Tuesday, May 24, 2022

“He’s just a phenomenal player” – Arteta bigs up Nketiah

Will we get another striking masterclass from Eddie Nketiah today?

After his two-goal salvo at Stamford Bridge, Mikel Arteta will certainly be hoping so as Arsenal look to kill off Manchester United’s challenge for a place in the top four.

Ahead of the game, the boss was full of praise for the 22-year-old, who in the last week has had the Premier League starts he’s been craving since August.

“He doesn’t give us anything else than the best every single day,” said Arteta in his pre-game press conference.

“The way he trains, the way he wants to improve, the attention that he pays, how he behaves when he plays when he doesn’t play.

“He is just a phenomenal player and he has shown, not to me, I think to the whole team and that’s why he is so respected in the dressing room the type of person he is.”

Despite several contract offers over the last year, Nketiah has serious reservations about staying at Arsenal due to his lack of playing time. He spoke articulately on the matter in a recent podcast appearance and now has 68 days to make a final decision.

If one thing has counted against Eddie in his battle for minutes, it’s the concerns about his qualities outside the box. While teammate Alex Lacazette has struggled for goals, the general consensus – questioned a lot recently! – is that he’s a better fit for Arteta’s style of football because of his contribution linking up play.

Arteta sees Nketiah improving on that front.

“It’s something he works on almost every day,” he said of the academy graduate.

“We know this capacity he has to make runs in behind – the timing of it and how he attacks the box. But his link-up play, understanding of spaces, timing of receptions, where he wants to come and work, which passes and spaces he will find afterwards have improved a lot. At Stamford Bridge was a really good example of that.”

Whether Nketiah’s midweek showing in west London can be the platform for him to play a big role in the run-in remains to be seen.

It happened that way last season for Emile Smith Rowe, who came into the side against the Blues on Boxing Day and not only held onto his place but soon earned a big-money deal and the club’s number 10 shirt.

“In football, anything can happen,” Arteta added. “Emile had had three months out with his shoulder and a lot of things happened, he was getting back and he was looking really good, and we decided to give him the opportunity. But then he had to step in and he had to perform.

“He [Smith Rowe] has done it really consistently and especially this season as well with the amount of goals he is scoring.

“Eddie has this capacity. What he needs is opportunity, time and support, especially when he has difficult moments. If you are ready and prepared to do it, I am sure he will be successful.

He added: “If you have that character and that quality, to show it immediately or very quickly, things can turn very quickly. Look what happened with Eddie in the last two weeks.”

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Omsuley

3-1 today. Our first on 11 minutes. Øde will be key with one or two of them goals.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

With Brentford also beating Sp*ds 3-1.

Rick_Sanchez

Are you a wizard mate?

Arsepedant

Spot on with the first one, just need the second now. Would you care to pick my lottery numbers this week?

Omsuley

Wow, just goes to show that if I chat enough crap I’ll be right occasionally 🙂

Winterburn87

Let’s just quietly do the business on the pitch and try to win the remaining games of the season #COYG#

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Why quietly? I wanna see The Emirates rocking.

findmeasanti

Go on and make my weekend. COYG!

C.B.

Would love Eddie to step up his performance and then stay. Poor at Southampton but great v Chelsea. Let’s hope we see the Chelsea Eddie today.

Bleeding gums murphy

Delighted he scored two goals but got very lucky with second goal and terrible defensive mistake for first goal, he took it really well. Other than that I remember him giving ball away for their goal and completely miss kicking a great opportunity that saka put on a plate. Do not remember anything else. Delighted if he can score today but there are lots of our fan base on here are very fickle. A couple goals and they want to give him a new contract and Arteta says he is phenomenal. I am so far from being convinced. If he… Read more »

C.B.

I’m surprised Arteta is bigging him up if there is no sell-on value. Maybe just boosting Eddie’s don’t for the rest of the season.

It certainly sounds like Arteta wants Eddie to stay.

If Eddie and Laca both leave, then we’ll have to sign 2 new forwards. If Eddie stays, we may just sign the one – which the club will see as shrewder business wise.

Gabriel Jesus I’d imagine would cost around £40m. Who knows if Josh will green light the funds to sign 2 forwards as we also need to keep cash for a midfielder – probably another £30m to £40m.

Man Manny

Nketiah played well against Chelsea, and took his goals well; but Arteta is at risk of taking his charm offensive to ridiculous levels. No manager gives a “phenomenal player” the amount of time Nketiah has had this season. Arsenal will need a huge upgrade of their attacking arsenal if they are to move to the next level. I don’t think Nketiah can be anything more than a third striker in a top team. When you see Divock Origi, Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus – players who are better than him but are not starters in the clubs we are aiming… Read more »

allezkev

Big big game for Eddie, go do the business fella.

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