Arsenal have a lengthy injury list as they prepare for their opening game in the Champions League against Marseille but with several first team members ruled out it could be a huge opportunity for youngsters Chuba Akpom and Isaac Hayden to make an impact.
Both young men are expected to start the game on the substitute's bench after being included as part of the 18-man squad that will travel to France for this crucial encounter.
With the likes of Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Mikel Arteta ruled out, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been forced to rely on the club's impressive academy.
Both Akpom and Hayden regularly featured in the NextGen series last season, whilst also representing Arsenal in the U21 Premier League despite their young age.
Hayden, 18, is a versatile and powerful performer who is equally comfortable playing as a holding midfielder as he is in the heart of defence. Having originally joined from Southend he has quickly established himself as one of the best defensive minded players at the club.
It is unlikely that he will be needed against Marseille but the experience of travelling with the first team for a massive European game will only help the youngster in the long run.
While Hayden may bot feature, Akpom, 17, may well have another chance to demonstrate his talent after making his Premier league debut in the 3-1 win over Sunderland just last weekend.
The powerful striker has excelled at youth level, scoring 21 goals in all competitions last season, and suddenly finds himself competing with Nickas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo for the job as back up to Olivier Giroud.
While Bendtner has the experience, his two seasons away from the club may work against him, while Sanogo will surely take some time to adjust to playing in England after his move from France.
Akpom will hope to suitably impress Wenger while training with the first team, and should he be presented with an opportunity against Marseille then it could be just the chance he needs to make a major statement.
The hunger these players have to impress will only help the club in the long run and Wenger may find that by promoting from within he can still produce a side capable of competing for trophies.
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