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Chris

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About Chris

  • Birthday 04/12/1973

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  1. The greatest prevarication at Arsenal this summer has been over the Eddie Nketiah Dilemma. Do the club send the 20-year-old out on loan or keep him as a squad player? It is a question asked over and again at clubs all over the country about their youngsters but few players are so firmly on the cusp in either direction. Few players have such a balance of pros and cons to their name when it comes to assessing a temporary move, which is now looking likely after all with Bristol City keen. Nketiah, born in Lewisham, south London, has been called “a fox in the box” which might sound flattering but Arsenal have never quite worked out how to make room for such a striker, not since they signed Francis Jeffers from Everton in 2001 for £8 million amid the fanfare that they had found the missing piece in their attacking jigsaw. It did not work out that way. In any case, Nketiah, while he can be an effective predator, is also capable of attacking down the wing and of producing the intelligent pass. Indeed, Mesut Özil, the master of the intuitive ball, was heard praising Nketiah’s skills during the club’s summer tour in America but also noted that how the youngster was fighting to be assimilated into the first team. The fact is that Arsenal have plenty of blossoming talent but Nketiah is the one arguably toiling hardest to make his mark in north London just as he appeared the best suited to go on loan. He had seemed too slight but he has over the past 18 months been building up muscle. His physical maturity is more than matched by his calm personality. He is softly spoken, humble and intelligent. They are especially pleased at the club at how he accepts advice and has not become over confident. He would prefer to stay at The Emirates this coming campaign but they know that if he is told it is preferable for him to go on loan then he will accept the decision with grace. On the face of it there is little room in Unai Emery’s side given the proven goalscoring exploits of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette but Nketiah’s pre-season form has been exceptional. He scored a late winning goal against Bayern Munich and then scored twice against Fiorentina. Nketiah has pace and can unsettle any defence. He famously came on as a substitute in the League Cup in October 2017 against Norwich City and scored 15 seconds later to equalise. He became an instant cult hero by then scoring the winning goal in extra time. “I am impressed to think he was not even conceived when I was already here,” Arsène Wenger said afterwards and in a flash Nketiah felt like Arsenal’s future, destined to be a significant part of the post-Wenger generation. Nketiah is not particularly tall and has been compared to Jermaine Defoe but perhaps is most similar in style to a younger Danny Welbeck. He joined Chelsea aged nine but was released by the west London club in 2015. Two days later Arsenal expressed an interest and, given he was an Arsenal supporter who had idolised Thierry Henry and Ian Wright, he could not quite believe how his fortunes had changed. Chelsea had simply decided Nketiah was too small and he certainly looked too small, especially when he played alongside the gangly Tammy Abraham. The Arsenal youth coaches were not blind to his stature but they admired the intelligence of his play. Since signing for Arsenal he has scored 37 goals including one in the Premier League, against Burnley in May on the last day of the season. Last year he was called into the England Under-21 squad and scored twice against Scotland in the semi-final of the Toulon Tournament. No wonder Bristol City are keen to have him and the striker is certainly not adverse to the idea that he might benefit from being regularly deployed in the Championship rather than sparingly in the division above. Ironically, this is in part why Emery might have been considering keeping hold of him. Nketiah is reasonable and open minded and manages to be ambitious without seeming precocious or unrealistic. He is popular too, among the first team squad, and who knows the value of that as Arsenal seek to improve on last season’s fifth place finish.
  2. I could be wrong, but isn’t that Lee signing schoolboy terms with Arsenal? Stand to be corrected!
  3. Got all but one game I applied for. Ended up with Last 16 @ Wembley, QF @ Rome, then somehow the Final too
  4. Northampton had 4 player sin binned at the end - sounds absolutely mental. But as you say, huge 5 points with Newcastle winning & Worcester running Chiefs close. A long way to go, that last game of the season looms large!
  5. What was their wall doing, synchronised jumping?
  6. Brilliant result seeing as though we were down to 10 for an hour. This team really doesn’t give up. Now to get through until the end of the window with the squad intact & we can really push on. COYR.
  7. Only Brentford, Derby & Millwall winning so far.
  8. Locked the official thread for now until the clever bods get back from the match & fix the forum
  9. Still 0 0 I think, started brightly in the 2nd half
  10. That really shows the size of the building, if it's nearly the length of the pitch & 2 floors - looks a decent enough set up for us for the foreseeable future.
  11. I’m sure there’ll be some spares on here before the game.
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