Arteta: Benched Nketiah still on track

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Mikel Arteta says he has no worries about Eddie Nketiah’s continued development despite the striker being limited to just nine minutes of first team football since the defeat to Everton over a month ago.

A combination of Alex Lacazette’s form and the return to fitness of Gabriel Martinelli has meant the England under-21 international has spent six of the last seven games as an unused sub. At one point it was mooted the striker could be sold to West Ham to raise vital funds for a squad rebuild while also making room for Folarin Balogun to step into his shoes.

Such talk was quickly quashed by Arteta who maintains full belief in a player who he took a gamble on this time last year.

“You go back one calendar year and compare what he’s done,” said the boss ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Southampton.

“He was coming from Leeds, where he wasn’t playing at all, we were going to send him on loan and I decided not to do it. It’s a big transformation.

“He’s a young player, he’s got some players competing with him in that position but I think he’s done a lot and his development in a year for his position, compared to any other striker his age in Europe, you won’t see many that have played that many minutes.”

Nketiah has five goals and one assist to his name for Arsenal this season and has been a talisman for England at under-21 level, breaking Alan Shearer’s and Francis Jeffers’ scoring record.

Despite a recent spell on the sidelines, Arteta insists the player has the right attitude to star at the highest level.

“He makes sure every day that he’s on track, the way he trains and the way he pushes everybody,” said the Spaniard. “I’m not worried about that.”

Given the games coming up, we wouldn’t be surprised if Eddie gets game time at Saint Mary’s tomorrow.

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Gooner44

Arteta selling dreams to some of these youth players

Johnny 4 Hats

I’m surprised Arteta has kept the faith for this long. In all honesty, and I hate to say it, Eddie doesn’t do any of the things that a striker playing in an Arteta esque system needs to do.

And for a poacher, his finishing isn’t great either. Sell now and give all the money and game time to Balogun!

Sean

This is the thing for me too. He’s good at being in the right place at the right time against naive defences, but I honestly can’t recall a goal he’s scored where he’s gone through one on one and pulled off a confident finish. One moment that jumps out to me is away at Everton where Tierney made a cut back and gave nketiah a presentable chance and he ended up basically slicing it towards the corner flag. Maybe we need to throw in the caveat of us being very poor creatively when he featured most prominently for us in… Read more »

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

Nketiah again terrible game

Meanwhile, Balogun scored a hat-trick for the Under 23’s tonight.

gooner

All that won’t matter if he doesn’t want to sign on

Samgunz

Eddie used to do that in the u23s alot too.

Merlin’s Panini

Eddie needs to progress quite a lot to get up to standard and I’m wondering whether a loan (or even sale with buy back option) might be best for his development, as long as he’s guaranteed game time. He’s decent in the box but needs to get into a rhythm and he doesn’t look like getting the necessary game time to do that with us at the moment. I do think he will be a very good player in a couple of years if he has regular game time. I do feel we keep having nearly men in that position,… Read more »

parteytime

afobe had the physique and mentality but no technique
akpom had the physique and technique but mentally weak
nketiah? he’s got the mentality and technique but seems like his physique hasn’t developed much if at all

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Nketiah’s technique is OK, not more than that.

No foot Norbert

His touch is a bit off at times and his hold up and link up play is non existent. Balogun is smaller and looks better at both of those in the little we’ve seen. I reckon he’d sign if we gave him a few games. Nketiah only has 1.5 years left in his contract anyways

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

Nketiah neither has technicality or mentality intact his mentality is the worst he had physique and pace and good reaction in the 6 box THATS it…he lacks in everything else.

#define

This can only mean that Balogun has not signed on (yet?).

Jasonissimo

Certainly Arsenal don’t want to sell Nketiah only for Balogun to walk, too. I hadn’t reckoned with that possibility when I was advocating for Arsenal to cash in on Eddie some weeks ago.

Daveo

I don’t think selling Eddie has much to do with balogun to be honest. If Eddie isn’t good enough as a laca style striker, which appears very much to be the case then we need to move him on (and again before his lack of games crushes his value – something we’re very good at) and replace him (and balogun of he also leaves). This Swedish kid seems promising, but we certainly need at least 1 promising young striker in the summer, maybe another as laca’s future is also in doubt.

Krumphax

I think we should look even more onto Tyreece John-Jules. For me, he is the next in line after Eddie and Folarin. He played some decent minutes till now at Doncaster and hopefully he will play even more. Some might say even Martinelli as the next striker could be a good option. I must say till now I don’t really rate Eddie. He did nothing that made me go wow or anything special. Yes he scored some goals, but there was very little special about it, that makes me say: He will be a very good player! Do we want… Read more »

Qwaliteee

This lad is, in all probability, going to become a star; cash in on him at your peril, Arteta. He will surely come back to haunt this club if we do.

Not only that, Lacazette and Auba are in the autumn of their careers – Eddie could save us a fortune in the transfer market.

Keep him. Use him. Develop him. And reap the rewards.

S.p2

On what basis does Nketiah look destined for stardom?!

