Arsenal V Bournemouth: Pictures
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Arsenal could reap the benefits of having their very own version of Divock Origi over the coming months and years as they look to keep progressing under the guidance of Mikel Arteta and remain at the very top of the Premier League table for as long as possible. The Gunners have been able to mount a surprise title challenge over the course of this season to date and currently sit five points clear of second-placed Manchester City with just 12 games left until the campaign draws to a close.
Arsenal have seemingly replaced Liverpool as City’s main contenders for the Premier League title in recent months, with the Reds having kept the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s men since winning the domestic honours for themselves back in 2020. A major similarity between Arsenal and Liverpool’s squad in years gone by is the presence of a clutch figure with the ability to come off the bench and change the complexion of a match, with Divock Origi doing the business for the Merseyside giants prior to his departure last summer.
Origi did not start regularly for Liverpool but was often able to stamp his authority on proceedings as a substitute, with the Belgian forward providing several important goals before joining AC Milan at the end of last season. His biggest contribution was a dramatic winner against Barcelona as part of Liverpool’s famous Champions League semi-final triumph back in 2019, which helped him to establish himself as a cult hero at Anfield in spite of his back-up role for the Reds.
Arsenal could have a similar asset within their ranks in the form of Reiss Nelson, who left it late to score in stoppage time against Bournemouth on Saturday to help the Gunners come back from two goals down at the Emirates Stadium. His important last-gasp strike from range sparked memories of Origi at Liverpool, which suggests that Nelson could have a similar impact in north London if he manages to stay fit and firing on all cylinders before the season ends.
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Nelson has struggled to break through at Arsenal since graduating from the club’s academy ranks and has spent time on loan at the likes of Hoffenheim and Feyenoord in recent years to varying degrees of success. He has impressed when called upon by Arteta so far this season, though, and will be desperate to maintain his current form over the next 12 matches to help secure the club’s first Premier League title in almost two decades.
The 23-year-old will be out of contract in the summer as things stand but it seems as though he would be open to extending his stay in spite of his bit-part role at the Emirates Stadium after hinting at the possibility of a new deal after Saturday’s crucial victory over Bournemouth.
When asked if he wanted to stay at Arsenal, Nelson replied: “Of course! I’ve been here since I was eight and Arsenal is all I know. I’m only a couple of minutes from the stadium, all my family is there, so of course I’d love to stay.
“I’ve said a few times, I’ve been here since I was eight and I’m 23 now so I’ve been here a long time and I’m Arsenal through and through, so to be playing, even in games just like this I’m delighted. Of course, injuries are just a minor setback, but of course, I just look towards the future and hopefully I can play many more years at the club.”
It remains to be seen whether Nelson will be able to keep popping up with important contributions over the coming months, with his performances likely to have a bearing on whether he stays at Arsenal beyond the end of the current campaign. Only time will tell if he will succeed in emerging as an Origi-like figure at the club as a back-up to the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, although he will have plenty of excellent opportunities to prove his worth to Arteta and his team-mates over the course of the upcoming Premier League run-in.
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