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July 2021

Serge Gnabry; how fast things can go.

By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes it is difficult to not get involved in creating a hype. I think Serge Gnabry might just be one of those players who we have known to be there for a while and then suddenly they seem to burst on to the big stage and just perform as if they were there all the time. So who is he, where is he coming from and what can we expect. An attempt to shed a light on this only 18 year young kid from Germany.

He played in rather a lot of youth teams seemingly climbing up the ladder each time. And finally he arrived at Bundesliga club VFB Stutgart. His father was from Ivory Coast and his mother was German. And a nice fact about him is that in his youth he also was a talented sprinter. But he preferred football over athletics. A wise choice I think.

In 2011 he came to Arsenal when he was 16 years old. Doesn’t it look ridiculous to say ‘old’ for that age? I digress…back to Serge. We can imagine that one of the main reasons for Gnabry to come to Arsenal will have been Wenger and the way he has developed young players.

Gnabry was used in the youth team and U21 team. And he was a prominent figure in the Next Generation tournament where he scored a few important goals so that Arsenal got to the final 4 in this competition. In the mean time he had made his PL debut at Norwich in September 2012. He came on in the 1-0 defeat for the last 10 minutes. Showed some promising touches but couldn’t turn the game. And a few days later he came on again as a sub in the 0-2 defeat against Schalke in the CL.

He was the third youngest player ever for Arsenal at that time and the other two players who were younger was Fabregas and Wilshere. Some good names to be mentioned with.

He has played for the German youth teams up to now and most of the time these are rather good youth teams. As we have shown in translating the interview of the German coach who was a the Stoke game it looked as if he made a good impression. And since then he only has impressed more.

So what is there to like about his game? He is not the tallest player around, in fact rather small but very robust. He is very fast (athletics training result and of course natural talent) and in fact what I have seen so far is that he doesn’t shy away from the challenges that are made.

For the moment he plays on the right side of attack. And he is a hard worker. That was very visible in both the Capitol One cup game where he worked so hard that he barely could run any more in extra time.

But he still kept on going forward whenever he could. I thought it would take him weeks to recover from that game and I assumed he would be put on the bench when we went to Swansea to give him some recovery time. How wrong was I. What do I know? Wenger, he knows.

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So Wenger put him in the starting line up once again and how it paid off. In the first half he was working hard once again and helping out in midfield and helping out Sagna whenever it was needed. But the longer the game continued the more he went forward and he started drifting around  a bit. Creating some space for himself and starting a few runs. One of those runs leading to the best chance of the first half when he found Giroud but the Frenchman couldn’t get his shot on target.

Also in the second half he became more prominent in the game and that resulted in him getting the very first chance to score a goal. And how well did he take it. Some young players might have closed their eyes at that moment and thought about just trying to shoot as hard as possible and not knowing if it would end up at the back of the net or against the head of one of the fans in the stands. Gnabry just seemed so calm, cool and composed and just passed the ball in the far corner.

He then got taken off when the game was seemingly won and that was fine for me. With all other wingers injured it was good to not run him down completely. There are other games to play and they come very fast for the moment.

When I see Gnabry however I don’t immediately think or compare him with Walcott the player he has replaced right now. For me Gnabry is more a Oxlade-Chamberlain type of player. He is physical very strong for a young boy and is not afraid to work hard and go in to the challenge.  I think he can play as a striker but he also has the engine and skills to be employed in midfield. Just as Oxlade-Chamberlain.

He looks to have no complexes when he plays his game and just does his thing on the field without fear. And some might have gone down after missing the penalty kick in the penalty shoot out at WBA last Wednesday. But the way he reacted to that miss and just took his first chance when it presented itself in the next game shows that he has a good self confidence.

With only being 18 years young he still has his whole future in front of him. He now has been presented a golden opportunity to impose himself. The absence of Theo and The Ox has opened the door for him and by the look of it he has planted his foot in front of the door and will not allow the door to be shut down for the moment.

So he is facing some important weeks now. If he can keep up his performances as he is doing for the moment he might have kick-started his career when a month ago we hardly thought about him. This again shows what a funny game it is. And how important it is to have some good backup from the youth teams. Even though he only came here from the age of 16 he was further formed at Arsenal in the youth and reserves.

