Should Arteta stick with Nketiah against Norwich?

It was only Sunderland, and no one is going to pretend that scoring against League One opposition makes you ready for the Premiership. Some would even say League One Is his standard given the majority of his performances in the League.

In the Cups Eddie Nketiah looks confident, in the Prem he looks like a competition winner, someone grateful to be there but not entirely convinced he belongs in that company.

The swagger he showed on Tuesday and often against lower League opposition is not the demeanor we see in the top division.

Yet they say strikers gain confidence by goals, no matter who the opponents. If a hat trick doesn’t qualify you to start at Norwich nothing will.

Even from a tactical point of view, if Arteta wants the forward to extend his contract, then he needs to play him at Carrow Road. What sign does it give to the player (and others) if you take your opportunity in the Carabao Cup and are then dropped for Boxing Day.

Remember as things stand the player has turned down an offer of a new deal, believed not to be for financial reasons but based on a lack of game time.

Arteta speaking about Nketiah last night: “We are trying. It’s not about anything else but minutes. He wants gametime, he wants to be on that field and that is the only reason to say, ‘Can I do it here?’ That’s the question. We all want him to stay.”

“…Recently he’s played more minutes than in the past and we’re going to need him and he’s going to play more minutes.

At 22, he can’t keep hiding behind being a youngster from our academy.

A refusal to sign could equally be translated as acknowledging he isn’t going to a regular starter for the Gunners.

There’s no disgrace if that’s the case. If the assumption is that we want to return to our previous levels, then it’s okay if you’re not quite up to those standards.

At Arsenal you have to play under a massive spotlight under intense pressure. You go a couple of games without a goal it gets debated and talked about.

It makes the next week a huge one in the career of Nketiah’s.

Maybe now or never.

From next month he can sign a pre-contract with clubs abroad if he wants. The next week might make his mind up.

Aubameyang is being frozen out and you score a hat trick. If he still can’t get a chance in the League, he never will.

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Tags Nketiah Sunderland


  1. Auba isn’t being frozen out.
    He must have breached discipline in a very serious way, and quite possibly deserves to be either shown the door or to be left out untill he shows, he
    has learned his lesson.

    1. What lessons, he’s 33 he’s not going to the world cup, he’s not going to win balon di’or, so he can just decided to do an ozil and wait till he’s contract run down. But something tells me Aubamayang is not the type that will just sit on the bench.

      1. It is essential we get Nketiah contract renewal at any cost and also renew contract of our stars Saka, Martinelly, ESR, Gabriel, Saliba, Tierny and others at very early stage rather than late otherwise we will end up with releasing these players or giving big fat payroll more than they deserve. Also give Laca contract renewal. It’s better to sell player when he still command some fee rather than playing wait and watch game which we always do.

    2. I love Auba, but he is too one-dimensional lately. Even my wife who watches soccer very sparingly can predict his movement before he gets a through pass. His movement is now heavily telegraphed and easy to mark out. Auba can regain his goal-scoring heights, but I feel MA isn’t ready to build a team round just one man where everyone play only to his strengths, only to watch everything fall apart when things isn’t clicking for the main man, a la Juve-CR7. MA is building a team. Now, every single player on the team is very replaceable in-house, bar Leno. And even Leno has his days.

  2. No point in keeping the lad if you cant get him to play during a paucity of clinical forwards in the team. If he breaks his senior team duck 3 games in a row, he will quickly ascend to Premiership levels and certainly never look back again. Way to go about it is that If he loves Arsenal as much as I suspect he does, it shouldn’t be that hard to convince him to stay with a wage increase and a promise to feature in 80% of games in Europe next season. The likes of Newcastle are watching as they are planning to splurge on a rebuild. That will be too hard to ignore for a young lad like him.

  3. I know I’ll probably be crucified for saying this, but have always said Nketiah is the second best finisher will have in this team after Aubamayang. He may not be so good with hold up play but he certainly knows how to score goals. I think if Arteta is serious about keeping him, let him start him against Norwich, we should beat Norwich even with our second team.

    1. 100% agree. Would send a strong message to rest of team about what happens if you put a shift in. To say nothing about less than 48 hour turnaround before Wolves.

      If he doesn’t start one of these two games I think legitimate questions can be asked about Arteta’s words and actions.

