Arsenal v Fenerbahce: Serge Gnabry's time to shine?

Serge Gnabry Nextgen

Will Serge Gnabry get the chance he has been waiting for in the Champions League?

Arsene Wenger has never been shy about 'throwing in the kids' when a first team opportunity arises, and one such perfect chance is to present itself on Tuesday evening.

Arsenal face Fenerbahce in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier, 3-0 up having done the hard work away in Turkey last week.

While the tie is by no means over, and taking their foot off the gas would be dangerous for the Gunners, you would imagine home advantage would also work in their favour and against any improbable collapse.

So it is in many ways the ideal opportunity to hand a chance to the youngster closest to breaking into the first team, Serge Gnabry.

The young German winger is highly rated at the Emirates, and is on the cusp of the first team - having made his debut in the League Cup last season as a substitute.

He starred for the club's NextGen side as they reached the semi-finals of the tournament, and also impressed in pre-season during Arsenal's tour of Asia.

Gnabry is a versatile winger, who most naturally plays on the right but is also capable on the left too - and that is where he may get more opportunities to establish himself at the club.

He has been an unused substitute in all three of Arsenal's games so far this season, showing how close he is to the first team, and it is no stretch to imagine him coming off the bench against Fenerbahce.

But should he start? 

There is a real case that he should. Gnabry is a highly impressive talent, and there is no evidence he would be weakening Arsenal by featuring.

in fact with the game already practically won, his energy can excite the crowd and lift the whole team, with his talent unlikely to be one Fenerbahce have prepared for.

While Arsene Wneger should not and will not be silly enough to send out an entire second string, giving an opportunity to one fringe player in Gnabry who needs it could well be worthwhile.

The 18-year-old needs games for his development, and his involvement with the first team meant he did not feature in the Gunners' opening under-21 game of the season.

With the NextGen Series cancelled for 2013/14 due to funding issues, Wenger has to decide whether Gnabry will be a part of his first team squad he can turn to, or whether the teenager should be sent out on loan to get regular football.

By handing him an opportunity to show he deserves to stay, the clash against Fenerbahce could just be the perfect time for Gnabry to demonstrate the hype over his talent is justified, and propel the Gunners into the Champions League proper.

Do you agree? Should Gnabry start the game?

image: © NextGen

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