well, Walcott could only smack the ball well over.


















Soon enough, it was four for Arsenal. This was all Reiss Nelson. The youngster flicked the ball to make room for a effervescent cross which Giroud diverted past the Benfica goalkeeper Julio Cesar with an outstretched boot.


Then it was five. Giroud used his body well to make room for Iwobi who absolutely pummelled the ball into the net.


Game over, and then, the raft of subs came which took the speed out of the match.


The Ox came on for the impressive Nelson, Lacazette replaced Walcott, Nacho swapped with Maitland-Niles, Mesut Ozil was on for Alex Iwobi and Ramsey took to the field for Granit Xhaka.


Arsenal saw out the game comfortably, and they can look back on a display which shows they are slowly improving their sharpness and pace. Not only that, but the fans were given a great show to whet the appetite for the coming campaign.


Let us not forget the class of opposition too. Benfica had their part to play for this hectic game, but they couldn’t handle the sharp interchanges in and around the box.


Next up is Sevilla, who defeated RB Leipzig 1-0. It’ll be another tough fixture against a pedigree foe, but there are still players who haven’t featured, so the lineup will be vastly different – as inferred by Wenger in his Press Conference before the tournament began.


So while the talk continues to centre on Alexis Sanchez and his future, Gooners can at least find solace in the fact that Arsenal are firing.