Has Balogun proved he deserves first team chances?

The 19 year-old Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun has been known as a wonderkid and a prolific goalscorer, but has seemed frustrated with his lack of chances with the gunners first team due to the array of more experienced strikers in the Arsenal squad.

But he finally got his senior debut for 15 minutes against Dundalk last month, and last night he came on when we were 2-0 up against Molde, and it took him just 37 seconds to score his first senior goal.

He was understandably happy to have proved his ability so quickly. He told Arsenal.com after the game:”I’m feeling really happy, it shows that all the hard work I’ve put in over the years is just starting to pay off,”

“It’s important that I keep working hard to enjoy more moments like this.

“I didn’t think that particular [break for the goal] was going to be my chance, but I always try to stay ready and I’m happy that on this occasion it paid off.

“It’s been good [to be involved], it’s nice to see the boss showing faith in me. It feels like this is good experience for me, I just need to keep on learning, keep on adding to my game and I’m happy that I could contribute today.”

We all know that scoring in minor games does not always translate into Premier League goals. Didn’t we all see Eddie Nketiah score twice on his League Cup debut?

But it will certainly be interesting to see if Arteta gives him chances ahead of Nketiah in some upcoming League games. The boss really needs to persuade the lad to sign a new contract….

Tags Balogun Molde


  1. Balogun seems to be a cool and composed striker, is at the right place at the right time and looks much more mature headed for his age. He certainly deserves his chances in the PL fixtures. And Arsenal must make all efforts to give him an extended contract and keep him because he is the future of Arsenal.

  2. Contrary to my recent comments here, Balogun, Smith Rowe, Saliba etc are eligible to play for the Premier League side despite not being named in the 25 man squads due to being in the U21 list from which players can be promoted.
    Sorry to those on Arsenal Review who’s wisdom I have queried.

  3. He seems a natural finisher and could save us having to enter the transfer market for a striker when, as seems likely, Laca is moved on.With regard to the goal scored by Balogun, let’s credit ESR for the skill he displayed in his assist.The same applies to Willock for his assist for Nelson.Amidst all the doom and gloom following our recent poor performances in the League it is reassuring to know that we have a clutch of very talented young players in waiting and a potential star of the future in Martinelli.These guys can play a big part in our future under the guidance of Arteta who I am confident can persuade Balogun to sign a new contract.

  4. I totally agree with you . If you have been following him, he sees to have henry and aguero styles rolled into one. Better than nketiah and we have to keep him.

  5. Obviously, lad is better than Nketiah, imo. Got better football brain and a lot more composed with trickery moves in him, if you ever watched him play. He only needs game time for everyone to see.
    While Nketiah is only a poacher with loads of tap-ins in his goals. He has to get so many chances for him to convert just one, in other words, he misses chances a lot. Sometimes I wonder what the coach sees in him, perhaps bcz he’s older?
    Hopefully, we don’t lose another great talent in Balogun, yet again. SMH 🤦

  6. Well, MA said he wants to stay… last night was fantastic – 37 seconds is all it took! 😁 We all know how prolific he’s been for the U23s, so last night couldn’t have been any sweeter, it will make him hungry for more…He should have more opportunities, starting with the last of the group stage games and then go from there…
    I also want to see more of ESR.. we all know what he’s capable of and that was a delicious assist!! Been harping on about him, so watching those 2 combine put a huge smile on my face!!

  7. Balogun is great and very different in style to nketiah. His reluctance to sign a new contract has simply been the pathway ahead looked very congested with only 1 central striker.

    But the big difference last night was in the 2nd half we switched to the most successful formation of arsenal’s recent history (4411) and boy do we have the right players for that formation. So much so we could probably afford to cash in on Lacazette in January and give his Europa League place to Martinelli. Personally I would also cash in on Kolasinac, Luiz and Mustafi as well as sokratis and ozilbut that is going off topic.

    Promoting Balogun officially today would not hurt at all. It would work in one of two ways, one it would show him we mean business and want him to stay or two it would raise even higher his profile for a January sale.

    Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah, Martinelli, Smith-Rowe and Balogun is an awesome line up of players to fill the roles up front in the 4411 formation. With John-Jules and Moller not far behind, you can see how Lacazette could be sacrificed.

    Our wide players would then be expected to work harder but we do have the players that can do that. In Saka, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Pepe and Willian you have 5 players that could contest the 2 wide roles and in Partey, Willock, Elneny, xhaka and Ceballos 5 to contest the 2 central roles.

