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Arsenal find a new hero in 18-year-old Nketiah as he scores twice on home debut

If you don’t believe in fairytales, then this will surely change your mind. By the final whistle the Arsenal fans were chanting ‘Eddie, Eddie, Eddie’.

Right now you’ll be racking your brains thinking, ‘Eddie who?’ Eddie Nketiah, that’s who.

Hopefully the 18-year-old — known to his loved ones as ‘Little Eddie’ — goes on to fulfil his potential. 

But even if he doesn’t, he’ll always have this night. The night he was Arsenal’s hero, the darling of the Emirates Stadium.

In only his second appearance as a senior professional, the youngster scored a dramatic late equaliser with his first touch after coming on as an 85th-minute substitute.

And as if that wasn’t romantic enough, Nketiah — who becomes the first Arsenal goalscorer born after Arsene Wenger took over in 1996 — notched the winner in extra-time. Utterly breathtaking.

‘I’m impressed that he wasn’t even conceived when I was already here,’ joked Wenger. ‘But life gives chances to young people. I can’t remember a time when a young player has made such an impact.

‘He has shown he has the quality, but we saw he also has the quality that, when your team needs you, you deliver.

‘That’s a quality you don’t know until you put them on the pitch. Let’s not be too quick (to talk Nketiah up), but he has top quality.’

Credit to Norwich, who were excellent. Had they taken their chances, Nketiah’s late leveller would have been mere consolation.

Canaries boss Daniel Farke pointed to the fact Mohamed Elneny escaped what looked a stonewall red card and being denied a late penalty after James Husband was brought down by Mathieu Debuchy as reasons why his side were left heartbroken.

There was further debate in the tunnel after the final whistle over whether Arsenal had broken EFL rules by introducing a fourth substitute in extra-time after only using two during regulation time.

But, in the end, Norwich didn’t stand a chance. This was fate, Nketiah’s date with destiny. The stadium announcer had unintentionally introduced Norwich as arch-rivals Ipswich in the lead-up to kick-off.

The slip of the tongue sparked roars of laughter from the home supporters. But it was Norwich fans who were smiling at the end of the first half.

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