Foxy’s Arsenal Loan Watch
Another important week for the Gunners. As the World Cup kicks-off, many players will be experiencing the ecstasy of inclusion or the heartbreak of being left out. Although the major leagues will be going on pause, many minor leagues will continue.
So let’s take a look at Arsenal’s loaned out players over the course of the last seven days
Two of our players were in action:
Nikolaj Möller (FC Den Bosch) and Ovie Ejeheri (Chelmsford City).
The former bagged a brace in an exhilarating 4-4 draw with Jong Ajax in Amsterdam. His first goal, a powerful across-the-box outside-of-foot poke past the goalkeeper, and the second, a dramatic equaliser in the 83rd minute into a relatively open net. In a post-match interview, he stated he was “really, really happy” to score twice, his first goals for FC Den Bosch in the Keuken Kampionen Divisie, since before he “felt like I was a little out of rhythm.”
The win puts Den Bosch fourth in the period table, which they will likely have to win in order to qualify for the promotion play offs. Ovie Ejeheri, on the other hand, fell victim to a 1-0 defeat against Barnet in an FA Cup 1st round replay.
Mazeed Ogungbo (Crawley)
Irish centre-back Mazeed Ogungbo returned to Crawley’s starting XI in the Sussex Senior Cup against Hastings United, after multiple absences due to injury. An uneventful 0-0 draw, and a 4-3 upset on penalties. Maz didn’t take a penalty, but a clean sheet and competitive experience can never be a bad thing.
Nicolas Pépé (OGC Nice) and Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson (Alanyaspor)
Two Gunners were on international duty on Wednesday, Pépé and Rúnarsson
The latter kept a clean sheet for Iceland against Lithuania in the Baltic Cup semi-final, and then saved a penalty in the shootout, taking Strákarnir Okkar to the final. After the match he spoke to mbl.is, saying “It's always good to keep clean regardless of whether it's at home or away. We will definitely take it with us. But there is a lot that we should have done better and can do better.”
Pépé was also involved in Ivory Coast’s 4-0 win over Burundi, coming on for the Elephants in the second half, and scoring their fourth into an open net due to a goalkeeping blunder. He saw the Swallows off only four minutes after being subbed on.
Thursday and Friday: No games
Nikolaj Möller (FC Den Bosch), Alex Kirk (Ayr United), Arthur Okonkwo (Crewe), Tom Smith (Bromley), Tim Akinola (Chesterfield)
Nikolaj Möller’s brace earlier in the week was rewarded with a place in the starting squad against VVV-Venlo. However, the Swede didn’t manage a shot on target, and only attempted a shot once in the match. For a #9, he’ll be disappointed not to maintain his momentum from the last game.
Back in England, Ipswich won 2-0 over Exeter City with Tyreece John-Jules absent. The bad news about his injury was revealed in an interview with manager Kieran McKenna, saying "Tyreece has a hamstring injury and is under specialist review at the moment as to whether it needs surgical repair. It’s quite a major tear which is also very disappointing.” Another player out of action, (who seems to be more often than not) was Omar Rekik.
Up in Scotland, Ayr United drew 2-2 with Inverness. English centre-back Alex Kirk assisted Scottish Championship top scorer, Dipo Akinyemi, to get Ayr back in front, however he was stretchered off in injury time.
Goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo had a MOTM performance, making seven saves and keeping a clean sheet against Swindon, despite the odds being in favour of the opposition.
Another goalkeeper out on loan is Tom Smith (Bromley), who played Dorking Wanderers away from home, and made some sublime stops in a 3-2 victory.
Higher up in the National League is Tim Akinola (Chesterfield), who came on from the bench in the 66th minute against Solihull Moors. He them danced past four defenders, supplying the ball into the box, which found its way to Bailey Clements to fire it into the roof of the net.
There was more international action for Pépé on Saturday, as the winger saw his side upset by The Stallions of Burkina Faso. Elsewhere, Rúnarsson’s Iceland won the final of the Baltic Cup, although not a Baltic state (a guest nation is needed for the knockout format), against Latvia. Rúnar was not included in the 20-man squad selected to play. Ovie Ejeheri (Chelmsford) and Marcelo Flores (Real Oviedo) were unused substitutes in their games, and Mazeed Ogungbo was left out of Crawley’s squad to face Walsall. Miguel Azeez (UD Ibiza) was an unused sub in their 1-0 loss to Villarreal B on Sunday.
For more frequent updates on Arsenal’s loanees, follow me, Foxy, on my Twitter @arsenal_loans