Krumphax

Yeah, I thought it was a joke at first, but there was no punchline. I see no difference in Eddie than in most youth strikers. Why did Sanogo not succeed? He looked kinda promising … kinda. The difference between Saka, Smith-Rowe compared to Nketiah is enormous. And that is compared to most of his games. Till he becomes a decent player, Arsenal will be a bang average midtable club.

Mick

I’m afraid that I see Balogun as a far better striker than Eddie, who I also like. To see Balogun shaping up to score is to see Henry in his youth

Samgunz

Henry was not the greatest finisher in his youth. Arsene, Dennis and Ian helped that blossom.

Samgunz

Balogun is scary good though, to compare him and eddie is a bit silly in my opinion, but arteta is just putting respect on what he has done thus far, fair enough. Tricky situation.

Samgunz

Respect on Eddie that is. Timing is a bit unfortunate for Balogun and more likely Arsenal if we do indeed lose him.

Daveo

But in Mikel’s own words: “what you did yesterday doesn’t matter”…

Samgunz

Yeh, that’s for the press I guess, for show, just babble, cos I ain’t seen him act on that really.

Samgunz

If it were the case Auba would’ve been dropped 5 games into the season, or should’ve been.

NaanBread

Can’t help but feel that Arteta will regret holding on too tightly to some players. Nketiah, AMN, Chambers…

Would be happy to be proven wrong, but all these players have great players behind or ahead them, chomping at the bits.

Nketiah seems inferior to Balogun, Martinelli, Jules. Even unproven Moller has a very tangible skillset.

Chambers has Holding, maybe even Saliba ahead of him. McGuiness and Rekik perhaps too…

AMN is cool, but… not sure if he will continue wanting to be a seasonal utility man…

No foot Norbert

Maitland niles has all the tools to be a world class player but he just seems to have a mentality issue. If he can improve that he’ll be a great player. Chambers is decent and became important before his injury. He was even scoring from right back iirc!

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

NKETIAH he will definitely regret because Nketiah is sht period. Chambers will come good with a run of games. AMN time to go I like him but his inconsistence and lack of definite position makes him surplus. AND he brought it on himself. He told Arteta he wants to play in midfield yet Arteta went and bough Partey because he’s not been convincing in midfield. MAYBE just like ox if he leaves he will get to play in midfield.

Krumphax

On our side, we need players like AMN who can play in numerous positions and can do a decent job. But for some players it makes no sense to stay. We needed AMN as cover, but he should go for his own good next summer. I think it is the same for Chambers. And even Balogun: If they persist with Eddie should get more chances than you, than you would also want to go. It won’t work out for everyone at the club. But we also see, that we need some of that different kind or sphere of quality in… Read more »

El Mintero

Eddie just ain’t gonna happen. Like a smaller, less effective Welbeck. Doesn’t score enough, doesn’t have enough physical presence to play in the big league. Didn’t have it at Leeds either – and Bielsa knows a player.

If we can get a deal for Eddie, let him go. Balogun is the better option.

jimbo

We should cash in on some of these players in the summer and trim the squad down.
Nketia willock Niles Chambers Nelson could all be sold for half decent money will never be anything more than bench material at arsenal.

Krumphax

I made a list of players that should leave the club for everyones good and that was like 10 players (including Luiz, Mustafi), I was quite shocked. I just hope we find good suitors for all of them. One part of the rebuild has been done. But mate, there are quite some parts left. I hope we find some decent replacements the other way too. If another Willian deal comes along, I don’t know what to say. Bringing in a 32 year old just for experience has to stop. No more. If we stop that, and get some quality, than… Read more »

Der32

Just play Eddie with Balogun up top today. Let them slug it out and show the Boss what they can do. Martinelli can play on the left or be a sub – he needs minutes but we also need to be careful of his recent injury record.

Thomas webb

I have no idea where some of the opinions on Eddie come from, I will tell you now he will not be good enough to play for arsenal and lead the line, he is just not that good of a player and that is in no way being disrespectful to him. Balogun is streets ahead of Eddie and still had a couple of years on him.

Tumang

Can anyone genuine say they have seen Balogun playing at the highest level that Eddie to suggest that he’s better than Eddie? Or is familiarity breeding contempt?

Eddie may not be a generational talent, whatever that is, but Balogun hasn’t done anything to suggest he is. We can like and wish for for him to sign and play for The Arsenal without having on Eddie.

Arse-head

That’s kinda the point, we’ve seen enough of Eddie and tbh he hasn’t really impressed. Balogun should have started today, that or give him half an hr at least. He won’t sign a new contract if he’s not getting game time

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I don’t rate Eddie but to say that Balogun should have started today in an FA cup match against a strong Southampton defence, is madness

Arse-head

I don’t disagree, Laca should have started. I’m just saying Balogun deserves a chance seeing as Eddie has had about 40 of them. Can’t complain when the lad fucks off.

Tumang

The Narrative is set in stone, Eddie bad. Balogun is the saviour.

Dave

On track for what exactly?

The goals have dried up and his all around play is poor.