In Arsenal’s first ever game in the U19 tournament the NextGen Series they took on Marseille in London at Underhill Stadium. The stands were filled with excited Arsenal-fans who got an early look at the future of the club for free. Among them in the stands was Arséne Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and even Arsenal legend Jens Lehmann.
There are already several very good match reports including this one which is the best I have found, so I won’t bother with writing a full match report. The short version is that Marseille were chanceless in a game Arsenal’s U19′s clearly dominated. With exciting players like Gnabry, Olsson, Yennaris and Bellerin in the starting line-up the Arsenal side eased past Marseille winning 3-0.
Many of the Arsenal players had big games, but one had an even bigger game; namely 16 year old Chuba Akpom who scored two of the goals and assisting the third. I was very fortunate to have booked a chat in advance with the exciting striker.
First off, a very impressive game for you personally with 2 goals and 1 assist. What did you make of the game?
Akpom: It was a good game, we played good as a team, everyone dominated in their personal battles, good overall performance.
With Wenger watching from the stands, are you hopeful you’ve impressed him enough to play cup games for the first team this season?
Akpom: I hope so, I think he’ll keep an eye on the NextGen games. I hope to be involved with the first team. This is the best club for youth development.
What do you make of the NextGen tournament in general?
Akpom: This is a great way to put the players in Europe together. It really tests you. Also it’s like a youth champions league. Gives us a taster of how it is for the senior players travelling to different countries and playing against the best in Europe.
And finally, what are your targets for the upcoming season, having only just moved up from the U18′s?
Akpom: My targets are to establish myself in the u21s and hopefully be involved with the first team.
You can follow Chuba Akpom on his Twitter. It’s going to be very exciting to follow the young striker this season, and on behalf of gooners everywhere I wish him the best of luck.