Should Arsenal start with Akpom against Middlesbrough?

I first thought it was a bit strange that Arsene Wenger dropped Olivier Giroud to the bench against Leicester in midweek, and even more surprised that Alexis was moved into the centre-forward position, but Le Boss reckons hat many of his Arsenal team were suffering from fatigue after the Spurs game.

I know Wenger now has a big squad to keep happy, but surely he would have been better to have played Chuba Akpom in the centre as he is desperate to get his first goal for the Gunners. The 19 year-old was put on against Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago and I thought he looked very hungry and put himself in his great scoring positions in his short time on the pitch.

Akpom signed a new contract after that game to stop him being poached in the summer, and he has admitted he felt comfortable and was welcomed by his team-mates, who were definitely trying to get his name on the scoresheet. “It’s amazing,” he told “It’s a striker’s dream to play with Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and those world-class players in the squad. They care about you on the pitch – they want you to get goals, they’re looking for you.

“They’re not selfish players. They’re good lads as well, genuinely nice people and you can only improve training and playing with those types of players.

“They were trying to set me up against Aston Villa. I appreciate that and I’ve just got to make the right forward runs to score and create opportunities for the team. I’m just getting used to it really and I’m just hoping for more minutes and learning every game.

“It’s really hard physically, mentally, everything. To make the step from the reserves to the first team is really hard as well, so it’s going to take a while to get used to but I’m really enjoying it and most importantly I think I’m capable of it.”

Arsenal have a history of playing his younger players in cup games,and I certainly believe that Akpom is set for a star-studded future. So should Wenger give him a start against Middlesbrough?

Tags Akpom Aston Villa Giroud


  1. It depends on the rest of the lineup.

    No problem with starting Akpom so long as Wenger does change all of the other players also. Too many non-regulars could be a big risk.

  2. To me that guy is far better both welbeck and giroud…all he needs is game time.
    I like it when he says good players like Rosicky and Carzola b’se those are among the few top players we have.
    I believe in Akpom

    1. Giroud is our best CF regardless, akpom have the potential to be better than him in the future but to say he is now without even a goal, is going too far. The kid reminds me of the king.

  3. After our last 2 performances fear has creped in and I would want us to have less experiments especially in our most realistic trophy target this season.

    I would prefer OG or the fresh Welbeck to start, bring on Akpom from the bench depending on how the game is going. We cant mess up this opportunity, this will seem like a cup final to Boro and if we approach the game like the last one we might not be so lucky.

    Chambers Mert Kos/Gabriel Gibbs
    Flamini/Coq TR7
    Theo Carzola Ozil/Welbeck

  4. play all three of them.. giroud, akpom and welbeck, whoever underperforms get subbed for good! also play all three goalies..

    Scz, ospina, martinez
    theo ozil santi rozzaakpom giroud welbeck (all three playing as cf)

      1. how could i?? 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁
        I must be loosing my memory 🙁 🙁 poor me 🙁 🙁 🙁
        but thanx for the point out pal, u are my new bff

  5. Knowing Wenger’s unpredictability I could see him starting Akpom. Hopefully we’ll also see a Paulista debut. Combination of Cahill’s speed, Kompay’s positioning, and David Luiz athleticism could be one of the best signings Wenger’s made ina long time.

  6. No. Akpom needs to be phased in slowly.
    Akpom is part of Wengers new era team.

    24 Szcz. 25 Ospina. 22 Martinez
    19 Bellerin 22 Jenkinson 24 Debreu
    19 Chambers 20 Hayden 24 Gibbs
    17 Bielik 23 Coqelin
    19 Zelalem 24 Ramsey 23 Wilshere.
    26 Wallcott 25 Sanchez 25 Ozil
    17 Crowley 18 Niles 19 Gnabry 21 Chamberlain
    17 Martin Graiciar 19 Akpom 23 Wellbeck

    To be phased out over the next 2-3 years
    Mertz Kos Monreal Arteta Flamini Rosicky
    Cazorla Giroud Podolski Sanogo Campbell

  7. Good game to gave him a taste. It’ll be either him or Giroud up top so I’d give him the nod for this game. He has fight and desire which against a in-form lower league side is often what you need. Temper that with a good team around him he can act like a great catalyst to push us on.

    1. Thumbed it up by accident. We need to take this game seriously and including a young striker yet to get his first goal could send the wrong message to our players and the other team. Against leic Giroud got no service and other than our goals i couldnt see another goal coming, so to presume that Akpom would have fared better is misguided in my opinion.

      1. I agree that the game should be taken seriously. I still stand by the fact we should give the guy a chance. Even with Akpom up top we can flank him with Welbeck and Theo who ARE known goalscorers. Against higher opposition this would be hard to justify because we’d leave ourselves open defensively. The movement and pace would give Boro alot to deal with however.

        I did not suggest Akpom would have performed better against Leicester. I wouldn’t argue that at all. I’m simply suggesting if the team behind him plays well, he’ll get chances to impress and be a good alternative for this match. The rest of the team needs to perform either way but with a poor team performance I doubt Giroud would pull us up any more then Akpom.

        I take your points and do agree though. Think Striker is just the one position we can afford to be a bit more experimental with right at this second.

  8. Has to be Giroud up top for me.
    It’s a must win game as our only chance to win silverware this season (apart from Girouds award).

    He is strong, and experienced and we need this in our team as it will be a tough game against a physical and capable side.

    Underestimate, start slow, drop off the palace at our peril!

    Still getting over the fact we were ‘fatigued’ against spuds. All goes back to training regimes and rehabilitation. Poor!

    1. This “FATIGUE” excuse is definitely annoying me too. Leicester played a crucial relegation battle three hours AFTER Arsenal played Spurs. Why aren’t Leicester players complaining?

  9. well said, reasons is all people look for 🙁
    Can i ask you something…maybe abit personal? are u a lady?? is that profile pic u???
    Just curious, apologies if i wronged u in any way my lady 🙁

  10. The kid has loads of talent such a game can give him opportunity to shine and boost his confidence. I would like to see how he performs for atleast 60 mins with Theo and Danny on the flanks while Mesut/Santi just behind him. All the team needs is a good balance

  11. OG start. Bring in Akpom around 60-65 depending on how the game is going. He should def. get a good chunk of playing time in this game IMO.

  12. Would love to see Chuba given his opportunity from the start, if he does start the rest of the side should be strong.

    Ozil Santi Rosicky Theo

    Gibbs Kos Gabriel Bellerin


    Prediction 3-0.

  13. Please whatever is done, make sure we WIN

    The FA Cup is our only realistic chance of a trophy.
    Don’t underestimate Middlesborough

    We could play all 3

    Welbeck on left wing and Akpom/Giroud up front in 442

    Realistically, we should try Akpom up front and sub him if he doesn’t perform well.

  14. No please, he has talent for sure but this is a game we dont need to gamble with. Too many changes pose a risk, Wenger has already said that it will be treated like a premier league match. Scezney, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Welbeck, etc are the expected changes in the line up… Apkom may be introduced in the second half when the game is already won.

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