Scoring goals against Sheffield United doesn’t make Nketiah a top level striker

Nketiah by Dan Smith

I have always said the way for Eddie Nketiah to prove the likes of myself wrong is by scoring goals. Do that and it doesn’t matter what his critics say.

The 24 year old did that on Saturday by claiming his first ever Prem hat trick, the first time he found the back of the net in his last 9 outings.

Say that out loud, a striker didn’t manage a goal in his last 9 appearances.

The weekend was only the third fixture this season he’s got on the scoresheet.

Which makes his opening celebration disappointing. His response to his putting Arsenal 1-0 up against Sheffield United was the cap his hand to his ear. Which is a worrying sign of the player’s mindset.

It reminds me of when Harry Maguire scored for England and celebrated in similar fashion despite struggling for form.

The likes of Roy Keane called the defender ’embarrassing, he’s been a disgrace for months, he scores and thinks he’s shutting up his critics.’

People are entitled to their opinions and equally the subject matter has the right to have his own point of view on what is being said.

The weekend might have been a response to how hurt the youngster feels towards what been said about his performances, in particular his display in the North London Derby.

If he feels he was somehow proving doubters wrong against the Blades that’s a poor reflection on his mindset.

It’s a lack of accountability. I much rather a Gunner reflect on his performance rather than play the victim, his gesture suggesting he’s somehow been harshly judged.

Where’s his pride to be doing better than his current goal return instead of being content.

The majority of Gooners, I don’t feel, have ever been unfair, or crossed the line, it’s never been personal.

Compare that to the grief a Giroud, Walcott and Bendtner got. Players with a lot better goal returns.

Eddie is one of our own, an academy graduate. We want him to succeed.

Yet we also want to win a title, something we have waited two decades for.

To compete with Man City the standards have to be high, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing out if a forward doesn’t quite have the quality to play for the Champions. I’m not sure how many of the 20 top flight clubs he is suitable for?

Worse is; he feels he’s now vindicated himself because he was able to score against a newly promoted side. That one display against a side bottom of the division with one-point excuses his lack of previous end product.

Let’s remember this is no longer some youth prospect where every goal is part of his development.

This is someone on 100,000 pound a week.

He’s been in our first team now for 6 years.

In that time (before Saturday) his record was 16 league goals in 98 games.

I would much rather that as a fanbase we are allowed to say that’s not good enough and demand more.

It’s actually quite offensive someone would take home such a wage and then dare put his hand to his ear having achieved so little.

We are not paying him to score against the League’s worst and boast about it.

Make this a consistent run of goals.

Go to Saint James Park next weekend and not be invisible.

Get a goal return in double digits for the first time in his career.

Improve on your record of 37 goals in 147 appearances …. maybe then hold your ear to the crowd.

The irony being that a game where he thought he was proving doubters wrong again proved that he doesn’t have the mentality to play at this level.


Watch all the goals from the Sheffield game here – including Nketiah’s hat-trick

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  1. Spot on
    I am infuriated , like the fellow gooners I know, watching him jog about the pitch. Losing focus and stand watching. If he was good enough he would have proved it by now!

    1. Ok you are right,but do you think it is easy out there on the field: getting injured,being hit to the ground and goodness not enough time to know where you are shooting the ball and please calm down when you insult young players,do you expect to be better than him how would you have felt when you have been trying to score a goal and people start insulting you because you finally scored a goal after 9 appearances.

    2. Perhaps for a more balanced article you should highlight how many of those appearances he started in and how many as substitute.

      1. @Neil
        Facts are, Eddie has scored 5 goals in 10 League games, of which he started in 8 of them. He has an average of a goal every 137 minutes. (from

  2. Yes, he could only be called a top-level CF if he scores consistently or if he can be our main pivot

    However, he’s been doing a decent job with the £100k weekly salary. His high-pressing effort alone has been helping our defense out

  3. He isn’t a terrible player, just not good enough for a club fighting for titles.

    I remember many saying Laca wasn’t good enough; he pressed and ran a lot but did not score enough.

    But Nketiah is? He presses and runs, but doesn’t score enough. Don’t be fooled by his display against a shambles like Sheffield.

    6 years has shown he is not consistent enough or threatening enough to be a reliable part of our attack.

  4. His hand to his ear being the “telephone” celebration that he has been using for years? Nothing to do with silencing critics. It’s just made up to have something to criticize him about.

