Thursday, June 20, 2024

Arteta to ponder striking options after Jesus injury

With the news that Gabriel Jesus is set to miss a few weeks with a hamstring problem, Mikel Arteta has some thinking to do about who he is going to start up front.

For most of the season, Eddie Nketiah has been the man to get the nod when the Brazilian hasn’t been available or when not quite ready to start. The Hale End graduate has two goals in nine Premier League appearances, which isn’t exactly prolific, but the manager was happy to talk him up ahead of the home game with Sheffield United tomorrow.

Asked if he’s seen development in Nketiah, he said, “When you see where he’s coming from and what he’s done in the last 3-4 years, a club like Arsenal to play as a 9, he’s made some huge strides and it’s a credit to him and his mentality.”

Another option is Kai Havertz, and using the German is something Arteta acknowledged he would consider.

“We have different profiles and Kai, the minutes he’s played there I think he’s been really, really good. It’s good.

“I think it’s difficult for the opponent as well to figure out who will play and I think that’s a positive for us.”

There’s also the option of using Leandro Trossard there. The Belgian started up front in the 2-2 draw with Fulham earlier in the season but was withdrawn at half-time after an indifferent display.

The manager also touched on the recent form of Martin Odegaard, who hasn’t been himself of late, and found it tough to influence the games against Chelsea and Sevilla.

“We discussed that,” said Arteta. “To get a level that they perform as our front players did last season that is very very difficult to se why it hasn’t happened in the Premier League, so we need to be conscious of that.

“That’s about form, about putting him in better positions, and doing things better in certain areas to help him to have the game that helps him to explore his qualities.

“He’s an incredible player and he’s doing so much for us. He’s our captain and we’re expecting him all the time to step in like we do any other players.

“This is great because that’s the role he has and we have developed him into that player, into that person, and now it’s about maintaining and sustaining that level, and that’s the challenge.”

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matt keeler

Plenty of good options to replace Jesus in the middle. I’d argue the closet we have to him as a striker is Martinelli (Pain in the arse, tricky winger skills, loves the physical).
I’d give him a go and play Trossard wide

Man Manny

For Sheffield United tomorrow that might suffice. But if Jesus is not back for Newcastle (we beat them without him last season though), Trossard on the left weakens that side of attack…and defence. I’d leave Martinelli on the left and play Nketiah/Kai up top at Newcastle.


I haven’t got the actual data so maybe I’m wrong, but haven’t Trossard’s best games/minutes for us been on the left? Feels like almost every time we play him elsewhere he struggles to affect the game, but almost every time he’s come in for Martinelli he’s scored or assisted from there


I like the idea of trying Martinelli there though I think he will struggle in the air, trying to win long balls etc like Jesus does, and the space he gets on the wing allows him to get a head of steam the way I’m not sure he could in the middle, but maybe he could also do it in tighter spaces, would be interesting to see. Also have been clamouring to see ESR get a shot there since last year when Arteta said he could do it, but never ended up actually giving him a single minute there yet.… Read more »

Eric Blair

On the face of it you could make an argument for Martinelli having the necessaries to play striker, but left wing and centre forward are two very different roles and as far as I know he’s never played there for us. Unlikely we’ll see it I’d say.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

I agree about ESR leading the attack and this game would be a good test for him at that position. Would love to see him start somewhere today. Arteta does have a habit of saying one thing but then never doing it. ESR and Saka play a similar one touch and move game that’s fluid and hard to track defensively. Would love to see a pod of ESR, Saka, Ode and White operating on the right.

Bleeding gums murphy

Havertz, martinelli, trossard, smith Rowe, that order for me. Nketia is not good enough despite what Arteta is saying. He could score against as we are playing Sheffield United. He really does not bring much to the table, in fact he takes away something. He cannot link play, win headers, read the game, tackle, close down to name but a few limitations. Please tell me what he does bring to the team if you disagree. I’m interested


I’ll bite.

Eddie does link play, he does win headers, he does read the game, he does tackle and close down (especially the keeper).

Additionally, he is deceptively quick when he is moving off the shoulder of a defender to create space or exploit a gap. His movement anticipates a sharp pass that doesn’t always materialize. As Arteta says, Eddie is a beast out there.

I miss santi cazorla

Eddie does link play- false
he does win headers- false
he does tackle and close down- false ( does tantrum tackles)

Yes he does quick turns but thats all he does and now defenders know this as well. Arteta has privileged him beyond his abilities.
Nelson and ESR don’t even get a fraction of the playing time that Nketiah gets.
Nketiah a beast‐ joke of the year!


If Eddies starts tomorrow, I guarantee you he will link play. I guarantee you he will win a header. I guarantee you he will press, close down, and tackle. You are going to love it; it will feel like this is happening for the first time, even though that is patently not true. But it will feel like a revelation. It will blow minds.

Once again, fans will be inspired to say: Arteta knows.

I can’t wait!


He’ll link our attack with their defense, which is how his hold up play usually goes…


Now now, Daveo, be nice!


