Analyzing Serge Gnabry's Breakout Performance vs. Swansea City
With a strong 2-1 victory over Swansea City on Saturday, Arsenal surged to the top of the EPL table. More important than that surge, however, was the play of 18-year-old midfielder Serge Gnabry, who established himself as a key contributor for the Gunners moving forward.
Arsenal have thrived this season, despite sporting a roster that is ravaged by injuries. Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all sat out on Saturday, which left a considerable void in the Gunners' lineup. Gnabry filled in admirably and proved that he could potentially be the future of Arsenal football.
This was Gnabry's third start for Arsenal in the past week. He was in the lineup for last week's EPL clash with Stoke City, and he also started a Capital One Cup match against West Bromwich Albion. Reviews were mixed for Gnabry in his first two showings, but he was nothing sort of sensational on Saturday.
Gnabry's goal against Swansea didn't turn out to be the game-winning marker due to a late tally by the Jacks, but he opened the scoring with an impressive finish in the 58th minute, as seen in this GIF courtesy of 101 Great Goals:
The dynamic German national found a soft spot in Swansea's defense, took a nifty pass into the box and finished calmly and confidently past Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Gnabry was lifted in the 78th minute in favor of veteran Mikel Arteta, but he made his presence felt and made a case for more playing time in the near future.
Prior to Saturday's match, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger heaped praise onto the exciting youngster, expressing a great deal of confidence in his ability, according to Gary Jones of the Daily Star.
To play in the Premier League today is very seldom for a young boy who is 17 years old. But he has the body to cope with the duels and he is ready to do that.
We have some other boys who have the technical quality to play in the Premier League but are not resistant enough yet to compete physically, but he [Gnabry] has that.
What role will Gnabry play for Arsenal for the remainder of the season?
Wenger's comments suggest that he won't hesitate to turn to Gnabry again if the circumstances call for it. When Arsenal has a full lineup, though, Gnabry won't be counted upon as a key player. Even so, he has established himself as an effective reserve at the very least, and he will be a great insurance policy for Wenger.
Gnabry may be a couple years away from achieving true greatness in the EPL, but getting the opportunity to play big minutes at a high level like he did on Saturday will unquestionably help speed up his development.
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