Reiss Nelson impressed and made a real impact for Arsenal at last

Reiss Nelson picked up the baton by Dan Smith

It’s not how you get the opportunity it’s what you do when you get it.

Reiss Nelson admitted himself he expected Sunday ‘to be just another day on the bench’.

He hadn’t played in the Prem for a couple of years and might have assumed he wouldn’t this season.

Yet when Saka limped off injured Arteta told the 22-year-old to warm up.

Obviously, the manager has been impressed in training because Nketiah up front and shifting Jesus out wide, or Vieira as a number 10 and Odegaard on the right, both were more obvious options.

It discredits the theory that some Gooners have that Eddie Nketiah is simply unlucky that he’s not asked to start more, and that he shouldn’t be judged on cameo appearances.

Because this weekend another academy graduate was rewarded for what he had been showing on the training pitch, and when given the baton he ran with it.

In any sport, in life in general, you have to do what it takes to get noticed. You can’t assume how many opportunities you’re going to get, your first could be your last.

After a couple of loans abroad, Reiss knows he’s not going to get too many chances to prove he belongs at this level.

He’s out of contract in the summer and at an age where he needs to be playing.

The assumption is he will be the latest Gunner to be allowed to run down his deal.

That’s why Nottingham Forest could turn out to be the turning point of his career.

In the space of 8 minutes, he scored twice and made another.

It’s not me being as fickle as a player scoring a couple of tap-ins so now he’s proved himself.

It’s about a player showing the character to get himself into those positions, the personality to demand the ball, the self-belief that you can make the difference.

Anyone who’s grown up at Arsenal and has made it to the senior squad has at some point showcased they have talent.

Whether it’s Joe Willock, Maitland Niles, Eddie, Reiss, etc, that’s never been the issue.

The question mark is do they have the mentality to deal with what comes with representing a club our size?

Too many act like competition winners, scared to express themselves, therefore playing the safe pass.

That’s why Willock is at Newcastle and Niles at Southampton.

A teenager Fabregas, Wilshere and Smith-Rowe never had that problem.

Suddenly Reiss Nelson has earnt the right to start on Thursday. If he can handle the conditions of a must-win scenario his boss will have even more faith in him.

That’s how quickly football can change.

Suddenly Reiss Nelson has momentum.

We all want one of our own to succeed.

Whatever happens, as a boyhood fan, yesterday would have been a dream come true. A moment to live forever which no one can take away from him.

He’s got the baton, now run with it.



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    1. Its the sudden change of style from Nelson that ruins Forest day and opens the flood gate to a telling effect.
      Teams have studied to play Arsenal and knows Saka will always plays even if he’s only able to play on one foot.

      This shows the gaffer needs option and needs it fast , Now Nelson must start on Thursday and hopefully he wets his bread.

      But we will never know the full extent of Saka injury, as the gaffer will keep this card close to his chest as he manages the rest of games before World cup

      1. The mysterious “wet bread” again, whatever it is supposed to mean!

        Do tell us all, as you are theonly fans who uses this mysterious and hard to understand expression.

  1. Agreed with everything you’ve said except the constant Nketiah bashing now. Stop it please. Must there always be a scapegoat in the team? It’s not his fault he was offered 100k. You act like at his age you would reject 100k because you Kno you are not better than Gabriel Jesus. Before the season started, most of us, yourself including myself pointed out how competition for Partey, Saka and Jesus was important. Fine we didn’t bring in anyone, but let it go. Stop talking about the kid in the negative light all the time bro. He’s part of this very good team. No Ozil, no Pepe, no Mustafi, and Xhaka’s made over half of the fanbase shut their mouth about him. So we do we do next? Look for another player to replace the scapegoats? The young kid from the academy asked to be Jesus’s backup.
    Give it a break bro, and I’m not even a fan of the kid.
    He’s having a tough patch now.
    He’s also a big part of the reason we’re in the Europa league competition this season. He did his job last season. So tone down on the constant Eddie criticism.
    Are we so used to digging into players now that we must always pick out one as a scapegoat Soo as the previous one leaves?

    Hope to see Nelson take his chance and keep it going.

    1. Nketiah was the second best player in preseason and the best on the pitch in his cameos. He may be off form but I still believe he can score goals like he did last season. It takes a game for things to change.

    2. And giving Nketiah the new contract means we blocked another player leaving for free which we’ve let happen far too often recently.

      He might be earning 100k a week but if it doesn’t work out for him, there are sides that are willing to pay a fee for him.

      Even the likes of Nottingham can nowadays offer someone like Lingard over 100k a week so Nketiah will have suitors if it doesn’t work out.

      This season we are the 2nd highest scoring team in the league. I think its because we are firing them in from all the positions.

      We have 4 goals from our CB’s, 6 goals from Xhaka/Partey, 6 goals from CAM’s and 13 goals from wingers! Also 5 assists from wingbacks.

      That means even if Jesus/Eddie are not scoring, if they can just create opportunities for someone else, its fine as it is.

      1. Can you type your first three paragraphs again, @DaJuhi, and louder/brighter this time? The noisemakers in the back of the class did not read or hear you!

        Very well said about Nketiah. We can praise Nelson without denigrating Nketiah – different circumstances at play here.