Ok, ok…


I mean every player links play. the problem is he gets dispossessed easily and turns the ball over a lot. He is in the 22nd percentile in terms of dispossession. Meaning 78 percent of other players get dispossessed less frequently. So he impacts sequences of plays getting dispossessed so frequently. Every player can win a header in a game. In terms of aerials won, eddie is in the 24th percentile vs other forwards. Meaning 76 percent of other players are better than him in aerial duels in the league. Every player tackles and closes down. His tackles and interceptions are… Read more »


Put the stats in context — is this among centre forwards, or all forwards? They all get asked to perform different tasks during the match. For example, Odegaard leads the press– he’s a midfielder, but he’s the quarterback of engaging the opposition.

Eddie has the second most shots by an Arsenal player this year — 1 behind Odegaard, and 2 ahead of Saka. This notion that he doesn’t do anything is patently absurd.


According to the PL, this season, Eddie is 66th in the league at being dispossessed 7 times.

Martinelli and Saka clock in with 11 dispossessions each.

Jesus is 13th overall with 16 dispossessions.

Odegaard is 9th overall with 17 dispossessions.

Talk about an exorcism!

And Eddie is even with Martinelli in making 3 interceptions, 1 behind Jesus (4).


The context is Jesus, Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard all average significantly more touches (2-3x more) than nketiah. So his dispossession numbers in context to his number of touches per game is very poor. Also the four players you mentioned are all great dribblers so they are expected take on defenders and it’s okay if they lose some 1v1 take ons.


You are asking for context, but using absolute numbers when those players have not played similar amount of minutes, SMH.


Wow.. powerful stats if true, in your opinion, Eddie who has been called up twice for the international squad is a labouring, useless touch, ineffective at closing down, can’t link up play, aerial ineffective, dosent take chances when presented, falsely earning a place in a hard working team player, all of the above could apply to my end of year work performance which is coming up, Eddie did well last season when Jesus was out, hopefully he can reproduce.


I mean based on that logic Eddie is a forward for Arsenal and wears 14, that makes him Henry. As a matter of fact watch some Henry highlights and then watch some Eddie highlights. Henderson and Maguire make the England starting eleven and they don’t have the best stats when compared to their English peers. Eddie hasn’t played 1 competitive minute for England yet and England fans weren’t really overjoyed with how Eddie played for England in the friendly. Eddie scored 4 goals last season in 30 apps for us, so I don’t think he did well, I think the… Read more »


This didn’t age well.


Told you guys!! 🙂
Gotta love Eddie.


Let me show you how eddie doesn’t link play and how sequences usually end with a nketiah turnover. nketiah is poor at aerial duels (1 per game – 66th percentile), basically he is 60th percentile at all duels and at getting dribbled past. His dribble success rate is 46% (41 percentile). Most shockingly he is 22 percentile in getting dispossessed. And his shot conversion rate is 13% (69 percentile) and that is compounded because he can’t create his own opportunities to shoot by dribbling and it wouldn’t matter if chances materialized from other players for him. He provides no assist… Read more »


Now this is my sorta post right here! Well done lad!


Our centre forwards do not put up great numbers because we don’t play a system designed to run through them. In the PL this season, Jesus has 1 goal and 1 assist in 4 starts and 362 minutes; Nketiah has 2 goals and 2 assists in 7 starts and 589 minutes. Jesus is undoubtedly a better footballer, but the gulf is not as wide as people exaggerate it to be. The dismissals of Eddie are absurd.


Eddie underperformed his xG by 5 last season. He had an xG of 9.2 and scored 4. So I don’t think it has something to do with our system.

Jesus underperformed his xG by 5 too, but Jesus scored 11.

It’s true that the gulf isn’t as wide and Eddie generates more xG per 90 than Jesus but Jesus looks to pass the ball if there is a better option and Eddie doesn’t and he generates his higher xG from a higher volume of lower quality shots.


Yeah, this didn’t age well either.

Bleeding gums murphy


El Mintero

Lol so you’re saying kalamity kai is actually ahead of Eddie based on all those factors you list? I’ve never thought nketiah was anywhere near Arsenal level but fck me he’s better than fkn Havertz!!!

Eric Blair

I think there is too much focus on individuals at the moment. We’ve changed a lot of personnel from last season and Arteta is asking them to play in a different way from last season. The issues we’re seeing is more based on that than individual performances. I’ve said it before, but I think that this year is something of a rebuilding year for us, a change of style and lost of new faces. Injuries haven’t helped either. We’ll probably have to accept a bumpy road early doors but I’m hopeful that when the new year arrives we’ll be in… Read more »


This one didnt age well


Martinelli breaking into the box from that wide position is going to be crucial in this match, especially his ability to beat his man deep and provide the cut back. We are going to be hunting for crazy angles in this one against a team who boast the lowest possession and most blocks in the EPL this season.

Johnny 4 Hats

I’d love to see Havertz at CF for Sheff Utd. The man needs a goal or two and what better place to get it than at home against a bottom of the league club.

