Reiss Nelson is a Europa Conference League finalist after winning the battle of Arsenal loanees against Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba thanks to Feyenoord’s gutsy performance to keep out Marseille.
With the Dutch side shading the first-leg 3-2 – where Nelson claimed an assist for Luis Sinisterra to make it 2-0 after just 20 minutes played with a pass that was described as ‘perfect‘ by the BT Sport commentary team – it was set up for an epic decider inside the Stade Velodrome on Thursday night.
Although the game finished goalless, it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying from the hosts but they just couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Feyenoord side, with Nelson showing that he can put in a defensive shift down the right-hand side as well as posing a threat going the other way.
From committing a tactical foul on Guendouzi to showing great tenacity to atone for a misplaced pass to race back and stop a Marseille attack to creating a couple of shooting opportunities for his teammates, it was certainly an all-action display from the winger.
As expected, once the final whistle blew, Nelson joined the rest of the Feyenoord players and staff by celebrating with their fans who had made the trip to France to witness the team reach a major European final for the first time since 2002.
Although Guendouzi would have been disappointed at going out at the semi-final stage, he put his emotions to one side to seemingly congratulate his fellow Arsenal loanee on the achievement.
As spotted and uploaded to Twitter by the Feyenoord social media team, the caption reads: ‘A Gunner respects a Gunner‘.
Now, the Frenchman won’t be an Arsenal player for much longer as he’s already agreed to join Marseille permanently, but a decision regarding Nelson will be made in the summer with the 22-year-old using the competition to send manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu a timely reminder of his qualities ahead of the transfer window.
His focus at present is on being potentially 90 minutes away from winning a major European honour and after taking to Instagram to reflect on reaching the final, he received messages from Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka, Omar Rekik and former Gunners captain Robin van Persie.
With that said, whilst Nelson has won this battle of the Arsenal loanees, another one awaits in the final later this month as he will come up against Ainsley Maitland-Niles after Roma overcame Leicester City in the other semi-final thanks to a first-half goal from Tammy Abraham.