    1. His hand to his ear being the “telephone” celebration that he has been using for years?

      No lol

      The irony being you made that up yourself

      1. The irony being that you can see Nketiah and Jesus doing the celebration on the first page of this site?

        From an article from 2020:

        “It’s just a little phone call! In pre-season Arsenal Media came up with a little thing ‘call me if you need a goal’ so I have kind of just stuck with it,” he told the Arsenal website.

        “A lot of my friends like it so they are eager for me to dial them up if I get on the scoresheet so I try to enjoy each goal, whether that is youth level, in the park, anywhere I always try to celebrate and enjoy it and it is always a blessing to score.”

        There are various articles online referring to his “trademarked telephone celebration” from before Saturday’s game as well.

        1. Or if you prefer an article from this very site last year:

          “They both (Nketiah and Jesus) have the same ‘talking on the phone’ goal celebration, which could have been awkward, but when Nketiah scored the first goal against Orlando the two players came together to call each other in a joint celebration, and it seemed they planned the move ahead of the game.”

          If admin let’s me I can include the links for you?

          1. Before you do that mate
            Go look at his celebration to his first goal lol

            Whisper now ….he doesn’t do the phone celebration lol
            If your going to comment at least …watch the game

            1. I’ve watched it back several times. In the ESPN footage I clearly see the telephone celebration. Perhaps it’s a different angle, I don’t know what you think you saw.

                1. I thought you said he cupped his hand to his ear, now you’re saying he put his finger to his ear, which one is it?
                  I still maintain it’s his normal celebration, but for argument’s sake, let’s say he did put his finger to his ear, how could you possibly comment on his reasons for doing so? Most of your charater assassination is based on that point. You also failed to mention that he dedicated his goals to his auntie who had passed away, surely he would have wanted to honour her, not ruin it by making some point to the fans?
                  And what about giving Vieira the ball for the penalty? Again no mention, but surely something he wouldn’t do if he were arrogant/angry? Look at his comments after the game:
                  “I was going to take it – I wanted to take it. I always want to get more goals.”
                  “Fabio came to me and said he wanted to take it, he won the penalty as well. He’s expecting a little one and it was a really good moment for him to get on the scoresheet and dedicate it.
                  “I’m a team player – I’d scored a hat-trick so I could allow other players to get in on the act. He took the penalty and scored, so we’re happy.”
                  None of that seems like a player with a chip on his shoulder, so the rest is just pure, incoherant speculation.

                    1. Nope, I said “I still maintain it’s his normal celebration, but for argument’s sake, let’s say he did put his finger to his ear”
                      It’s clear I was speaking hypothetically, where’s the contradiction?
                      On the other hand you first wrote “His response to his putting Arsenal 1-0 up against Sheffield United was the cap his hand to his ear” (which I assume means to cup his hand to his ear), and then “he asks for teammates to not back away and put his finger to ear”.
                      You’re trying to distract from the points by saying I’m contradicting myself, when it’s actually the other way around.

  5. Wow fact that he waited 4 days before writing such article says it all..not top level striker but give credit where credit is due!! When we beat Bournemouth 4-0 we gave credit to Odegard and co. When Nketiah performs poorly we criticise him so why don’t give him credit then ask/demand consistency. The goals weren’t tap ins FFS.

    Never even spoke about the win but bringing up negative BS not needed cos Jesus in injured and will need Nketiah(not top level striker) to step up. I’m out.

  6. True but it still isn’t easy to kick a hat-trick

    It’s highly unlikely that MA will get a CF in January especially after spending on Rice and Havertz in the summer. And with Jesus being on the injury list more often than we would like Nketiah could have an opportunity to show consistency.

    I’m very proud of his hat trick regardless

  7. I have a different and less dismissive take than Dan(about Eddie), as to me Jesus is not really a TRUE STRIKER at all but a talented all round attacking player but who will never score enough goals, despite his talent , to be a great actual STRIKER, at our level.

    I like him as a player but he is NOT, IMO a striker at all.

    Eddie is an improving player but from a lower base and is a better finisher in the box by far than JESUS. He lacks Jesus’s all round football ability though, but IS improving, definitely.

    Ideally, we need another but probably expensive already proven striker, but I see our chance of getting a big name as very slim, at least this season. I do much appreciate both players work rate and enthusiasm though.
    I predict it will be a mixture of Nketiah and Jesus, who plays, depending on fitness, form and who are our opponents.
    Not ideal, but what we are most likely to get, THIS SEASON!

  8. No one here is clever than arteta in managing clubs. Arteta trusts nketiah and his decision is better than all the comments from just arsenal

  9. Back in the days when we had wiltord, anelka, chamak, and even lacazette how many goals did they score in a season in relation to what nketia provides. Actually if he can get us 10 to 15 goals in all games then he’s going the job as a second string striker.

