Folarin Balogun continues to prove influential for the u23s despite not scoring against Manchester City on Saturday, in a game where he saw his strike partner Tyreece John-Jules return from injury.
Balogun has now gone two games without a goal for the Arsenal u23s, a long time for him, but he’s been the team’s biggest attacking threat in both cases.
Against Chelsea, both sets of supporters and commentators agreed that Balogun was one of the players of the match despite defeat. He played a big part in Arsenal’s only goal, as his shot was saved only for Ben Cottrell to turn in the rebound.
It was a similar story against Manchester City this weekend. Balogun had plenty of chances and couldn’t quite find a goal, but he still played a big part in Arsenal’s equaliser, with the game finishing 1-1.
Early on, Balogun rounded the goalkeeper but hit the post from a tight angle. Just before the half-hour mark, he forced the City goalkeeper into a save from the edge of the box, before Arsenal’s hosts took the lead.
The Gunners were quick to respond though. Balogun headed towards goal from a corner, forcing a good save, but Nathan Tormey was on hand to turn in the rebound.
Arsenal’s young centre-forward almost gave his team the lead in the second half after pressuring the City defence into a mistake, but the ball came off him and went narrowly wide.
If you look at the stats for the last couple of games, all you’ll see is that Balogun failed to score or assist. The performances suggest he’s far from out of form though, and he’s still playing an important part for the team.
One thing that will help the goals start flowing again is the return of Tyreece John-Jules from injury.
The 18-year-old spent a month out with a hamstring problem, but he returned to play the final 11 minutes against Manchester City. With any luck, he’ll be ready to start against Tottenham Hotspur on Friday.