Arsenal can’t win any titles with Eddie Nketiah up front

I was ready to critique Gary Neville’s commentary from the Arsenal v Tottenham NLD. I have defended the pundit before, but some of his calls on Sunday were baffling.

As a former defender, he said he would be disappointed if he were penalised for the handball that gave us a spot kick.

Yet surely, we can’t have a sport where the ball doesn’t go into the net because of an outfield players hand?

He then implied that Spurs’ second equaliser was down to our players over celebrating.

Conceding seconds after we scored, it’s easy to be wise with hindsight.

Yet take a look at any win we routinely have in this fixture and you will see the celebrations were similar.

He then contradicted himself by saying he loved ‘Son’s passion’ when the Spurs skipper fought back tears after his 2nd goal.

Then though, the 48-year-old redeemed himself.

With his voice heard around the world to millions, he used his platform to identify someone who has been an issue for a while now.

A player who stays under the radar, protected by being supposedly young, even though he’s 24.

His incompetence explained by a lack of experience despite making his Prem debut 6 years ago.

Accusations from some that he lacks opportunities when the facts are he’s now played 137 times for the Gunners. More than enough time to prove he’s not good enough for this level.

No one can accuse my opinion being based on the disappointment of a 2-2 draw, I’ve been writing this for over a year.

That while Arteta smugly boasts he’s ‘ruthless every day‘, that’s simply not true. Our manager simply has favourites and I hate to say this (and it’s an article for another day) I think he’s lied at times this week; he’s been caught out with his contradictions.

How for example, does he look at Ramsdale’s body of work and drop him, but Eddie qualifies for 100 mins against our biggest rivals?

How does Reiss Nelson get picked over Smith Rowe?

I can’t be the only Gooner who saw the sub of Nelson for Jesus and gave up the prospect of us making another chance?

Both are on a reported 100,000 pound a week!

So, for 200,000 pound a week shouldn’t I, as a supporter, have more faith in those on that wage?

That’s the positive from this weekend. It was such a high-profile occasion with such a global audience that Sky Sport’s analysis now puts the spotlight on Eddie.

Neville and Alan Smith correctly highlighted that in the final 15 mins, we passed the ball sideways refusing to cross the ball into the middle because we didn’t have that natural striker.

They referenced a corner where Eddie lacked the desire to run to the far post, something a natural striker would have done.

Eddie’s meant to our fox in the box, old fashioned in the role that he does his work in the box.

I have argued that the position has evolved past what Eddie can do, most forwards now have to do more than just be good in the pen area.

There is a section of our fanbase who are positive for the sake of it, who think the definition of a supporter is that you can’t say when anything is wrong. That makes their viewpoint to me lack substance, because what’s the point of a conversation if you can’t be balanced?

You’re not hurting me by being positive for the sake of it, you’re only hurting the team you love by accepting mediocrity.

If Eddie and Reiss were not English and from the academy, you would question why they are happy to collect a wage knowing they are not good enough to play every week.

Is Eddie’s 4 or 5 Prem goals a year worth 100,000 pound a week?

Where else in that division would he start?

Compare the lack of questioning he gets to the abuse a Giroud or Walcott got, players who routinely played at CL level.

I have heard some question the atmosphere at the Emirates yesterday, not being able to put their finger on what the issue was.

I will tell you ….

Too many Gooners rock up being arrogant, not being humble, thinking we are better than we are, acting like these players have done something special.

So, when Spurs equalise suddenly, they get nervous and panic.

If this Derby helped snap some of my peers back into reality, then no harm has been done.

If this is the moment that many realise we won’t win a title with Eddie Nketiah up front, then it’s a worthwhile point.