    1. But he doesn’t
      In 6 years he’s managed to score double digits once ( 10)
      Yes laccsa , Wiltord , anelka all did better

  10. Correct me if i am wrong, Scoring goals against anyone is a strikers job. Correct me if i am wrong, Sheffield utd are a premier league team. Correct me if i am wrong Nketiah is Arsenals top goal scorer so far this season and hasn’t started every game. Correct me if i am wrong but the articles reference to Nketiahs goal celebration is totally off the mark and uncalled for. Correct me if i am wrong Nketiah has broke records and scored goals at every level. Correct me if i am wrong the kid is still young. Correct me if i am wrong, this article is insulting. Eddie is not the best striker in the league and yes we could do with better but he never lets Arsenal down. He IS a proper goalscorer and he does do a very good job when called on. For me he is well deserving of a place in our squad/team. The fact that he hasn’t got more competition is not his fault.

    1. Oh and his transfer value has gone up from 10 mil to 49 mil in a year, so he must be doing something, that some dont see.

    2. You have been effusive in your praise Reggie, for Eddie and whilst I agree that SheffU are a premier league team they are just about hanging on by their smallest finger nails and barely offer a threat. You do point out that he’s not the best striker in the league and to me he is no more than a squad player albeit on a generous salary.
      Not good enough regularly enough imo

      1. But that wasn’t what the article was about Sue, he isnt our no1 striker. I was highlighting some of the facts of his career. Im not trying to promote Nketiah, just highlight some of the things he is goid at. He isn’t and i dont think he is good enough to be our no1 but i also dont think a character assassination after he did the job he was in for, was called for.

  11. Inserting index fingers into your ears is what means what you’re trying to make up not the one he did as his celebration on saturday is kinda like means “say my name louder, i can’t here you”. You as well failed to notice the one he did before that, pointing at himself before pointing towards the ground which means he is here to stay, a message that shows a mentality i admire in him despite all his hardships and most importantly Mikel the gaffer himself. so cry us a river mate cos Eddie is here to stay while improving as time goes on.

  12. Reggie, can I take this opportunity to correct you?
    Eddie’s goal tally is an embarrassment for a club the size of The Arsenal, just as it was for Chamak, Bedtner, Sanoga etc etc.

    Jesus offers so much more to the team and we will find out how much he will be missed over the next few weeks.

    “Scoring goals against anyone is a strikers job” – Agreed, but Eddie doesn’t do that.

    “Breaking records at every level” – except in the PL, where the defences sort out the men from the boys.

    “Sheffield United are a Premier league team” – with just one point on the board out of a possible thirty, one wonders if they will be at the end of the season.

    “He is Arsenal’s top scorer” – take away the three goals against SU (all superbly taken I should add) and does he still hold that claim?

    “But he never let’s us down” – I have watched him walk around, lose himself in games, so, no, in my opinion he has let us and himself down.

    “The kid is still young” – He is 24 years old and signed as a scholar in 2015, so when do you expect him to deliver from that kind of training, along with the £100k a week he reportedly earns?

    “Nketiah’s goal celebrations” – I agree, totally uncalled for and Dan should have done his homework, as ArGooner has highlighted.

    “The fact that he hasn’t got more competition is not his fault” – agree once again, so who do we blame for that situation?

    “For me, he is well deserving of a place in our team/squad”.
    Let me ask you this Reggie, would he be of interest to the likes of city, pool, newcastle, spuds or villa and would he get into ANY of their current squads, remembering that these are the clubs we are fighting it out for the PL title?

    Nketiah had his best game ever for the club against SU, but he is only a back up and that’s why we need to sign someone like Toney in January, meanwhile I will support him 100% and hope he proves me completely wrong.

    1. Can i ask you ken, with the obvious exception of city, Liverpool, Spuds, Villa and Newcastle? Yes he probably would get into their squads. Outside their first choice, they do not 100% have anyone better. I said, he is a premier league standard striker ( which jesus isn’t) i said striker. I also said we could get better. He isnt as bad as some make out and he isn’t our no1 striker. When he is called on, he does no worse and sometimes better than any striker in the above teams, City excepted. Nketiah would probably ( in my ooinion) actuscore more goals for the said teams because they play a more suitable style of football for his style. But all opinion of course. I thought this article was 1) very badly timed 2) totally uncalled for.