I can imagine someone saying right now: Gnabry looks like a new signing.  Oh, look, Tony has (only he forgot to publish his article until late morning).

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17 comments to Serge Gnabry; how fast things can go.

  • rantetta

    Lovely article, Walter.

    You’re absolutely correct in saying that “Gnabry is more a Oxlade-Chamberlain type of player”. It’s something less of a surprise when he shows up in defence, and I like that.

    Gnabry vs Swansea:

  • WalterBroeckx

    I also forgo to mention that last season he was out for a while with a back injury and he missed a big part of the season

  • PJ

    So, between Walcott, Ox, Gibbs, Gnarby and Ryo, who is the fastest?

  • Shakabula Gooner

    @ PJ:
    On the football pitch, it seems Walcott has developed the fastest pace with his game but on the tracks, I suspect the younger gooners (Gnabry, Ryo or Ox) will make the challenge worthwhile. The day all four line up for Arsenal for a game, the opposition better know that they will have to keep their back 4 in their half of the pitch even when they come to take a corner kick against us!

  • AL

    I too think he’s more like The OX; likes to cut inside and go down the middle. I find him very good at defending as well, which can only be a plus. I would normally start worrying that too much media hype might get to his head, but he doesn’t seem that type of player(the way he came back after the penalty miss just shows he can handle all kinds of pressure). Good player.

  • Tasos

    Is it Me or does Serge Gnabry have a little bit of Mike Tyson about him?

  • AL

    No Tasos, I thought the same too. A bit like a cross between Ali & Tyson:)

  • AL

    But I think Walcott is the fastest winger we have though, in terms of pace.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Ins straight race I think it would be between Theo and Ryo. Over 50 metres not a lot in it but Theo would be ahead at 100. Ox and Gnabry not far behind. I wouldn’t rule Jenkinson out of the race either.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    @ Andrew Crawshaw

    You are right, despite my years I think I’d give the young ‘uns a run for their money (pun intended)!!

    @ Walter

    Great article, I completely agree with the Oxlade Chamberlain comparison. Another gem unearthed…..

  • andy bishop

    No need to run the “slide rule” over Gnabry…he is class and is one of the top three under 21’s in the world. Anyone watching him last year in his age group would see him run through defences. Not surprised he has made the first team. He has a fantastic work ethic to match his undoubted ability. Against Swansea when we were under the cosh he was playing right back. Great to see. How will Walcott respond?

  • bjtgooner

    Yet another good find, a good young player now, but also with fantastic development potential.

  • alex

    Yes! the similarities with the Ox is there. Gnabry seems more strong for his age.
    Walcott has much pace and It affects the touch and control of the ball in my view. So I ask :

    The attribute required for a sprinter are equal or same for a footballers ?

  • Gord

    There were news articles about Leeds approaching Arsenal about Gnabry, but these approaches were before Gnabry was in the Capital Cup and his EPL appearance. And one article went on to say that Leeds did not expect a positive (to them) answer with respect to Gnabry, as since then Serge Gnabry had gone on to start against WBA.

    As Gnabry seem to be useful to the first team, loaning him out would not be on my agenda. But, if Arsenal was to loan out Gnabry, is Leeds the destination? My guess is Watford (under Gianfranco Zola) would be a better decision. At least Zola knows how to play football.

    It is about 8pm MST, which probably means it is about 3am or 4am EST/EDT there. I have seen almost no news articles about potential line ups of Arsenal versus Napoli. I have seen a a couple of blog headlines at Google News, but no real news articles. I guess this is more of the journalists not caring about what Arsenal does, or doesnt; except if Arsenal fails, we complain about it?

  • Gord

    Ooops. Your Are GMT, not EST/EDT.

  • Florian

    Gord, the Arsenal-Napoli game is not in the Fox Sports line-up, not even delayed. Talk about condescendence. I can only guess it’s more important to show the Barfalona playing the SPL leader, than the Premier League leader playing the second place in Serie A. Go figure. And btw, Juventus is on TV on Wednesday, against Galata. They probably owed it to Mancini. Ok, sorry for the off-topic, rant over.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice ,Walter , and do hope the Germans take time in introducing him into their first team , unlike Theo , the Ox and Wilshire who were fast forwarded into the England team.