Arsenal starlet Reiss Nelson has today opened up on his hopes for the coming season, as well as the impression summer signing Nicolas Pepe has made on the club’s squad.
Arsenal emerge victorious
Unai Emery’s men travelled to St. James’ Park for their first outing of the new season on Sunday afternoon.
The matchup marked an important one in the Gunners’ hopes of keeping pace with their top-6 rivals early on, after all of Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham picked up respective wins over the previous 48 hours.
And, when all was said and done on Tyneside, Arsenal managed to get the job done.
A cagey affair, during which both sides largely struggled to carve out opportunities, was eventually decided courtesy of a solitary strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
A brilliantly-timed interception on the halfway-line on the part of Ainsley Maitland-Niles just before the hour mark saw the versatile youngster break free down the right, before picking out the completely unmarked Aubameyang on the edge of the box.
And the Gabonese hitman went on to do exactly what he has done for the last 18 months, since first pulling on an Arsenal jersey.
A perfect first touch was followed by an equally-exquisite finish, as ‘Auba’ lofted the ball over the onrushing Martin Dubravka to hand his side all 3 points.
‘Prepared all the time’
Aside from the Gunners getting their season off to a superb start this past weekend, another key talking point surrounding their win at St. James’ was the opportunity afforded to some of the club’s young stars.
Unai Emery opted to start Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson versus Newcastle, with both having impressed.
As such, speaking in an interview with the Evening Standard earlier today, Nelson was inevitably questioned on his start to the campaign, as well as his hopes for the rest of the season.
The 19-year-old explained:
‘For me, I just want to take things as they come. I went away in Germany and I think I did well. But the main goal for me has always been playing in an Arsenal shirt week in, week out.’
‘The boss told me on Wednesday I would be starting and to get mentally prepared. It was a great gesture from the boss and I’m just happy to be back playing in Arsenal colours.’
‘I need to be prepared all the time for whenever I get the call-up because I know it’s not guaranteed I’m going to be starting week in, week out with the team-mates we have.’
‘Such a great addition’
Nelson was then drawn on the competition for places in Arsenal’s squad, as well as the impression made by club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, after the Ivorian was introduced off the bench for his competitive debut on Sunday:
‘We have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette. They are great stars and I’m still only young. So I need to sit back and when I get my chance, take it.’
‘He’s (Pepe) been such a great addition. We’re so happy to have him. He’s always scoring or creating goals. But off the ball he’s also working very hard for the team and as a striker that really helps people like me and everyone else alongside him.’
‘He’s settled in well and he looks a really good addition. We saw little glimpses on Sunday on the pitch and you could see he has the flair we need on the right-hand side. He can cut inside and shoot as well, so he’s a great addition.’
‘I think this season can be very exciting. We have all the new additions and that can only help us in the long run.’