Sunday 15 September 2019

Arsene Wenger can't resist cheeky dig at Chelsea after 18-year-old super sub Eddie Nketiah saves Arsenal

Arsenal's Edward Nketiah (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal last night
Arsenal's Edward Nketiah (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal last night Newsdesk Newsdesk

Arsene Wenger joked he has no idea why Chelsea let Eddie Nketiah leave after the 18-year-old came off the bench to hit a brace on his home debut for Arsenal.

The England Under-19 international proved the difference as the Gunners came from behind to beat Norwich 2-1 after extra-time and take their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

Josh Murphy had given the Canaries a surprise lead at the Emirates Stadium but Daniel Farke's side missed a number of chances to seal a famous win before Arsenal hit back.

Wenger, who made 11 changes from the side that won 5-2 at Everton on Sunday, turned to Nketiah with five minutes to go and the youngster, who left Chelsea's academy at 14, responded with an equaliser just 15 seconds after entering the fray.

That sent the tie to extra-time where Nketiah, who had played one minute of senior football before Tuesday's game, headed home Mohamed Elneny's corner to send Arsenal through to the last eight.

"I brought him on because we needed to score goals and he can score goals. In the end we had eight strikers on the pitch," Wenger said. "I knew he had quality, but when the team need you and you deliver, that's another quality you don't know about until you go on to the pitch.

"Hopefully he'll have a long career at Arsenal. We're proud to give chances to young players, it's part of our DNA, and we want to continue to do that. I don't know why exactly Chelsea let him go or if he decided to leave, but young players more and more nowadays travel from one club to another. We're happy to have him.

"I can't remember a young player having such an impact in a game like that. Until he came on we lacked ideas and creativity."

Thierry Henry, Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer, was one of a number of thrilled onlookers. "What a night for EddieNketiah9. So happy for him and not surprised at all!" he wrote on Twitter.

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