  2. So you put down Nketiah just to big up Nelson?? You must’ve forgotten how he was playing when the season begun. Now that Nelson scored all of a sudden he’s a favorite despite past comments being made about him like he was definitely average. I’ve always rated Nelson highly and its a shame because he’s supposed to be better than his current level. I hope he gets a full game vs Zurich and continues from there.

    1. @Kev, you never cease to amaze me when you talk about Nketiah
      You said about Nelson…. “You must’ve forgotten how he was playing when the season begun”
      The fact is that Nelson missed pre-season through injury and only came back to fitness a few weeks ago…

        1. Nketiah played 2 friendlies in ppreseason, and scored against Orlando and Sevilla. This eason in 5 EL games he has scored against Zurich and Bodo.
          I like Eddie as a backup, but I certainly would call him impressive this season…

          1. He played more than two friendlies and he started well. There is also an eye test part of it where he looked great. I was implying he started well.

        2. But it’s up to Eddie to prove me wrong
          If we are in November and he’s got 0 Prem gaols you can’t blame fans for saying he needs to do better

  3. Replacing Saka with Nelson was a good decision from Arteta, because Nelson would likely try to reach the byline instead of cutting inside. The unexpected change seemed to have ruined Nottingham Forest’s game plan a little

    However, I don’t think Nelson will thrive on the right wing, which was the position Willian failed to own at Arsenal. I’d like to watch him return to the left wing against Zurich, where he can cut inside easily from as Martinelli and Sanchez did

    If Nelson manages to get a new contract, Arsenal could train Smith-Rowe to be Xhaka’s successor and as an alternative to Odegaard

  4. Glad to see Nelson have a good game, but so far that’s what it is, one game. Hopefully he can use it as a platform to become an impact sub, maybe competition for starts as the season progresses.

    I like the call by Arteta in choosing Nelson. Nketiah was given chances earlier but struggled to produce when called upon.

    It’s not bashing Nketiah, it’s just stating the obvious. He doesn’t get many starts because he struggles to produce when called on by the manager.

    For me Nelson seemed to have a different mentality this match. Something he hasn’t shown when given a chance before. Maybe a confidence or determination that was previously missing

  5. I think for Nelson, it’s a case of one man’s poison is another man’s food to eat and survive last Saturday in the Epl at the Emirates Stadium. When Saka went off in the match injured. And Nelson replaced him to come on in the match. And twice scored and assisted another goal for Arsenal. But all thanks must first go to the Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, for given Nelson the chance to star and shine for Arsenal in the match.
    And as time goes on, Arteta will give Nelson more opportunities in the Epl and other competitions to play and star and shine for Arsenal again, again and agains.

  6. I’ve always really liked Reiss and stood up for him even when my friends say he’s washed up. I really hope this is the season he kicks off granted he’s given a chance

  7. Nelson was the most like-for-like replacement and that is what was needed early in a match so we could keep our shape.

    I think he is even more similar to Martinelli,a skillful player who can go wide or cut inside.

    I like Nketiah but Nelson is a much better option wide

  8. He played well overall although his goals were not particularly impressive.

    The first, he did well to control it with one touch in the box and got an open-goal opportunity… which he hit straight at the keeper. He was lucky the keeper batted it straight back to him and he then seemed to just hit it goalwards and it went in.

    The second goal – he did well to make the run and from there it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time, instinctive finish, no thinking required.

    Sometimes things like that instill some confidence and players kick on and show real improvement on the big stage, we can only hope that’s the case for Nelson. The jury in my head is still out.

  9. I just wish this the beginning of Nelson career in the club. Thank you Arteta for giving him the chance and I hope he will grab it.

  10. The fact that Forrest were faced with a right footed right winger seemed to take them by surprise as virtually every team in the EPL uses a left footer on the right.I remember the days when wingers were played on their natural side and created havoc by taking on the fullback on the outside drawing out ponderous centre halves who had to resort to all manner of dirty tricks to avoid being skinned.The predictability of the inverted right winger has outlived its usefulness in my opinion and with this in mind I do hope Nelson can become a flagbearer for a return to wingers who can create space out wide without having to double back into a congested area.I believe we are interested in a right winger from Uruguay who I have never heard of or seen.He wouldn’t happen to be left footed?

    1. Grandad, 22 years ago today The Arsenal lost one of those wingers, the great George Geordie Armstrong, who collapsed and died at the training ground. A winger who could play on either wing and could cross the ball with either foot.

      RIP Geordie.

  11. agree with you Dan on Nelson, every bit of it. He has really grabbed the opportunity with both hands and I only hope he will be consistent and succeed both for himself and the Club in particular. That said, I disagree regarding your assessment of Willock. Willock was a good to decent midfielder who could score goals from midfield, dribble efficiently and technically sound. Because he didnt get the playing time which in my mind he deserved, he went to a Club which respected his talent and gave him regular playing time and he is doing very well there. However much we may dislike Newcastle because of their affiliation to oil and blood money, there is no doubting the fact that Eddie Howe has definitely improved players under him, playing good football and winning matches consistently to be placed in the top 4, even Pep has recognised their achievements. Also on Nketiah, I feel this is the last season wherein he has the best chance to prove himself else I am sure Arsenal will look for another striker for backup/rotation with Jesus.

    1. I agree , Eddie Howe has improved lots of players and did an sensational job with the Cherries
      One notion I don’t follow ( and it’s apparent on JustArsenal ) is we seem to protect players on the basis that if they are on the bench it means they don’t get an opportunity ( might have inspired an article lol )

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