    The defence is overloaded with centre back options if we choose to revert to a back 4. Five possibly 6 is well enough.

    My for sale list in January: Macey(promote hein) Mustafi(use Saliba instead) Sokratis(promote Ballard) Luiz(promote McGuiness) Kolasinac(enough cover already) Ozil(use Smith-Rowe more) Lacazette(promote Balogun)

    In the summer: Soares (promote osei-tutu), Mavropanos(promote Clarke) Ceballos, (bring back guendozi) xhaka (bring back torreira) Willian(buy a better player)

    1. I think Balogun would probably do really well in the PL because he wouldn’t be physically bullied. Atid, you say we have enough cover at lb, but if we lose Kola that means either AMN or Saka which means we sacrifice their attacking possibilities. I thought AMN looked good when he moved into the centre last night. Apart from a couple of dodgy passes he was still asking for the ball in the 91st minute. I prefer him there in rotation with Party, Elneny and Xhaka.

  8. Though I naturally urge some caution against OVERhyping young BALOGUN, as some fans are keen to do with any young player who has a good game, I do neverthless see real quality in Balogan and I think he has distinct advantages over Nketiah. He is two years younger, a major factor when assessing chances of developing into the level of striker our club needs. Nketiah is already 21, hardly old I will admit, but not THAT young for a player with a number of distinct holes in his game and the need to prove himself a top striker very soon now OR be considered yet another who has just not quite made the grade.

    BALOGAN is physically bigger, more powerful and probably still growing taller. He seems to have a natural self confidence that all great strikers show. Strikers need that strutting self belief and I do not see that in Eddie but I DO with Balogun.
    My instincts shreak out to me that BALOGUN WILL make the grade but though I still harbour hopes for Nketiah, they are only hopes, NOT instincts that carry real conviction.

  9. My personal take on this subject?
    Nketiah is a younger Aubameyang.
    Balogun is a younger Henry.

    Balogun looks, wants and hunts for the ball, while Nketiah needs to have the ball played to him.

    Of course it is early days to compare them, but just a personal observation to date.

    1. I see what you are saying KEN but blimey, what pressure to put on them both! Not that either will be reading this site, however much we flatter ourselves that they do, of course. My take is that Eddie will have a decent career somewhere but is not ever going to be at the level WE need, ultimately though I hope to be very wrong.

      BALOGUN LOOKS FAR MORE HOPEFUL, EVEN THOUGH WE HAD ONLY A GLIMPSE. He is physically more suited than Nketiah to play up front too and is probably still growing at only 19.

      1. Some really good comments/observations on this article, with the majority it seems, agreeing with your evaluation Jon.

        I would also add, that Nketiah has had quite a few opportunities compared to Balogun, due of course, to his “advanced” age!!!

        Perhaps, instead of Henry, I should have said Gnarby = whatever it is that I see in him, it is more than just a goal scorer/poacher that I see in Nketiah.

        Not that my description of Nketiah is to be seen as a negative, just look at what Aubameyang has achieved during his career.

        We have some cracking young players coming through the academy and, with the signings of Partey, Gabriel, Tierney, Leno and Auba, the future looks really promising…I just hope ESR steps up to the role of playmaker.

        If not, Eriksen at £10,000,000 looks a sensible buy or (something I know you will not agree with) MA and MO sort something out for the remainder of his contract…..whatever the answer, we are desperate for some creativity, in order to really assess what Nketiah and Balogun’s potential really is!!!

  10. I dont think the assumption that Balogun is better than Nketiah is credible, given the sample size of games. Sure they have different styles, but we have to remember that Eddie also scored goals for fun at the U23 level and also is the England U21 record scorer. I think that Eddie needs to work on his finishing and upper body strength more, then he can becone very good. From what I have seen of Flo, his positioning sense is something which screams out as his main strenth, along with his ambidextrosity with both feet, if that is a word! If we are able to see more of Flo then we can know more about his playstyle(if people watch our youngsters play then they might know that better than me..). Also that guy Moller is a good player to partner with upfront with his height and graceful ball skills. All in all these three players have different attributes and can give us a variety of attacking options in the future, if developed correctly. I didn’t mention Martinelli because in my opinion he is currently ahead of these three, and provides a completely different skill set to them because of his experience as a wide man who can play CF.

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