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Reiss Nelson is hoping his Europa League form will earn him a run in Arsenal’s Premier League side after he helped the Gunners ease into the knockout stages with a win at Molde.
The 20-year-old scored the second in a 3-0 victory in Norway to make it four wins from four in Group B for Arsenal.
Nicolas Pepe broke the deadlock as he made amends for his red card at Leeds on Sunday while teenage striker Folarin Balogun netted his first senior goal just 37 seconds after coming off the bench.
The result means Arsenal are through to the round of 32 and can assure themselves top-spot in Group B with a positive result at home to Rapid Vienna next week – a game which will see 2,000 supporters return to the Emirates Stadium for the first time in nine months.
Nelson is likely to feature in that game but will also have an eye on the Premier League visit of Wolves on Sunday.
The England Under-21 international has played just 45 minutes of league football this season and has not started in the competition since scoring in a win over champions Liverpool in July.
But he is looking to the example set by fellow academy graduate Joe Willock – whose performances in Europe saw him rewarded with a start in the draw at Leeds – as manager Mikel Arteta must decide who replaces the suspended Pepe this weekend.
Asked if the Europa League is a competition that can make Arteta take notice, Nelson replied: “Of course.
“Joe is in excellent form and it just shows that if you do your business on the pitch the manager is not afraid to throw you in like he has with Joe and with everyone else.
“You see young Balogun got a goal as well and it is nice to see young prospects coming through and getting the goals.”
Arteta praised Nelson last month for opting against leaving the club on loan during the transfer window and deciding to fight for his place at Arsenal.
Nelson has also started impressing the Spaniard with his determination to learn how to improve.
He is training really, really well and physically he has developed as well. He had a click.
- Mikel Arteta on Reiss Nelson
“He is so willing, he is asking for more all the time,” Arteta said.
“He wants individual meetings, he wants to work on the pitch in certain aspects that we can believe he can improve.
“He is training really, really well and physically he has developed as well. He had a click.
“We needed that click and now it is up to him. His last performances have been really good.”
Nelson’s first European goal for the club could see him come into the team against Wolves, with Arsenal going 476 minutes without scoring from open play in the Premier League.
That is at odds with their Europa League form, having hit 12 goals in their four wins, and Nelson is keen for that sort of record to be carried into other competitions.
“We are through now so it is a pat on the back for us and the hard work continues,” he added.
“We keep going with the young players and the seniors to keep playing well, scoring goals and winning more games.”