The Scout Report: Young Guns Looking To Impress

If early team news is to be believed, Arsene Wenger could be resting some of his key players for Thursday nights Europa League opener against Koln.

Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech are among some of the names that could be given a breather ahead of Sunday’s crucial Premier League clash with Chelsea, giving some of the Gunners youngsters a big chance to impress.

Four Academy stars trained with the first-team today but who are they and what can we expect from them?

Reiss Nelson

The 17-year-old made a big impression during pre-season as he excelled in a number of games and he has continued to do so for the under 23 side in the Premier League 2 this season.

Arsenal currently sit second with nine points from four games thanks in part to the wonderful form of Nelson.

The Englishman – capable of playing out wide and as an attacking midfielder – has scored six goals in those four games, including a coolly taken chip against Liverpool and a brilliant free-kick against Manchester United.

His goals saw him named PL2 player of the month for August and now he is looking to stamp his mark on the first-team.

He also had a strong 2016/17 campaign for the under 23s, scoring 12 times and picking up six assists in 27 games.

Nelson is expected to start at The Emirates on Thursday night and his direct style of play could cause Koln real problems, but can he cut it against a strong opposition?

We will find out.

Joe Willock

Another player that showed promise in pre-season.

The central midfielder is only 18 but he already looks like a top talent. Comfortable sitting deep and winning the ball back or acting as the driving force in the middle of the park, Willock has all the tools to go on to be a huge success at Arsenal.

The Englishman has played all of the under 23 games in the PL2 this season and while he is yet to register a goal or an assist he has been crucial to the sides positive start.

His form for the under 18 side last season saw him move up a level for this campaign as he registered eight goals and 10 assists in 27 appearances.

With Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey among those who could be rested and Jack Wilshere’s current physical condition unclear, Willock could start in midfield.

The 18-year-old has a brilliant range of passing and his energy could be crucial to starting the Europa League group stage with a win.

Edward Nketiah

While Reiss Nelson may have been taking all the plaudits for his goal scoring this season, Nketiah has also started brightly.

The 18-year-old striker has scored three goals in four games and grabbed an assist to move Arsenal U23s into second place.

His goal scoring exploits are nothing new though as Nketiah helped himself to 24 goals in 33 appearances for both the under 18s and 23s.

The Englishman featured during pre-season but was limited in his game time compared to Nelson and Willock but the dangerous forward could be making an impact on the first team sooner rather than later.

The Europa League could be the perfect stage for him to do that.

Marcus McGuane

Many have called the 18-year-old the ‘next Paul Pogba’.

If that isn’t a big enough endorsement of the midfielder’s talent the fact he was being chased by both Manchester clubs and Italian giants Juventus this summer should be.

A towering presence in the middle of the park, McGuane is a supremely talented all round midfielder.

Having been with the club since the age of six he could add another chapter to his Arsenal story by making his first-team debut against Koln on Thursday night.

It may be too soon to say, but could Marcus McGuane be the midfielder the Gunners have been looking for since Patrick Vieira’s departure?

About the Author

Dan Mountney
Hi, I'm Dan and I'm currently studying Sports Journalism at the University for the Creative Art in Farnham, Surrey. I have supported Arsenal all my life and grew up watching arguably the greatest generation of players the club has ever had. I hope my love for the club comes across in my writing and that you enjoy what you've read from me!