Akpom still has some way to go to prove he can succeed at Arsenal


Zimbio.com

Zimbio.com

It was one of the more bizarre statistics relating to any Arsenal player. Going into this season, Chuba Akpom was yet to score a goal in senior football, despite having amassed over 20 appearances during his loan spells at Brentford, Coventry City and Nottingham Forest, as well as his fleeting outings at senior level for the Gunners.

Akpom broke that duck in emphatic style by commencing his latest loan spell, with Championship side Hull City, by scoring on his debut against Huddersfield Town.

Since then, however, the striker has found the net just twice more for his temporary side, suggesting that there is still some way to go before he can lay a genuine claim to being Arsenal future centre-forward.

Akpom has long been earmarked as a potential star at Arsenal. He was a regular in the U21s at the age of 16 and has been called up by Arsene Wenger for the first-team on several occasions.

Now aged 20, however, it is time for the forward to really make substantial strides in his career. His lack of goals aside, there have been some encouraging signs during his time with Hull. Akpom’s lively presence has seen him cause numerous problems for opposition defenders, whilst he has also created several chances for his team-mates.

Akpom has also been progressing on the international scene, with the forward having recently broken in the England U21 squad, having previously represented his country at various other age groups.

Akpom’s potential prompted Arsenal to award the forward a new long-term deal running until 2019, but that is by no means a guarantee that he will still be with the Gunners by then. Progressing as a striker from Arsenal’s youth sides to the first-team is an incredibly difficult task, whilst the club’s increased financial resources for transfers means that there is now a greater chance that Arsenal will sign an elite striker in the future.

Akpom has worked tremendously hard to get to this point, but the most difficult stage of his development is fast approaching. It seems certain that he will go on to have a prolonged career at a relatively high level, but whether it will be with Arsenal remains to be seen.

He is officially part of Arsenal’s first-team squad, and will return to the club next summer eager to prove himself in the first-team. A strong second half of the campaign with Hull, however, would boost his credentials in that regard, whilst it is also up to Akpom himself to prove that he can find the net with regularity in senior football.

There is a possibility that if Hull achieve their aim of gaining promotion back to the Premier League (they are currently top of the Championship) then Akpom could remain with Steve Bruce’s side for a further season in order to test himself fully in the top flight.

Akpom’s progress up until this point has been very quick, but now it is up to the striker to prove that he is capable of making the grade at Arsenal in the long-term.

8 comments

  1. He’s having the same problem as Afobe. Hopefully he can make that step quicker than Benik did.
    Just as Important at Hull is Hayden. He really needs to get a more playing time there, as experience is vital to the DM position.

  2. Wenger had to choose between Afobe and sanogo, he chose sanogo. In the summer he will choose between sanogo and akpom.

    But to be totally fair, for me the most impressive striker always was Afobe, the injury year or so and the recovery period aside he has always delivered.

    Akpom for me still has it all to do, I don’t know what his conversion rate it is? Has he missed many chances? But when you look at his goal stats at the top level he is on par with campbell, chamberlain, sanogo and wellington. He is a bit behind welbeck some way off Walcott and miles behind giroud. Who many people claim is clearly not good enough for arsenal.

    Sure some still have time on their sides, but should arsenal really be fishing in the missed opportunities pond? We need a goalscorer who takes 1 in 3 chances not 1 in 10 or 20

    1. Akpom’s career stats:

      2015/16: 12 (+7) games (in all comps), 35 shots, 16 shots on goal, 3 goals, 0 assists
      2014/15: 5 (+11) gms, 11 sh, 4 sg, 0 gls, 0 assts
      2013/14: 5 (+7) gms, 9 sh, 3 sg, 0 gls, 0 assts

    2. Yes, i’m in that too, Akpom is still far from Benik’s level and he wasn’t good enough for Arsenal. There’s gonna be long way for Chuba if he’s going to make it at Arsenal. I’ve always liked Benik too and would have rather seen him in Arsenal-shirt than Akpom or Iwobi, but it just could be better for Benik and his career to get games week in, week out in the championship.

  3. Some interesting comments re: Akpom/Afobe…
    I always saw Afobe as more a finisher than Akpom, who can play anywhere across the front and behind the striker.
    It’s a shame that we won’t see them playing in tandem for Arsenal…

  4. England U19’s draw 2-2 in Holland. Crowley plays 70 mins and is subbed as England are 2-0 down, Maitland-Niles comes on to help the fight back and assists the second goal

  5. Chuba isn’t having the same problems as Benik. Afobe was all down to injuries, he was successful at Huddersfield and was looking good at Millwall. All spells were bookended by big injuries though. With the squad rules in the PL, Benik pretty much just ran out of time at Arsenal.

  6. I’m with others on this, Afobe always looked the most promising. For all the hype of Chuba, even at the same level, Benik looked far more promising. It was injuries, that killed the beast (that was Benik).

    Somewhat gutted we chose Sanogo over Benik.

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