independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Gnabry hopes to help Arsenal cause

Serge Gnabry believes he can make a difference to Arsenal this year

Teenager Serge Gnabry is confident he can have an impact for Arsenal this season.

The 18-year-old midfielder impressed as he was brought back into the starting XI for the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, where his determined run helped set up Santi Cazorla's opening goal.

Gunners vice-captain Mikel Areta has described the combative German as "like a little boxer", and manager Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal youth product Gnabry has what it takes to make it at the highest level.

For now, though, Gnabry - who has a total of nine appearances this season, scoring his first senior goal in the Barclays Premier League win at Swansea - is taking things very much in his stride.

"It was great to have been given a start in such a big game, and I am satisfied with my performance," Gnabry said.

"I tried to have an impact going forwards and am happy that I could help the team to win with the assist for our first goal.

"I hope that I can show what I can do and that the team could need me, from then it is up to the manager."

Gnabry feels he can provide a different option for Arsenal, linking up well with Theo Walcott, who was deployed in a central attacking role against Spurs but suffered a knee injury late on which could sidelined him for a month.

"I have learned a lot from Theo Walcott," Gnabry continued.

"We both are intelligent players and we know what the other will do."

Arsenal are waiting to learn the full extent of Walcott's knee problem, with more tests set for Monday after initial concerns the England forward could have damaged ligaments.

The loss of Walcott - who has scored five goals since returning from a stomach muscle injury - will further deplete Wenger's attacking options, given Nicklas Bendtner is expected to miss all of January with his ankle problem picked up when scoring a late goal in the 2-0 win over Cardiff on New Year's Day.

Should Walcott also be set for an extended spell on the sidelines, then Wenger concedes he will have to bolster the squad with some firepower, although the Arsenal manager continues to maintain a big-money signing during January is notoriously difficult to push through.

The Football Association, meanwhile, are continuing to gather information on the ugly scenes which marred the end to what had been a fiercely contested north London derby.

As he received treatment during the closing stages and was put onto a stretcher, Walcott was pelted with missiles from a section of the travelling Spurs fans behind the Clock End goal, which saw the Arsenal forward respond with "2-0" hand gesture.

Objects - including coins and plastic bottles - were seen to hit medical staff as they carried the player around to the tunnel on the half-way line.

The FA will take in the full match report of referee Mark Clattenburg and also other relevant bodies before deciding whether to launch any disciplinary action.

While Walcott's gesture - described by Wenger as 'non-offensive' - may in itself not lead to a misconduct charge, the general issues over crowd safety could well be examined by the governing body.

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