TALLINN, ESTONIA - SEPTEMBER 02 : Albert Sambi Lokonga midfielder of Belgium during the European Qualifying World Cup Qatar 2022 group E match between Estonia and Belgium on September 2, 2021 in Tallinn, Estonia, 2/09/2021 ( Photo by Philippe Crochet / Photonews via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta praise Sambi Albert Lokonga for Arsenal display against Norwich

Arsenal got their season up and running with a 1-0 win over Norwich City yesterday, courtesy of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang effort.

It was a huge result and a welcome relief for manager Mikel Arteta, who had seen his side struggle all season long to get anything going. The Gunners rode their luck at times, but overall, just about deserved the three points.


Arteta opted to go with Aaron Ramsdale in net. While in midfield, Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey’s inability to do 90 minutes yet meant Sambi Albert Lokonga was given another go.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The summer signing has been thrust into the action for the Gunners. And in fairness to him, he’s done little wrong so far.

What On Earth Is Going On At Benfica?!

And speaking after the game, Arteta told reporters that he was impressed with Lokonga and what he brought to the table.

“Sambi came in from Belgium with a tight hamstring and only trained half a day. The way we wanted to play, we didn’t have options because players were injured or suspended in midfield and we were really short because Emile wasn’t available to play either,” Arteta told Arsenal’s official website.

“Sambi made a big effort to play here and that is one of the reasons when I tell you how much these boys want to do it and nobody is hiding in difficult moments. They just want to get over the line and he showed a good example.”

TBR’s View: Lokonga to be a star in the long-term for Arsenal

It is early days for Lokonga with Arsenal. But if you had to judge the decision to sign him now, then you’d have to say it’s a good one.

So far, he looks to have adapted well to life in London. Crucially, he looks committed to the cause and eager to impress. That will rub off on his teammates, and hopefully see the Gunners pick up more wins.

It was a must-win against Norwich. And while it wasn’t pretty, Lokonga helped Arsenal get the job done.

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