Did playing Nketiah against Tottenham cost Arsenal the two points?

Did Arteta make a mistake playing Nketiah up front? by Daisy

Mikel Arteta is known to tinker with his Arsenal tactics on the odd occasion and with Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard missing due to picking up knocks, Arteta had to play around a bit when it came to facing Tottenham on Sunday Afternoon.

Starting the game with a front line of Gabriel Jesus on the left wing, Eddie Nketiah in the middle and Saka on the left, some Arsenal fans were questioning why Jesus wasn’t starting in the middle, as it is his best position.

Jesus has been known to play on the wing for his national team Brazil, and moving Nketiah to a position he doesn’t usually play at made no sense, but Jesus has always been clinical in the centre for Arsenal, and on Sunday afternoon I personally think playing Jesus down the centre would have worked better than what we saw.

Both Jesus and Nketiah were not clinical enough against Tottenham and as the game went on Tottenham grew into the game and opportunities didn’t come easy for our forwards. But would that have been different if Jesus was playing through the centre? I think so. Although Jesus is capable to play on the wing, against Tottenham we needed our strongest attack, and after watching the game, Nelson would have been my personal pick from the wing and I think he would have created more chances for Jesus in the middle.

At half time Arteta reluctantly had to remove Rice and took Vieira off for tactical reason’s, not long after he took Jesus off and left Nketiah up front, personally I think this lost us the game. Jesus looked like the most likely player to score and although he missed some clinical chances, he wasn’t particularly having the worst game, and if he was moved into the middle and Nketiah taken off instead, I think we could have walked away with all three points.

Obviously, this is just my opinion and interpretation of the game I watched, and with injuries piling up, Arteta is bound to make some unfavourable changes and ultimately, will just have to work with what he’s got. Playing in four competitions this season, including our return to The Champions League, and a game nearly every three days, the squad will need to be rotated, but was this decision a reason why we didn’t walk away from the first London Derby with the three points?

What’s your thoughts Gooners?

Daisy Mae


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Tags Eddie Nketiah


    1. Stretching it a bit there aren’t you Jen? Saka went 90 minutes and missed the added time, Rice lasted till half time, and Timber has only played half a match for Arsenal, so can hardly be termed “key” yet. I’ll give you Trossard, Martinelli & Partey though😃.

      1. So where did I lie?

        Partey, Timber, Rice, Trossard, Martinelli, Saka = 6.

        Another one that cannot count hahahaha!

        You can now apologize for lying PJ-SA

  1. Both Jesus & Nketiah were guilty of some poor moments, but when a forward doesn’t take his chances or has a bad miss, it doesn’t always cost points, but when a defender makes an error it more often than not leads to a goal, and that’s what happened with Jorginho. Add to that Saka’s poor defending against Madison and Spurs were gifted two goals.
    I thought during the game that taking Eddie off and putting ESR back in the wide left position, so that Jesus could operate centrally would have been an improvement, but Nelson was OK though.

    1. You’re quite right Jax.
      I rate Jesus, but do not pay a blind eye to him not being prolific (if not poor for his abilities). I thought, like in some games last season, Jesus cost us the points by not taking clear cut chances.
      Eddie missed, but how about that ball that all Jesus (after disposessing Madison) needed to do was to PICK ANY SIDE and just ‘pass’ it in, other than powerfully hitting it at the gk for a ‘save’?
      He brings a lot to the team but he is not clever in front of goal.

      That’s why I thought we should have spent the Havertz fee on a proven goal scorer, and would ever think of that signing the worst in recent years (fee & wages), even if I don’t fault the player but pity him.

      That said, Saka is 100% responsible (like poor Jorginho) for their first – high school kids would arguably stay on that odd side of an opponent in such a situation.

      Well, I just hope and wish the team get better.

  2. Without Nketiah’s high-pressing effort, Spuds would’ve played from the back more often and controlled the game

    Nketiah wasn’t strong enough to hold the ball in the final-third, but he wasn’t the most responsible player for the draw

    It was Jorginho who made an awful decision that led to Spuds’ second goal

    Saliba, Magalhaes and White also tried to block Son’s shot, yet somehow the ball managed to get past three defenders’ blocks

  3. Nketiah didn’t play well,but I find it a bit unfair to single him in a game where most of the players were below par. Taking Jesus off was probably precautionary-you don’t want to lose him after all the players we’ve lost in my opinion.

    1. If anything,Jorginho’s mistake cost arsenal more than anything.If you have to single out anyone,it has to be Jorginho.

      1. I disagree….open play
        Where was Saka…..zero assists, zero goals
        Where was Ødegaard….zero assists, zero goals
        Where was Jesus…..zero assists, zero goals
        Blaming Jorginho ignores reality.

        1. carfino like I said in my initial comment,most players were below par and that I’d not prefer if one player was singled out.We are saying the same things really.

  4. I concur with Jax. ESR would be a better option on the left even if Nkethia stayed on. His record in that position speaks for itself.

    Wonder where ESR will play tonight against Brentford. I have a feeling we are going to lose this one though.

  5. Not transferring EN in the summer has cost us the league if not more. GJ is returning from an injury and needs his playing time managed. Rather MA should have promoted ESR to Xhaka’s position and used Kavs transfer fee instead to hire a more lethal CF or simply retained Flo and not hired Havs.
    Its all on MA, the earlier he realizes it the better. Wake up MA or walk out MA

  6. We can’t blame Nketiah alone for our inability to win the game, but I am losing confidence that he will progress beyond his current level, a level which is not good enough for a title winning team.

  7. Ended up being a bit fortunate . as he should have definitely been sent off for his over enthusiasm
    Maybe another option at the weekend

  8. We dropped 2 points because we conceded soft goals.We scored two and Jesus, not Nketiah , missed a great chance, which, to be fair, he created by his industry.Until we eliminate simple mistakes and sort out our defensive set up, we have not a hope of catching Man City.Nketiah did not play well, but to suggest that he alone cost us a win is nonsense.

  9. One is allowed in making a mistake by starting certain players, but prolonging the misfiring kid playing is a total different matter.

  10. Nketiah was clearly off on the day, and was never likely to step things up.

    ESR could have come in earlier and had time to see if he could impact the game.

    Arteta chose to stick with Nketiah, who again did not produce. He has had enough chances, he is not 21 anymore, and has not pushed on like some thought. End this failed experiment and get a striker who can finish.

    We can have a hard working striker who is not primarily a scorer, but we won’t win a title if we have 2 and not a scorer.

  11. I don’t blame Nketiah
    It’s not right to put blame on him
    I blame Arteta for not getting a better CF. Hopefully he will get one in January

    I think that’s the only major missing link

  12. Beginning of the season with 4 competitions brewing, it’s understandable to not push players physically especially with 6 major players injured. Gabriel Jesus just came back from injury thus he is not 100% yet. What’s the point of backup players if we don’t use them at all? Say what you want, Nketiah is a better player than last season. He was bad against Totties but so were everyone else. Just calm down.

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