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Chuba Akpom and The Arsenal

By Ethan Ward

This is the start of a series of blogs on Arsenal’s younger player, and I thought I’d start close to home and pick an Arsenal youngster who has the talent to break into the first team in the next couple of years, maybe even this coming season.

The youngster in question is the much talked about Chuba Akpom. He’s a local lad, born in London, so he could become one of our British core that we’ve slowly built up.  He is a centre forward by trait but can also play on either wing. He’s just 17 years old and is already leading the line for Arsenal U21’s and England U19’s.

He was just 15 when he made his first batch of appearances for Arsenal U18’s. At the age of 17 he was called up to the U21 team to take part in the newly formed U21 Premier League. He started a majority of the games, scoring 3 times and assisting in as many.

Because of Arsenal’s progression in this tournament, Akpom was given more opportunities to showcase his talent. However, previous to the Manchester United match, Akpom failed to score in the first two games of the Elite Group despite putting in some impressive performances. But fast forward to the present day and Akpom has just scored 4 times in 2 matches.

He recently scored a brace in England U19’s friendly against Denmark. He then returned to Arsenal and scored another brace in their 2-2 draw against Manchester United. I think it’s fair to say he’s hit a bit of form. In that U21 match against Manchester United, apparently, a couple of scouts from Barcelona were present. If true then that shows how good he is – and how mindful of him we have to be.   Although I will add that Afobe and Aneke were tracked by Barcelona and they haven’t really made their mark at Arsenal just yet.

Not only has he featured in the U21 league, he also played a huge part in Arsenal’s progression in the NextGen Series. He scored two goals in 6 games to help Arsenal through to the second phase.

It’s clear that from these stats and figures we have a very promising individual.

I’ve talked about his stats which are all very intriguing but I must mention Chuba’s attributes because there are a lot of them. First off, he is big. Not lanky but still tall, he’s strong and built like an ‘Ox’. Because he’s quite tall it gives him an advantage in the air which he uses. He has be known to score a few headers in his time.

Not only is he good in the air, he is also useful with the ball at his feet. He boasts a wide range of skills which he regularly executes with devastating consequences. If his skills weren’t enough for defenders to worry about then he also likes to show off his pace now and again. He works hard for the team and is sometimes guilty of being too unselfish. He is a very good finisher, when given the chance, but one criticism of his play is that he doesn’t get into goalscoring positions frequently enough.

If you want a comparison then I suppose if he reaches his potential then we could see the new Henry. You have to understand it’s a comparison I hate to make as I don’t want to hype him up too much but the similarities are there for everyone to see.

Thanks for reading

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19 comments to Chuba Akpom and The Arsenal

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A really nice read and am already looking forward to your future articles on the young ‘uns .Thanks .

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Ethan for this article. As Apkom is now only 17 years old I think he will need at least another 2 seasons before being able to break in to the first team if he keeps progressing.
    Most strikers only become really better finishers from +22 years old. So we have to give him time to develop. Maybe a good loan spell could help him.

  • gouresh

    Nice read. I plan to take my 6 yr old to the nextgen Arsenal games this coming season. He plays for the under 8’s for the local club so hopefully he can look an learn.
    How long he can stay focused is any1’s guess but should be a fun day.

  • brian

    Agree with the suggestion that he might just make it.In the recent Next Gen finals he was one of the few shining lights which un-fortunately highlighted how far behind the other clubs our much vaunted youth policy has become.

  • Goonerbeall

    I admire you all who make time to read and even squeeze time for watching Arsenal youth football because I think that is where all football boils down to. No wonder youth football is not prioritised and the quality of senion team is as it is in UK. While I hate to go on about too many foreigner in our league, we need to look at Spain and Germany for lessons. As it is nothing, not even more money can improve things. We need to a sturbon man with ideas to get England out of the mess it is in at the moment. The much criticised Wenger would actuall be perfect when he retires from Arsenal. This of course can be combined with any other roles he may wish to take inside Arsenal club management.

  • Bootoomee

    Goonerbeall,

    I am not a betting man but I can put a good amount on Arsene NEVER managing England. I have nothing to back this up; I just think he understands how much the press influence the England set up and the sort of detractions that England managers suffer.

