Serge Gnabry scored a Robin van Persie-esque volley for the Arsenal under-21s at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night, capping a fantastic performance in front of a good crowd. This excellent performance for the Gunners' second string shows just why Arsene Wenger rates Gnabry so highly and why he has everything he needs to mount a challenge for Theo Walcott's first-team spot.
Gnabry is considered to be one of Arsenal's brightest young prospects and has already featured for the first team in the Premier League, League Cup and Champions League - putting in a bright cameo in Arsenal's 2-0 home loss to Schalke. His fearlessness, skill with the ball and physical attributes can provide something that the likes of Walcott can't.
Starting from the left wing against West Brom under-21s - who also boasted the experience of senior midfielder Zoltan Gera - Gnabry was busy, skilful and dangerous whenever he found himself against the opposition full-back. Gnabry possesses a strong all-round game and found himself filling in defensively on more than one occasion. Despite just scoring the one goal, Gnabry could have easily had a hat-trick, plus an assist for a one-on-one that Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi put wide.
Admittedly, the quality of the opposition in West Brom's under-21s was not akin to that of the Premier League, but Gnabry's performances in the Champions League against Schalke and against a strong Napoli side in pre-season shows he is getting close to competing at the top level. Attempting an audacious chip against one of the world's top goalkeepers in Pepe Reina illustrates exactly how confident this young lad is.
Comfortable on either flank or behind the main striker, Gnabry's strengths are particularly reminiscent of the attributes Walcott has come under criticism for in recent times. He is decisive, technically gifted and keeps his head up. Similar in stature to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, he is stocky, physical and fiercely competitive.
After a mediocre performance against Ukraine for England and having not scored for seven games for club and country, Walcott is under pressure to perform or have his place taken by the young German. Gnabry has the potential to be everything that Theo Walcott has become - and more.
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