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  1. I think he’s good enough to make us win FA Cup or Carabao Cup, but not EPL, UCL or EL

    He’s just too weak and not skillful enough to keep the ball in the final-third

    I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t get shipped out in the summer

    1. But who’s going to pay him £100K per week? If he can’t get a deal at that pay he won’t budge, like Pepe, Ozil etc.

      1. Well Nottingham Forest paid Jesse feiggin Lingard 200k a week last seasons disappearing act so PL clubs can afford him

    2. Gai, Arsenal need a towering CF with technical abilities, holdup play and good goals returns. ie Halaand, Lewandoski, Osimehin, Vlahovic, Ivan Toney, Watkins, Kane etc. Any striker who doesn’t fit into these mould is not worth buying by Arsenal. Arsenal should be going for big guns when it comes to strikers. I mean history beckons on Arsenal having had likes of HThiery, Ian Right, Anelka, Van Persey etc

      1. Not necessarily a towering CF, but a strong one with a decent aerial ability and great skills. Watkins isn’t towering, but his hold-up play is great

  2. Spot on Eddie is just not good enough you need a proven goal scorer. sell him in January and go back in the market

  3. If we really are going to be looking for a dedicated striker, then Ferguson at a reported £100 ml would be just the job.

  4. Let’s be honest. We are not going to win the PL. We have too many players, like Nketiah, who are not factually good enough. Sadly that is true. I’ll still cheer for the team, but I’m not deluded. Buying Kai Havertz for £65 mill, tells me Arteta sees pink elephants.

  5. The writer has correctly highlighted the issue at hand. I have always stated that Nketiah is not good enough to play for a top EPL side. He’s certainly not good enough to help us win the EPL. He’s average to be honest. I wonder why balogun was never given a chance to prove himself. Sad but this is the reality.

  6. I totally agree with your article, I have myself been saying that Eddie isn’t good enough and was shocked to see him getting a new contract . I do believe in Arteta but I am puzzled as to some of his transfers plus substitutions I,e NLD taking off Jesus for Riess . Why isn’t Smith-Rowe getting no game time as he is miles better than KH and I’ve never bought into the , players need time to settle, adjust . KH has played in the prem supposedly world class so for me no excuse , Vieira isn’t a top class player but he is picked infront of Smith-Rowe. Yes we have had injuries Timber looked the part top draw player and didn’t need time to settle or adjust the same for Rice , Partie out ,personally we need a 20/25 goal a season striker , for me Ivan T perfect fit plus a world-class midfielder maybe Zimendi ???

  7. Not saying i dont disagree but the same also applies to Jesus. It is not just Nketiah that isnt benefitting from the way we play but also Jesus. Jesus is 100% not a no9.

  8. There is no other better way to say it. We just can’t win the league with Eddie up front. The bitter truth. I can’t just believe we’re aiming to win the league with a player like Eddie as our striker. Quite ridiculous. I was watching that match VS Tottenham Hotspur yesterday and I couldn’t fantom what Eddie was really doing on the pitch. The dude is just a below average player and a league two quality player. Are trying to make him a world beater? We’re just making jest of ourselves as a club. I don’t know a better way to say it but I don’t rate Eddie one bit. Arteta made a huge mistake not signing a decent striker during the last transfer window, he decided to instead waste Arsenal funds on Kai Havertz who we do not need, now, we’re suffering that useless decision.

    1. You have hit the nail on the head Gs.The lack of quality support for Rice and Partey is the main reason why we were unable to beat Spurs.We lost real control of the game in the second half and rarely created a chance.The injury to Timber is also a massive blow as he could well have slotted in as a DM to back up Rice and Partey.

  9. I forgot, we cannot even win the league with Gabriel Jesus, not to talk of Eddie. I’ve been saying this, Gabriel Jesus is a very good footballer, but not a good striker by any stretch. I rate him as good footballer but have never rated him as a striker. That was why Pep had to let him go. We need a good striker, a real number 9, someone who can put the ball behind the net on a regular bases, someone who doesn’t waste all the opportunities. We don’t have that person at the moment. Both Eddie and Gabriel Jesus can’t win us the league playing as a number 9

  10. The truth and I have said it times without number ,.Nketia shouldnt be playing for Arsenal if we want to .win titles. But we can continue to.hold on to him and be playing him as our striker and we shall, as a team remain in the fringes

  11. We can win the league with Jesus leading the line, the Citizens won the league without Haaland and would have won the last campaign without the Norwegian again.

