Arsenal maintained their 100% win record in the group stages of the Europa League with a 4-2 victory over Dundalk.
Eddie Nketiah’s delightful chip and Mohamed Elneny’s piledriver gave us a 2-1 lead at the break. Joe Willock found the net in the 67th minute but Folarin Balogun’s goal stole all the headlines.
Arsenal fans were hoping to see the teenager from the start today, but Mikel Arteta decided against it. The youngster came on at the hour mark and played a very important part in the final 30 minutes of the game.
He displayed incredible strength by holding the ball up to assist Willock for his goal. He made a fine run for his own strike, and even Thierry Henry would have been proud of that finish.
Arsenal fans were delighted with Balogun’s cameo. The pressure is on Arteta now to convince him to extend his contract, and the Gunners boss has revealed what the young striker has told him about his future.
Arteta: Balogun wants to stay
Arteta told Football London after the game: “Well, we’re having some discussions with the player. He knows we want to retain him at the club.”
“We know that the length of his contract at the moment is an issue, but we’re trying to resolve it in the best possible way. We want him to stay, he said to me he wants to stay at the club. So hopefully, we can reach an agreement and extend his contract.”
Arsenal have let go of a number of top-quality youngsters in the past. Serge Gnabry, Donyell Malen, Ismael Bennacer and Jeff Reine-Adelaide were all a part of our ranks, but we let them leave for almost nothing, and they are making us regret our decision now.
Balogun is arguably the brightest talent among all of them. The youngster is quick, strong and has an eye for goal. He showed today that he can hold the ball up brilliantly as well, and his finishing is absolutely incredible for his age.
Arsenal have to convince him to stay. It looked certain that he would leave a few months ago, but Arteta’s comments have given us hope, and it’s time for Edu and co wrap up this deal before it’s too late.