19-year-old forward Eddie Nketiah made his fifth appearance for Arsenal today as the Gunners faced Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup. The Englishman has featured regularly in senior training for the Gunners and was awarded his third senior appearance for the club, this season, in his preferred position as a striker.
Going into the game, Arsenal manager Unai Emery opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation as opposed to the 3-4-2-1 system that was utilised midweek in the 4-1 victory versus Fulham in the Premier League. In regards to the Gunners’ attack, Aaron Ramsey was positioned in the traditional “number 10” role and was accompanied by Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the flanks. As previously mentioned, Nketiah was positioned at the very front of the team in attack.
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Bukayo Saka earned his first senior start for Arsenal as the Gunners hosted Qarabag in their final fixture of the Europa League group stages. The 17-year-old has been rather impressive for both the u21s and u23s, this season, and likely earned his spot following the rumoured injury to another Arsenal youngster – Emile Smith-Rowe.
Interestingly, tomorrow will be three months to the day in which Saka signed his first professional contract with the London club. Today, he produced a very promising performance as he became the first player to start for Arsenal who was born in the 21st century.
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Calum Chambers made his return to Fulham’s starting lineup to earn his fifth Premier League appearance for the club in their midday clash against Javi Garcia’s Watford. The Cottagers conceded early on in the fixture but they managed to salvage a draw thanks to a goal from forward Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Despite signing a long-term contract with Arsenal back in July, the Gunners’ new manager, Unai Emery, decided to send the Englishman out on loan so he could get consistent game time in the Premier League. If rumours are to be believed, a handful of clubs expressed their interest in signing the 23-year-old on a season-long loan. In the end, it was Fulham who were able to finalise the deal to bolster their defensive options.
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