Thoughts on Marquinhos Dream Debut at Norwich
Marquinhos was the first signing Arsenal made this summer, joining the team as a potential replacement for Nicolas Pepe that moved to OGC Nice early in the summer. There was some drama around his acquisition, with Wolverhampton Wanderers claiming that he had signed a pre-contract agreement with them, prior to joining Arsenal and they even threatened legal action. As at when Marquinhos was signed, Arsenal was still heavily linked with a move for then Leeds United’s Raphinha, so he was more or less an understudy for Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal got a glimpse of their new starlet’s ability during preseason, but he had a debut to remember for the club, scoring and assisting in the Europa League win against FC Zurich in the Europa League group stages. He made his Premier League debut in September 2022, coming on as a substitute for Saka in the 3-0 drubbing of Brentford. That game also had a landmark moment for Fabio Vieira, as he opened his Arsenal goalscoring account in that encounter. Marquinhos first outing in front of his home fans was on a beaming Thursday night in the Europa League, when Viking side, Bodo/Glimt, came to town.
As the Europa League group stages reached its twilight, Marquinhos found games hard to come by with Mikel Arteta preferring to use Saka in the second-tier tournament, and he barely made the Premier League squads on a weekly basis. Yes, there were a couple of Under-21 games to stay fit, but Mikel Arteta wanted him to play competitive football, so it was no surprise when Norwich City came calling and Arsenal accepted a loan move for the Brazilian winger.
Norwich City is currently seventh in the SkyBet Championship, just one point below the playoff places, and with 12 games left in the competition, they will want to stay as close as possible near the playoff zone, while hoping the likes of Blackburn, Millwall and Luton Town slip up. Vincent Kompany and his exciting Burnley side are odds on to win the Championship and gain promotion to the Premier League, while Sheffield United isn’t far off in second place for the second automatic promotion spot. Michael Carrick and his Middlesbrough team are sitting pretty in third, and will be breathing down the necks of Sheffield United.
After quite a long wait for his Norwich City debut, Marquinhos, donning the #13 jersey, started on the right wing when Cardiff City came to town. He looked like his usual vibrant self and was keen to impress the home crowd, who were seeing him for the first time. His first major highlight came early on when he latched onto Gabriel Sara’s carefully threaded pass and fired a left-footed shot that went wide off the mark.
Moments later, Marquinhos bagged his first assist when he evaded his marker and cushioned the ball for Gabriel Sara at the edge of the area. The Brazilian, who was Marquinhos’ teammate at Sao Paulo last season, showed glimpses of the chemistry they built up together on the other side of the Atlantic and blasted a piledriver that was too much for the Cardiff goalie to handle. Not long after providing an assist on his debut, Marquinhos scored his first goal when he crept into the box unmarked and attacked Abel Hernandez drilled effort on the byline to finish aplomb, sending the Norwich faithful into rapture.
The game was quite eventful, with Adam Idah, failing to convert, after shimmying past the goalie, who clearly impeded him outside the box. His replacement, Teemu Pukki, had a couple of half chances to score his first goal in Carrow Road since September 2022, but it was not to be for the Finnish forward.
Norwich’s manager, David Wagner, waxed lyrical about Marquinhos’ performance in his post-match press conference,
“We’ve seen enough in training that we have the belief and the confidence to give him the shirt. I think he paid it back.
“You can’t ask for more in your first game than a first start, first goal, first assist, even if we know, and he knows as well, we have a lot of work to do with him. I’m very pleased for him.
“He’s a very calm guy, and a very smart guy as well. He understands football and he understood as well what happened so far.
“We should not forget he is very young, just 19, and when he came here he got injured and it took a little bit of time.
“Now we all together can look forward to working with him.”
Wagner’s comments are echoing what Edu Gaspar said about Marquinhos when he signed him early in the season. Arsenal scouts had watched him consistently and confirmed that he was the real deal, causing the club to let go of £3m, as well as bully Wolves (hahaha) to get his signature.
I hope he gets more game time for Norwich between now and the end of the season, and help them to Premier League qualification, only for them to get relegated next season. It’s a Norwich thing.
Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily.
Visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page.
Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List