But longer term, I really like Trossard at 9. We played some amazing stuff with him in that position in Feb / March time. He’s got such a natural eye for goal and he’s as close to Jesus in terms of close control and ball retention.


Trossard has the skills, but he really lacks the physicality to go up against 1-2 central PL defenders. He’s an option, for sure, but I think he is more dangerous coming in from the wing and where he isn’t the focal point for the defence.

A Different George

I watched the Sevilla match again. Odegaard was obviously not the dominant force that he has been but, except for a unimpressive attempt at goal, it didn’t look like there was anything wrong with the way he played–it was not poor passing (as arguably against Chelsea) or any lack of movement or showing for the ball It just looked like no one was looking for him. I think that missing both Partey and Zinchenko was the main problem. Jorginho doesn’t create the spaces that Partey does–he is a passer not a mover; Rice moves, but almost always to the left;… Read more »

I miss santi cazorla

And xhaka

I miss Xhaka

And Xhaka.

djourou's nutmeg

eddie nketiah is playing his 7th season with us. and he’s got 16 premier league goals. granted, he made his debut at 17, spent some time on loan, wasn’t given many minutes… whatever. he hasn’t proved to be worthy of starting games for a title contender side. im not judging him as a player here, he might be the best striker in the world for somebody else. my point is that he hasn’t done anything in actual matches for him to deserve a place in the squad. as much as i like players from the academy, im afraid if he… Read more »

Mayor McCheese

I remember Trossard doing really well there last season when Jesus was out. A great run of form for us!


Almost 100% sure Arteta will start Nketiah tomorrow, which would be really painful for one main reason. Not only Eddie isn’t playing well – which happens – he doesn’t seem to give a damn about his attitude, which is IMO unforgivable. Odegaard was quoted many times this week, he is out of form also, but he was still leading the press & was trying

I miss santi cazorla

Eddie makes me regret my subscription fee to watch Arsenal.


This is why we need Ivan Toney.
I love Jesus, but he’s hardly ever fit. Eddie isn’t the answer and never will be. And Havertz can just go away: he’s one of the worst signings the club has ever made.

To win the title everything has to be right. Sadly, too many bad decisions have been made recently by Arteta and Edu.

It looks like it’s going to be another frustrating season.

Peter Cechs helmet

Eddie to start tomorrow. Mickel only pisses around with all other positions – left – right backs all in the middle. Mid fielders on the wings, all swopping all blending into something that looks like lotsa people covering for players who should be in the right place in first place 🙄


I agree about Eddie: he’ll have to start tomorrow. He’s ok for a game like this and I hope he scores. But in the long term he’s not the answer to our problems.

Deeply frustrating the number of injuries this squad seems to accumulate. Nobody is able to stay fit for long periods.


time to take their place, fats!

I miss santi cazorla

Can we swap Eddie’s hamstrings with Jesus’s


I don’t know…..shoulda kept the Flo.

I miss Xhaka

Nah. Needed to sell players at the time and there was a market for Balogun, so I understand that sale. But it does say something that Balogun created a market for himself and Eddie hasn’t been able to do the same.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Oh dear.
Eddie or Havertz will be a massive step down. Oh how that £65M would have been better used on a striker.


How dare you say something so obvious!!!


I love Jesus as much as the next fan. But when do discussions start about his reliability? He’s been available more often than Partey, but to hear people tell it we need to get rid of Partey ASAP because of his injury struggles. Nothing about Jesus. I think it is a concern when your main striker is repeatedly out for weeks or months every year.


He’s had one bad knee injury that has caused two absences then his hamstring strain. I’m confident he will be available for a long time when he is back from this

I miss Xhaka

Doesn’t he have a history of niggling little issues that have kept him out of games for his entire career?


I’d start on form, with exception of captain Mart, but think he into form



SLC Gooner

Well, if there’s any doubt, I’d sit Jesus. Sheffield United at the Emirates should be one of the easiest matches we have this season. We should have enough other options to get the job done.
And while I wasn’t thrilled with how he looked at the end of the Sevilla match, I’d probably start Eddie in this one. He did OK last year for a couple months.
Longer term, between Jesus’ injuries and Eddie inconsistency, we do probably need another option. Toney seems like we would be good, and maybe not too expensive.


eddie is consistent. just consistently bad. 2 goals in 28 appearances.


Ivan Toney might be a good prospect in January and represent a small but immediate upgrade on Eddie – who really is finding himself in the Last Chance Saloon for many – myself included.

I still think, however, that we should be going all out in the summer to sign a top drawer world class striker and replacements for Partey, Jorginho and Elneny. The trio are not getting any younger and the former’s latest injury really is the final straw for me.

I miss Xhaka

100%. Replacements for Partey, Elneny and Jorginho are tops for me, we need to support and protect our investment in Rice. Midfield rebuild next summer with a new top striker, 4 new players over the summer.

Eric Blair

For me, Eddie’s in the last chance saloon. With Jesus out for a few weeks he’s going to get chances and he simply has to take them. If not, we should be looking for a striker in January if possible or if not then putting together some longer terms plans for the summer.

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