2 more goals for prolific Arsenal academy striker: Should be getting first-team chances

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: Folarin Balogun on Arsenal runs with the ball during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal U23 and Manchester City U23 at Emirates Stadium on February 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)

Folarin Balogun scored two more goals against Manchester City on Friday, as he continues to make his case for first-team chances.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Folarin Balogun of Arsenal FC looks on during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal FC U23s and Chelsea FC U23s at Meadow Park on February 17, 2020 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 17: Folarin Balogun of Arsenal FC looks on during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal FC U23s and Chelsea FC U23s at Meadow Park on February 17, 2020, in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Arsenal u23s took on Manchester City on Friday, and it didn’t take long for Folarin Balogun to give them the lead. The goal came from a mistake, as the City keeper gifted the ball to Trae Coyle, who quickly set up Balogun to fire high into the net.

The away side equalised before half time though, with Adrian Bernabe scoring. It was up to Balogun to help Arsenal retake the lead, which he did 18 minutes into the second half.

Ben Cottrell slid in to win the ball back and find Matt Smith, who played a first-time pass into Balogun. The striker simply held off the defender and passed the ball into the bottom corner. Sadly, City rallied to win 4-2.

Those goals bring the 18-year-old to 10 goals and four assists in 15 Premier League 2 appearances this season. Balogun also has a goal and an assist in two PL International Cup appearances, though he didn’t score in his only EFL Trophy start.

Overall, that’s 11 goals and five assists in 18 games (15 starts). His six-week injury at the end of 2019 was the only thing holding him back this campaign.

This is Balogun’s first full season as an u23 player, so it’s fair that the club haven’t immediately pushed him into senior football. At the same time, this campaign is enough to prove he’s too good for the youth game now.

Whether with Arsenal or on loan, he needs to be playing first-team games next season.