Arsenal star Balogun hits sublime hat-trick to surpass Mbappe

Arsenal sign Jorginho from Chelsea

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Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun has netted a hat trick for Stadt de Reims in their 4-2 win over Lorient as he makes the most of his loan spell in France. The 21-year-old has now surpassed Kylian Mbappe to go top of the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts after finding the net 14 times this season. 

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta decided to allow the Englishman to leave the club on loan over the summer as he sought to give the promising youngster more game time. He has been on excellent form for Reims across the course of the campaign with some fans calling for him to be recalled in January after Gabriel Jesus’ knee injury. 

However, Arteta stuck to his guns as he did not want to jeopardise the player’s progress. He has now been justified in his belief with Eddie Nketiah currently leading the Gunners frontline with aplomb while Balogun continues to excel in France. 

His hat trick against Lorient is the highlight of his time across the channel so far with the three goals sending him top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts over Mbappe. He has now found the net 14 times this season with the Frenchman one goal behind on 13 at the time of writing. 

The result was Reims eight-game unbeaten in all competitions as they backed up their 1-1 draw with PSG last weekend. They did not make things either for themselves either with Lorient taking a two-goal lead through strikes from Enzo Le Fee and Ibrahima Kone. 

However, William Still’s men rallied afterwards. Balogun reduced the deficit from the spot before half-time with Kamory Doumbia levelling the scoring shortly after the teams returned to the field. The Arsenal loanee then found the net twice more to seal the impressive victory. 

The club are currently 11th in Ligue 1 and Balogun has been central to everything they have done so far this season. The England U-21 international has been directly involved in 57% of his side’s goals over the course of the campaign and his teammates could feasibly be in the midst of a relegation battle without him. 

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Balogun’s hat trick caps off an excellent week after it was his late goal that had levelled the game with PSG. His manager Still was full of praise for him after the match suggesting he was already the full package. 

“He is a super complete striker,” Still said. “He is able to play with his back to goal, in depth. It is technically very clean. He scores, he is decisive.”

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