Arsenal doubled up Dundalk 4-2 to finish its Europa League group stage on Thursday, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners giving chances to a number of un- and little-used players in the win.
U.S. and England youth international Folarin Balogun scored a goal and added an assist as the much-changed Gunners enjoyed a rather open game with their Irish hosts.
Balogun has been a heavy English youth rep with a four-match stint under United States U-18 coach Tab Ramos in 2018 but has not played a ton for Arsenal and is out-of-contract in June. He’s scored at every level and would be an in-demand free agent, but Arteta is hopeful to keep the 19-year-old.
Here’s Mikel Arteta, from Football.London:
“He’s done really well. Every minute that he’s been on that field he’s been superb. Today he scored, a threat again. He set up another one and he looked really lively and mature on the pitch.
“We’re having some discussions with the player he knows we want to retain him at the club. We know that the length of his contract at the moment is an issue, but we’re trying to resolve it in the best possible way. We want him to stay he said to me he wants to stay at the club, so hopefully we can reach an agreement and extend his contract.”
Two in two for the Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun! pic.twitter.com/KazDkLpPOo
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) December 10, 2020
Edward Nketiah and Mohamed Elneny scored first half goals as Arsenal led 2-1 at the break and 4-1 after Balogun came off the bench to assist Joe Willock and reap the rewards of a Nicolas Pepe assist in the 80th minute.
Emile Smith-Rowe had an assist to give him a goal or assist in three-straight UEL matches, while 19-year-old Ben Cottrell and 18-year-old Miguel Azeez made senior debuts off the bench.
Arteta is hopeful that the fine showing will lead to a needed Premier League win come Sunday against Burnley (Watch live at 2:15 pm ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
[ MORE: Arsenal – Burnley preview ]
The Gunners have taken one point from their last four PL matches.
“We just need the result,” Arteta said. “I have zero doubts about the boys are going to respond. How we are going to try. How involved everybody’s going to be to support the team and after we have to put it and get the three points in our locker.”