The Arsenal U23 goalscoring charts were recntly always headed by the Academy graduate Folarin Balogun who stole the headlines for the whole of the last season. Now Balogun has been given a first team squad number but after a shaky start he has played his last couple of games back with U23s to give him a chance to regain his confidence.
Balogun’s experience meant he was named as captain when we faced Chelsea this weekend and he proved his worth with a couple of goals in Arsenal’s 6-1 demolition of our neighbours, but even he was overshadowed by our new arrival from Fulham in the summer, Mika Biereth, who scored a hat trick.
Last season the 18 year-old netted 21 goals in 21 games and 13 assists while at Fulham so we were excited when he chose to move to Arsenal this summer, and new boss of Arsenal’s reserves, Kevin Betsy, has been very impressed so far. “The recruitment team did a terrific job in bringing him (Biereth) to the club and he’s a boy who has a fantastic character and attitude. His willingness to work for the team is excellent, his movement to get into space in behind is also very prominent in his game and he can finish. He’s a really good finisher,”
“What we’ve noticed (is) his hold up and link up play has also improved gradually,”
“The style of play we have is not something he’s played a lot at his previous club (Fulham), but he’s adapting to our style and doing very well within it.
It’s even more impressive that 2 of Biereth’s goals came when we were down to ten men. Betsy continued: “Definitely, without a doubt (playing with 10 men would have helped). From a development point of view, all the players that played the second half would have learned a great deal about playing with 10 men away from home. The pressure of the crowd, the ability to hold the ball up and all those scenarios. He was the lone man and had to secure the ball. If we didn’t have a platform to play and break out and score, then we wouldn’t have scored the goals we did in the second half.”
Eddie Nketiah has not quite made it yet as a senior, but we still have very high hopes for Balogun, but it is quite possible that Biereth could overtake both of them if he keeps scoring such spectacular goals in every game…