    Arsenal goals can come from all over midfield as in the last campaign, the problem is once Rice and Partey out there is a massive drop off in quality.

  12. I don’t think we’re going to win the league this season also. We’ve got a plethora of players but too many of them are not good enough. Some of whom have been recently purchased and some just hanging around from previous seasons who we can’t get rid of! I don’t think we’ve got a squad, more like a first eleven a couple of reliable stand by’s and loads of dead weight!

    Plus, for all Arteta has achieved so far in his project and for all he’s hoping to achieve long term. He’s got to stop tinkering with the side and playing inferior players in the hope they’ll come good.

    I know City pretty much have two ready to go first elevens and the manager can chop and change, mix and match and still get perfect continuity and a positive result. We don’t have that……okay we’ve got Ramsdale being kept honest by giving him competition by way of Raya and…. dropping Ramsdale to make that point. Shouldn’t that same competition apply to all first eleven players including the likes of Saka etc. We should have a calibre of player that we can throw into a game without the team and or the performance becoming imbalanced. Until then….pick your best 11 from what you have and barring injuries, set them up to compete at the highest level.

    In the meantime, recruit the actual players we need to go forward. Players such as a dedicated forward (Ivan Toney) that can threaten from the front and get us the crucial goals we need. I was impressed with Timber, had all the attributes as a ready to go player, didn’t need any bedding in time, knows the game and knows how to play it to the best of his ability. Saliba was another one, good at what he does and makes the difference. We need players of the same ilk twofold for every position if we want to contend realistically!

    Forget alchemy or trying to turn coal into diamonds or, buying players for the extremely long term future (Chelsea style). The future is now and we need to be part of it!

  13. Correct regarding Nketiah, he’s not good enough in my opinion and should have been sent off anyway with his reckless lunge at their keeper. Yes we need a proper CF, a bully, someone who can win balls in the air, hold up play and above all score goals, but I can’t understand all the criticism of Jesus, even Haaland misses chances, oh and a recent penalty. Anyway there’s a proven CF who will likely be available in January so let’s hope by then he still wants to come to us. I did think the penalty was a bit contentious though, as how are you supposed to get your arm out of the way when the ball is struck at you from a yard or two away, and VAR and the ref took ages to come to the conclusion it was a penalty?

  14. I wonder what Mikel thinks of Ivan Toney? just incase he admits Eddie is not necessarily the guy he envisioned he could turn him to. i trust his judgement either way but if he decides otherwise i think Ivan is the man for us.

  15. I agree with you.
    Neither Nketiah nor Jesus is good enough as a striker; all that movement, pressing, etc… doesn’t overcome the fact they are not scoring enough goals.

    Both of them squandered chances yet again, further proving why we need a top striker. Pep noticed this about Jesus and replaced him with a striker who scores.

    Arteta brought in Jesus, for “leadership” or versatility, but certainly not to score goals, as his time in the PL has proven.

    As for Nketiah, an overhyped Championship player who has a 5+ year resume of “not quite” on everything a striker does. Not quite a target man, not quite create for himself or others, not quite finishing off chances, etc……

    Where is the “versatility” with Nketiah Arteta expects with players?
    Where is the “ruthlessness” when it comes to performances and getting dropped?

    Nketiah got another chance that many claim he doesn’t get enough of, and yet again failed; was invisible, missed chances when he had them, and offered nothing up top for us.

  16. It’s a bizarre and pointless argument, as we’re talking about a backup player. He’s only been starting so many games because our main striker has been injured.

    It’s like saying will never win a title with Kiwior starting.

    1. No because you need a back up striker who you can trust
      When we last won a title if there was an injury to Henry or Bergkamp , you bring In Wiltord / Reyes / Kanu

  17. Surely the writing is on the walls for Eddie, he’s not going to win games for Arsenal. I supported the young chap, but it has to stop here. He had chances on the Sunday encounter unfortunately we’re not used to the benefits of the team.