  • ian

    Brilliant read Ethan, thank you. Its great to get such an insight to the player, I hear regularly about players coming through and showing potential, some even look good in the Carling Cup etc but then get loaned out and ultimately released as not been able to make the step up.

    I have some programmes from the 80s and there are write ups in them from the reserves and youth section on Kevin Campbell and Michael Thomas, among others, its interesting going back and looking at them.

    Gouresh
    You’re 6 year old should be fine, seems like he is in to football anyway and am sure will enjoy the experience.

    My eldest was 4 when I took him to DB10s testimonial, started taking him to the odd league game from the age of 6, he was fine albeit found it a little noisy.

  • FunGunner

    Thanks for the article, Ethan. I’ve only seen Akpom in highlights clips of youth matches, so it’s good to hear my impression of him is shared by someone with more knowledge. I must say, when I heard and read about AW’s pursuit of Sanogo, the delicious thought crossed my mind that AW hoped to create the Henry/Anelka style partnership which he has previously dreamed about. A few years into the future, of course.

  • Stuart

    Bootoomee
    I can’t really see Wenger managing any National side to be honest.

    There’s no building or creativity, it’s just a case of these are your options now pick a team. Doesn’t seem to be the kind of challenge Wenger would go for and IMO, a National team coach is firstly a completely different job to a club coach and secondly, a national team coach is a step down from managing a club like Arsenal – no matter what national team you are talking about.

    Again in my own personal opinion, I think someone like Alan Pardew would actually have more success as a national team coach than at club level as he has never really been able to go on huge spending sprees and buy whatever player he wants (the same as you cannot as national coach) yet he has always managed to get his team to do better than you might expect given the resource at his disposal.

  • Shard

    Hello. My laptop and phone are both a pain to work with right now. I just wanted to ask fellow Londoners on UA if they were available and willing to meet over the next few days at any time. I’ll try and manage my other commitments (family) around that. Cheers.

  • FunGunner

    @ bootoomee
    I can see why you say AW would do well as a national coach but he would HATE it. What gets him out of bed in the mornings is the chance to work with players and improve them, to get them working together and playing according to his football principles. There would be none of that with a national team. It would be 95% politics and 5% football.

  • Bootoomee

    Stuart & FunGunner,

    I agree with both of you. The England job is only made worse by lack of talents, unrealistic public expectations and the useless English press. A terrible combination that I believe Arsene will never get involved with.

  • FunGunner

    @ bootoomee
    So sorry, I meant to address my comment about Wenger and a national side to goonerbeall.

  • Ong Bing

    Thanks Ethan.

    Another young guns’ article please?

  • nicky

    @Ethan,
    As one of the more mature followers of our national game, it never ceases to amaze me how long it now takes for a young player to reach the top of his profession.
    Akpom is tall,built like an “OX”and scores goals. Unfortunately, he’s only 17 and the talk now is to nurtue him carefully along the set route to the top.
    In the days of my youth, if a player was good enough he was old enough. The occasional teenager became an England international.
    What has happened in the meantime? Has the standard improved so much that maturity takes longer?
    I’d really like to know.

  • nicky

    @Nathan,
    Sorry! For “nurtue” please read “nurture”.

  • bjtgooner

    Interesting article and a very worthwhile topic. I look forward to the rest of the series. Lets hope Chuba makes the grade.

  • John

    Chuba sounds like a excellent prospect lets hope he keeps on progressing we dont have many strikers in the youths at the minute. Jeorge bird does some excellent stuff on his site if anyone is interested http://arsenalyouth.wordpress.com.

    We have alot of qaulity in the youth ranks decides Akpom the likes GK Martinaz, RB Bellerin CD/MD Hayden LB Ottweill W Gnarby CM Yennaris/Toral.

    Plus we have a very young squad Wilshere, Jenkinson, Sczcnesy, Gibbs, Walcott, Oxlade.

    Very hard to get into big clubs first team these days look at Chelsea very good youth team but most will have to move on for 1st team football.

  • Sam Coombes

    Check out Ethan’s twitter for more
    Information on Arsenal, his a great young journalist! @AdolescentGoon

    Or to check out more of his articles his website is wardy1996england.wordpress.com

    He writes some really good articles on a range of players, young or old! Knows his stuff!

    Check him out people! His a topguy also,

    Cheers, Sam Coombes. (@16coombes)