Arsenal vs Marseille NextGen Review: Chuba Akpom's Brace Powers 3-0 Victory

Matthew SnyderAnalyst IIIAugust 29, 2012

Terry Burton, tasked with leading Arsenal's U-19 side into the inaugural NextGen competition, which casts 24 European clubs into a Champions League-style competition, had spoken of the importance of his players seizing this opportunity to impress Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal first-team boss has said he plans to attend every game, and he had to have liked what he saw in Wednesday night's consummate 3-0 victory over Olympique Marseille at Underhill.

Chuba Akpom fired in two goals after Nico Yennaris opened the scoring, and Arsenal enjoyed a dominant performance over the visitors, who rarely threatened.

Burton had named a strong side for the club's opening game in the competition, which has pitted them in a Group Six that also consists of Olympiacos and Athletic Bilbao. (Athletic were 4-0 winners over the Greeks earlier in the evening.)

Stuart Moore, signed on emergency loan this past week after Reice Charles-Cook and Josh Vickers suffered injuries, started in goal for the Gunners.

It was Moore's second start in a row, after making his debut for the U-21s this past weekend in a 3-0 home victory over Blackburn.

The back four consisted of Hector Bellerin, Martin Angha, Sead Hajrovic and Elson Monteiro, with the midfield composed of Yennaris, who captained, Kristoffer Olsson and Jon Toral and a forward line of Kyle Ebecilio, Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom.

Rob Kelly, covering the game for the club's official website, picked out midfielder Jon Toral, fullback Bellerin, winger Serge Gnabry alongside Akpom and Yennaris as some of the most impressive performers on the night.

Akpom, praised for his performances in the first two U-21 matches this season (he's developing a terrific understanding with Gnabry up top), provided the industry with a bursting run on the left flank, where he cut back a pass for the onrushing Yennaris, who touched home from close range to open the scoring.

Akpom would get onto the score sheet minutes later. Gnabry once again turned provider, capitalizing upon a Marseille mistake in the final third to tee up his teammate for a neat finish to make it 2-0.

Olsson would provide the assist for Akpom's third, which the latter slotted home to round off the scoring in the 83rd minute.

Mixed in-between were some sublime spurts of football, with Kelly picking out a "sensational movement" late in the first half that involved a host of different players and came inches from turning into a goal.

It was a statement from Burton's side, and a perfect start to the competition. Next up for the Gunners is another home match against Athletic Bilbao on September 6. Given the two side's respective starts, it's already shaping up to be a thriller.