  18. Never had an issue with Nketiah’s committment and work rate, only his lack of quality in the toughest league in world football. He barely got off the bench at Leeds as a loan player a few years ago and yet he along with another average player, Reiss-Nelson get new contracts worth £100k per week each!!! MA obviously doesn’t rate ESR in bringing him on so late against Spurs on Sunday and just wonder why he is still at the club. It’s not that he is on a long contract and a huge salary – £40k a week. In my view he is superior to both the above-mentioned and should looks elsewhere to further his career, Brighton perhaps?

    To the point of the article, we do need a quality CF but I don’t think Toney ticks the right boxes for MA. I have previously suggested that a player like Darwin Nunez would appeal to him more. It has been suggested that Man City would have won the treble without Haaland, strange coincidence they win the UCL for the first time in HIS first season with them and he scores a mere 52 goals!! My opinion again, without him around we would have won the EPL last season.

  19. More typical DAN! I could write Dans articles myself, even before reading them as they are SO predictable!

    Dans whole viewpoint , with which I take much issue, is that REAL supporters need to criticise and to do so almost all the time.


    Which is WHY Dan and I come from polar opposite ends of this debate.

    1. No because you need a back up striker who you can trust
      When we last won a title if there was an injury to Henry or Bergkamp , you bring In Wiltord / Reyes / Kanu

      1. DAN, nothing personal as I trust you well understand by now.
        But the fact of your constant negativity and my constant optimism and call for more time to put SOME non working things right, will always be a bone of contention between us.
        Simply a fact of Arsenal fan life,old chum!
        On Eddie, I am with most others who think him not of the quality we urgently need. He HAS ALREADY HAD enough time and has not done the biz, at the level we need.
        He is 24, not 20 after all and has played WAY MORE than a hundred times so far. He HAS HAD more than enough time, so patience no longer applies, in his case!

        1. DAN So that you FULLY understand the nances in my critical view of your article, while agreeing with you about Eddie, my POINT was NOT about Eddie, but about your constant need to write negativity in most of your pieces across a long time period already. What I always urge is to give any player a proper time chance to come good.

          Eddie has HAD that time, but some others have not!

    2. So why, as a REAL supporter 😇Jon, did you criticise Wenger, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesaker, Walcott, Holding, Chambers, Elneny, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, Emery etc etc post after post after post, some from 2008 onwards?

      The realists and deep thinkers amongst us, know that both Nketiah and Nelson are not worth the reported £100k a week and both have been given plenty of chances to prove themselves, the former first class degree in English needed to see and admit that, just plain common sense!!

      I hate knocking our own players, but seeing Gabriel substituted for Nelson, while Nketiah stayed on the pitch was mind baffling, while ESR, once again, was completely ignored until it didn’t matter anyway.

      I go back to Willian and Martinelli, when the latter was ignored game after game, until MA was forced to play him… and the rest is history.

      Dan, I liked the gist of your article, but to say our fans are “arrogant” is complete BS!!
      We have stuck by the team through thick and thin over the last few years and FINALLY are being recognised by the club and players.
      We expect more than what we got Sunday, but the support never wavered – what is it you expect the fans, who have seen over £800,000,000 spent, to do?
      Go around apologising for being fans? Sackcloth to be worn?
      Your becoming another 😇Jon in the way you criticise the fanbase… in my opinion of course.

      1. Ken not all fans of course
        But this month alone I read , we can win CL , Odegarrd is better then Jude Bellingham, Arteta has Revolutionised English football
        I’m sorry …..I think thinking your better then you are is arrogant

        1. No, they are all opinions Dan, from fans who support the club.

          Arrogance is when one thinks one is better than everyone else.