      1. Agree with your last sentence Reggie especially after his best game ever.
        But I consider The Arsenal to be on par (at the very least) with the clubs you mention, so why have we not improved on Eddie – that’s where I’m coming from.

        1. Ken, Jesus was bought as our improvement/no1 striker. Eddie is our back up. I think he is a decent “backup” its not a secret that i would like a “proper” striker and if we got one, i would be perfectly happy with Eddie as the alternative to say Osimhen. Jesus im my opinion is not as good a “striker” as Eddie. Football ability yes, striker, No.

  13. What a propaganda. All claims are false. If a striker’s tally against low teams don’t count, then what’s the point of top scorer award? Shall we reduce Haaland’s goal tally from last season? Eddie Nketiah is not perfect but he is improving season by season. Nketiah is the best second choice striker in EPL now. His finger on the ear celebration wasn’t same as Harry Maguire who put his whole palm around his ear. Eddie wanted more noise from the crowd. And Eddie trains, runs and presses like a hardcore bull terrier. His third goal celebration showed he deserves to be at the club with a hattrick. After that, he took the armband, gave the penalty to Viera and pushed Tomiyasu to the crowd to celebrate his first goal. That’s as positive as skipper Odegaard would do. This out of order Nketiah hate is truly nefarious by the writer.

  14. Many Arsenal fans, with some justification, do not feel Nketiah is good enough.
    However, this article has gone overboard in its attempts to discredit his mentality, professionalism and respect for Arsenal fans.

  15. I absolutely agree with this comment . Nketia is not the striker arsenal. Should.rely on . Arsenal needs a far better striker with presence

  16. “Worse is; he feels he’s now vindicated himself because he was able to score against a newly promoted side”
    I agree he’s not a top level striker, and that his hat trick against Sheffield doesn’t prove anything, but i think the above sentence is the only issue anyone could realistically have with the article. There’s a bit of mind reading going on, which is likely inaccurate. I don’t think Eddie believes this performance means he proved himself – at least, I don’t see any evidence for that.
    I like Eddie, respect his attitude and wish him only the best while he’s at arsenal and would wish him the best if he ended up moving, but it’s 100% true he’s not a top level striker right now. He has put in some very solid team performances, though, including in big games – that shouldn’t be ignored. However, he’s not consistent and too often makes little to no impact.

  17. This article is not well articulated, mind you every strikers dream is to score goals week in week out, and mind you no club in EpL is small club. Have a look at those goals, it’s no mean feat. To score from 26 yards outside the penalty area is no moi moi. I see no criticism on the part of the young Gun. Nketiah is good

  18. Somehow I feel like the problem many fans,including this author, have with Nketiah is his reported 100,000 salary,yet he did not award himself the wage. There are many factors to consider when evaluating a player’s wage. The most important factor in Eddie’s contract was him being a free agent so he was always going to earn more than what he was valued at at the time. Signing a homegrown striker at the time would probably have cost the club a lot more than awarding a relatively huge contract to Nketia who was performing well towards the end of that season. For perspective,Sead Kolasinac,who was not exactly world class,was signed by Wenger in the summer of 2017 on a free transfer. He immediately became one of the highest earners at the club on a reported 100,000 just like Nketiah, although the value of that amount would have been more in 2017 if you factor in inflation. It’s just how free transfers work,not just in football,but most team sports.

    The Nketia signing made financial sense because the club was essentially saving since they would have had to purchase another striker if he left and that would have impacted signings in other priority positions. It also made football sense because they were going to sign a highly thought of striker in Jesus and Eddie would just be back-up. Problem is,most of our fans compare him to main strikers of other clubs. If we were to compare him to other back-ups,I can only think of City’s Alvarez and Newcastle’s Wilson who are doing better; Alvarez has been playing in midfield so that leaves just Wilson. At the moment,he’s performing better than the likes of Richarlison,Nunez,all United strikers and all Chelsea strikers.

    Even if you were to look at giant clubs like Barcelona,Real Madrid and Bayern. Who are their back up strikers? At Madrid they have Mariano Diaz who has no goal contributions this season. Is he better than Eddie? I don’t think so.Is Bayern’s Choupo Moting really better? I’m not sure. Hojlund ? Jackson at Chelsea? Welbeck ? I’m not saying Eddie is the best. He needs to improve certain aspects of his game for sure. He can look sluggish at times when he comes off the bench. That said,some the criticism he gets is way over the top. Are people really expecting a Ronaldoesque performances from a back up striker???

  19. What I’ll say about Eddie is all that he needs to do is be consistent and each time he gets a chance to play must give it all. Only then will the “negative” noises disappear.

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