Arsenal are blessed with a very strong youth setup right now, and it seems only a matter of time before some of the youngsters make the step up to the senior squad.
A couple of members of the Arsenal academy have already managed to get first-team opportunities under Unai Emery this campaign. Julio Pleguezuelo started against Blackpool in the League Cup, whilst Emile Smith Rowe has become a regular in the cup and the Europa League, as well as making the Premier League bench a few times.
However, the Premier League 2 champions of last season have plenty more to offer the senior side if Emery wants to draw on them. Let’s have a look at the top five candidates for chances this season.
- Age: 19
- Position: Centre-forward/Left Winger
- Youth appearances (2018/19): 8
- Youth goals (2018/19): 7
- Youth assists (2018/19): 1
It should be no surprise at all to see Nketiah on this list, as he’s been waiting for first-team chances for a long time now. The striker hasn’t played a single minute for the senior side this season, despite making the squad on five occasions. Only Emi Martinez has appeared in the squad more without actually getting onto the pitch.
Nketiah was particularly unlucky against Sporting Lisbon. Arsenal were desperate for a goal and the England u20 international was moments away from coming on before Stephan Lichtsteiner went down injured and forced Unai Emery to bring on Ainsley Maitland-Niles instead.
Though he’s at his best in front of goal, Nketiah has also played out wide in the past, and has been particularly impressive in the position for the England youth teams:
Nketiah showcased an array off attributes as a left forward at the Toulon Tournament that we need to be using.
Pace/power dribbling/link play/craft/awareness. pic.twitter.com/GStb3Nmrhc
— WG (@GrantAFC80) November 11, 2018
That versatility, plus the injury to third-choice striker Danny Welbeck, should see Nketiah in the first-team very soon.
Click ‘Next’ for the other academy stars set for first-team minutes this season