          1. But there are facts as well ?
            So if a fan for example laughs at man United for celebrating the carabo cup saying we are better then that ….
            And in reality we lift 4 FA Cups in 20 years is that not arrogance ?
            If we say Arteta has ‘ revolutionised Arsenal’ when factually he’s never done what Wenger did is that not arrogant ?
            If we say after one good season Odegarrd is a better captain then Thierry Henry! Is that not arrogance ?
            It’s not arrogant if you can back it up
            Seems to me , we as fans make allot of statements and Arsenal dont back them up

  20. We cannot win the League with
    Jorginho as DM,
    Havertz in midfield OR up front,
    Jesus on the left wing (what is wrong with ESR playing left wing?),
    Eddie as a center forward against the good teams,
    Kiwior at Center Half
    Tommy at left back
    Zinc playing too much as a midfielder and not enough as a Left Back.
    and finally Saka being given a break before he gets seriously injured.

    We need Rice and Partey in midfield for EVERY game, just to shore up the defence, and provide strength in the middle.

    As we are seeing currently, this is proving elusive. we needed to bring in another strong DM, but we wasted our money on Havertz and Raya, two players we really did NOT need, and we are paying the price.

    At the moment, I think Arsenal are a worse team than they were last season. I will say again, I think top four may be out of reach unless we address all or most of these issues in January.

  21. Let’s give poor Eddie Nketiah a break! Fact of the matter is we aren’t going to win anything with Arteta as manager. Arteta is clearly out of his depth. The players (including ESR, Ramsdale, Trossard) deserve better.

  22. I agree 100% but it’s not just Eddie. It’s Havertz, Jorginho, and Vieira.

    You don’t win titles woth any of thode players.

    Rice and Timbers were good buys, bit with Xhaka going, Thomas injury prones, and Eddie not developing at all updront we needed a real striker of quality plus another strong midfielder to compete in both CL and PL.

    I believe both City and Pool will be before us in the end table as it looks now. They have both have more balanced squads. Also, Tottenham plays less games and can absolutely take the third spot. Then Newcastle will rise and Brighton are playing well…

    Unless Arteta stops letting naivety and pride make him do these bad decisons, I see a risk of this great generation being wasted.

    1. Last time I checked, Havertz, Jorginho list of honours, included PL, CL, International caps aplenty – on Viera I agree at the moment anyway. He’s just not ready, while ESR sits and twiddles his thumbs.

  23. Eddie needs to be on the bench. I can’t believe that we didn’t get a real striker during the summer window.
    It must happen in january!

  24. Nketiah is not good enough. No good defender is needed to stop him. Must be replaced with a better one. Spuds were better in ball possession at Emirates – awful 😢

  25. He’s been good enough in other games this season, very good in fact.
    This feels a bit like waiting for a poor performance to jump on the player and say I told you so.
    I will say though, I was very disappointed ESR didn’t start or come on much sooner – he loves London derbies and always seems to play well in them. Understand why Nelson was brought on though – he generally improves things late in games like these.

    1. Nah I can show you articles where I wrote he shouldn’t be getting a new contract ……and was called names for it
      Lots of readers have defended his record

  26. Arteta has his favourites? What’s wrong with that? He clearly sees the most hardworking and positive players in training. The type of players that make others play and perform well because of their hard running on the field to make space or to occupy opponents. They set example to players on the field, off the field and even in the youth team. We know this type of players. They are present in all successful teams. Arteta sees the bigger pictures as he constructs successful team at present and for the future. From the thigh, hamstring and back injuries sustained by our players, I know pre-season training was very gruelling. As it should be. It prepares the team for hard running throughout the season. They will only get better as the season progress. Better tactically and better technically. Just calm down.

  27. Beside Jesus, Arsenal need an all out striker who is agile, attack minded, quick footed, goal minded anticipation, always moving finding and creating space for a strike. Eddie Nektiah, Smith Rowe aint good enough. Eddie is always skimping around…1-2steps late..for lack of anticipations. Smith Rowe is always Late..!!
    Aresenal need a fast attacking striker to assist Jesus.
    Get Havertz to be that. It wont hurt to try….

  28. Allowing Balogun to leave was a big mistake. He is a natural goal scorer and loved to play for Arsenal. But he was forced to leave as he was made clear he was not in the plans. Jesus is a great player no doubt, but he is better in holding off defenders and pressing as compared to scoring. I would have preferred to sell Nketiah and keep Balogun. Hope we get Ivan Toni in the January window.

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