Eddie Nketiah bails out Arsenal and gives Arsene Wenger hope after teenager’s fairytale Gunners’ debut

Eddie Nketiah – remember the name.

Arsenal fans certainly will after he went from little-known teenage hopeful to toast of the Emirates against Norwich in the blink of an eye.

Nketiah, 18, scored the equaliser with his fairytale first touch just 15 seconds after coming on in the 85th minute and then completed his incredible rescue act with the winner six minutes into extra time.

By then the 18 year-old’s every involvement was already being greeted by cries of ‘Eddie, Eddie’ as, in a competition in which Arsene Wenger likes to blood youngsters, another potential new star was born.

Home debuts don’t come much better than this one enjoyed by Nketiah – the first player born after Arsenal scorer born after Wenger’s 1996 appointment – who showed just why Arsenal have such high hopes for him.

Eddie Nketiah wields away in celebration after the first goal (Image: Shaun Botterill)
Nketiah celebrates finding the net for the winner (Image: Kent Gavin Daily Mirror

Wenger might have felt tempted to join in the serenading of Nketiah – released by Chelsea for being too small in 2015 – whose brace earned Arsenal a quarter-final place.

His heroics saved Arsenal from an embarrassing first Home league cup defeat to lower league opposition since 1983 and kept Wenger’s hopes of finally completing his set of domestic trophies alive.

Wenger said: “I know that he has the quality but when the team needs you and you can deliver that is another quality that you don’t know until you put the player on.

“I am impressed to think he was not even conceived when I was already here. Hopefully he will make a long career at Arsenal.

“I don’t know why Chelsea let him go but we are happy to have him.

“I can’t remember an impact like that from a young player. When he scored I felt happy for him.”

Nketiah joined Arsenal from Chelsea (Image: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Wenger’s side got out of jail thanks to the young debutant (Image: AFP)

Daniel Farke’s Norwich will be kicking themselves for allowing Nketiah to even had the chance to be Arsenal’s hero.

The Championship side should have been out of sight long before Nketiah announced himself with an exciting and unforgettable cameo.

Norwich should have been playing against 10 men too for most of the second half after Mohamed Elneny was booked rather than sent off for a last-man foul on Nelson Oliveira and they also had a couple of penalty shouts waves away.

Wenger was forced to take “a big gamble” and turn to Nketiah with his lacklustre second string struggling for inspiration and heading out after Josh Murphy had chipped Norwich into a 34th minute lead.

Josh Murphy put Norwich into the lead (Image: Action Images via Reuters)
Nketiah didn’t disappoint after Murphy, twice, and Mario Vrancic missed chances to kill the game.

His first dream moment arrived seconds after he stepped onto the pitch when he turned in Francis Coquelin’s flick on from Theo Walcott’s corner.

And then Nketiah – so small his family call him Little Eddie – showed his misfiring teammates how it was done again by climbing above 6ft 4in Timm Klose to score a towering match-winning header from Elneny’s corner.

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