Eddie Nketiah says he was delighted to make an impact off the bench after grabbing a stoppage time equaliser to snatch a point for Arsenal against Fulham.
In search of a first-ever away win against the Gunners, the Cottagers took the lead through Josh Maja’s second half penalty and were less than a minute from the three points before Nketiah pounced at the back post after keeper Alphonse Areola had denied Dani Ceballos.
The England under-21 international has been out of favour since the turn of the year but with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sidelined by malaria and Alex Lacazette limping out of today’s game with a suspected hamstring injury, he could well become a focal point of the attack in the coming weeks.
“We would’ve liked three points but when I was called on I wanted to make an impact,” he told Sky Sports. “I’m delighted to get a goal and salvage a point for the team.
“Fulham made it difficult – we were a bit sloppy in possession, we had good chances, we had a couple which on another day might go in. Credit to Fulham for getting back in the game and getting the goal but we were good in the last 30 minutes and we deserved at least a point.”
Asked about the prospect of stepping in for Lacazette with a Europa League semi-final on the horizon, he added: “Firstly I wish Laca a speedy recovery – he’s important to the team and hopefully will be back as soon as possible. For me, I stay patient and I’m happy to get the chance to play and I will be ready to help the team if I’m called upon.”
VAR played a pivotal role in this afternoon’s action, ruling out a Dani Ceballos header after Bukayo Saka was adjudged to be a toenail offside and later confirming the Gabriel foul on Mario Lemina. It also double-checked Nketiah’s strike with Rob Holding suspected of impeding the Fulham keeper’s view.
Nketiah said the Gunners just have to roll with the punches. “That’s football,” he said.
“Sometimes it goes in your favour and sometimes it doesn’t, we can only make sure we do our best as players and VAR is there to do a job so we have to take it. Disappointing to have it ruled out but that’s football.
“We’re a big club, we want to be climbing up the table – the manner in which we grabbed the goal feels a bit better than losing. Of course we wanted three points but we’ll take the point and move on.”