Eddie Nketiah stars, Jack Wilshere gets 7/10 as Arsenal avoid Norwich slip

Eddie Nketiah, 18, made a name for himself on Tuesday by coming off the bench to bag a brace and help Arsenal through to the next round of the Carabao Cup by defeating Norwich City 2-1.

The Gunners fell behind when Josh Murphy raced clear of the defence to clip over debutant goalkeeper Matt Macey. With the hosts struggling for fluency, Arsene Wenger turned to substitute striker Nketiah, and he immediately delivered, bundling home the equaliser with his first touch. The England U19 international wasn't done there, rising highest to power home a header in extra time and put Arsenal in front.


What a night this was for Nketiah. Having been released by Chelsea earlier on in his young career, he has thrived in Arsenal's academy sides and is very highly thought of by Wenger. Arsenal have had young, promising English strikers before, like Benik Afobe and Chuba Akpom, but none has been able to make this kind of impact.

Wenger will also be hugely pleased to have seen Jack Wilshere come through 114 minutes of action unscathed. That kind of contribution effectively rules him out of the weekend's match with Swansea, but could prove invaluable as he continues is rehabilitation.


Arsenal's performance was not one to be proud of. Wenger will be pleased his team fought back to ensure progression, but after a frustrating night against Red Star Belgrade, this was another disappointing outing for the second string.

Wenger does not put much stock in the captain's armband, but Theo Walcott's diabolical display made a mockery of the decision to make him the skipper.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Ultimately, when a manager fields an XI like this, he is taking a calculated gamble. Wenger will argue the decision just about came off. He certainly deserves credit for the timely introduction of Nketiah -- not every manager would have shown faith in an 18-year-old at such a crucial stage of the game.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Matt Macey, 6 -- The young goalkeeper's most obvious asset is his height, so it was disappointing to see him lobbed so easily for Murphy's goal. However, he did go some way towards making amends shortly afterwards with an excellent low save to deny Nelson Oliveira.

DF Mathieu Debuchy, 6 -- It's good to see Debuchy afforded playing time once more. After all, Arsenal continue to pay his wages, they might as well get some use out of him. He wasn't perfect on the night, but he was probably the most accomplished of Arsenal's central defenders. That said, he was arguably lucky to escape conceding a penalty after a clumsy challenge in extra time.

DF Mohamed Elneny, 5 -- When Arsenal have possession, fielding a natural ball-player as the third centre-half looks like a wise move. Out of possession, Elneny's limitations are exposed. He was extremely lucky to avoid a red card after bringing Oliveira down when he was clear on goal. We are yet to see anything to suggest that Elneny is anything more than an emergency defender.

DF Rob Holding, 6 -- Holding's best performances for Arsenal have come alongside experienced centre-halves like Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. When the other two central defenders are a converted midfielder and a repurposed right-back, he understandably looks a little more lost.

MF Reiss Nelson, 6 -- While Nelson's technical quality is obvious, he has generally struggled to influence games from his unfamiliar right-wing-back role.

MF Francis Coquelin, 6 -- It seems mad to think that just a few months ago Coquelin was an automatic starter at Arsenal. While still as committed as ever, his limitations seem to become clearer with each passing week. However, he did provide the crucial flick before Nketiah's late equaliser.

MF Alex Iwobi, 6 -- Curiously, Wenger chose to deploy Iwobi deeper in central midfield with Wilshere playing higher up. It's not the first time the Nigerian has been asked to play that role, although it's tended to be in the final stages of matches with Arsenal chasing the game. Wenger must believe he has the potential to be a box-to-box midfielder, but thus far there has been little evidence to suggest that could ultimately be his best position. He was probably more effective when asked to fill in at left-wing-back.

MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 6 -- In the build-up to this game, Wenger spoke at length about Maitland-Niles, praising his versatility and suggesting he is knocking on the door of the first team. That still looks a stretch, but this was at least a more confident performance from the young utility player. Perhaps Wenger's words had the desired effect.

FW Theo Walcott, 4 -- Wenger has always been quick to praise Walcott's movement off the ball, but in recent weeks his timing has been well off. All too often, Walcott's sprints in behind have prompted the assistant referee to raise the flag for offside. Perhaps rustiness has hurt Walcott's timing.

FW Jack Wilshere, 7 -- With Granit Xhaka badly out of form, many fans thought Wenger might use this game to let Wilshere audition for a spot as Arsenal's deep-lying playmaker. Instead, Wenger chose to deploy him as a No. 10 for most of the game, suggesting that is where he sees Wilshere playing from now on. The Englishman didn't have his best game, but coming through 114 minutes is a major milestone for him.

FW Olivier Giroud, 4 -- For much of the first half, Wilshere was visibly frustrated with Giroud, imploring the Frenchman to offer more movement in the final third. The fact he was outshone by the likes of Akpom and Nketiah speaks volumes.


FW Chuba Akpom, NR -- Came on for Maitland-Niles in the 70th minute for just the 11th senior appearance of his Arsenal career. He actually deserves some credit for injecting some life into the Arsenal team.

FW Eddie Nketiah, NR -- Replaced Nelson on 85 minutes and immediately bundled home the equaliser. Once the game went into extra time, he put Arsenal in front with a towering header. If he was to get a rating, it would have to be a nine or a ten. This was a huge night for the Arsenal youngster.

MF Josh Dasilva, NR -- Was introduced at left wing-back in the 105th minute after Iwobi suffered cramp.

MF Joe Willock, NR -- Came on late to give Wilshere a much needed breather in the 114th minute.