    2. @Lenohappy,

      I wont say hes the best finisher in the league but definitely best in our team. He cant hold up play, not particularly pacey, doesnt really dribble and have never seen him take long shots but he’s damn good at:

      – finishing
      – poaching
      – be at the right place at right time

      Always useful to have a forward like that.

    3. Never seen him score a 1v1 in the first team from many attempts (maybe once?). His movement is great and he is good at turning in crosses, but i can’t have him being our best finisher. Martinelli is a level above the rest since auba’s form dropped and I’d bank on Pepe and ESR above Nketiah in most situations.

        1. I agree @Grandad. That was a silly comment from him. Same Big Dog that f_ _ked Mary’s Little Lamb. Really, Nketiah isn’t the worst. Would make an adequate capable squad player. Who knows, he may very well develop into something very special with the right guidance. Funny when thinking about it, the amount of young Arsenal players that leave this club end up being very good players. One thing I like about the lad is, he’s always lurking inside the penalty area waiting for the scraps. It’s a great shame he never got real playing time when he was on loan at Leeds United. That spell may have harmed his confidence. He was playing ok for England under 21

  4. It’s a little late to start giving Eddie a chance now if you wanted him to stay, I’m pretty sure he’s smart enough to see right through that….very much like AMN was convinced to stay and we’ve seen a lot of him over the past year haven’t we?

    My question to MA would be, “If you wanted him to extend ,why not give Eddie game time last year when everyone else was dismal?” Surely he couldn’t have been worse.

    1. Arteta also forgot the reason he wants him to stay is because he’s frozen out our main striker ,Abit late now ,should have tried to offload him in the summer when we could have still got a transfer fee for him .

  5. Nothing to do with Eddie’s hat trick last night or his ongoing contract situation and certainly nothing to do with Auba, I would imagine that if he is fit and available Laca will quite rightly start the next League game

    Eddie could come on for him as sub at some point though

    By the way “At 22, he can’t keep hiding behind being a youngster from our Academy”…what’s that supposed to mean Dan?

  6. Nketiah is behind Lacca in every aspect of the game. Credit where it is due, he did great against Sunderland but that is more his level or just above. His all round game isn’t good enough yet to get a start over the players ahead of him. Plus i dont see him here next season.

  7. Two of his goals epitomized just what a natural finisher he is.The dilemma for Arteta is the impact Lacca has on Martinelli, Saka and ESR and of course the fact that he will wear the Captains armband if he plays.While I would start with Lacca, I would give Eddie at least 30 mins against Norwich.Against Everton, he impressed on the left flank when he came on and he is versatile enough to play anywhere in the front three.

    1. Grandad, lets soberly and without the bias that so many on here show, weigh up the assets of LACA versus NKETIAH.
      LACA has better all round team linking skills but less clinical finishing. NKETIAH has more pace and is a true fox in the 6 yard box(as opposed to the 18 yard box).
      Eddie is slight and more easily brushed off theball.

      Neither can head well. Neither score from distance. Neither are real top class. Laca will not improve, as he is 30, Eddie MAY improve but is unlikely to bulk up, as its not his natural build.

      IMO neither are what we need in the medium and certainly not in the long term. I would try to keep both til next summer but have at least one top class PROPER STRIKER LINED UP TO BRING IN THEN.

      IF they were to accept it on reasonable terms only, I could, albeit with some reservations, make out case for either, even both, to get a ONE year only extension or new contract , but not for longer than that.
      Both have too many limitations to be at the level we need going forwards and to my mind that is clear.

      1. Jon
        I agree with your comments and there is much sense in them.

        Nice to see Nketiah have a great game and the club win. But against a tier 3 club, and Nketiah has failed to have a presence in the PL for a couple years and with 2 managers.

        He also was benched when loaned to a Championship side Leeds. He simply doesn’t have the skill set we need for a striker under Arteta.

        Can’t hold up play, easily brushed off the ball, can’t create his own shot, and lacks the technique of attacking players like ESR, Saka, and Martinelli.

        Sadly Nketiah is a nice lad, but not a player to help us reach top 4 and compete with the best.

        One fine game does not negate or compensate for 2 years of failing to impress at the PL level. His time has come and gone at Arsenal.

        We have youth stepping up and producing finally, I fear Nketiah’s inclusion may deny other more promising youth their chance to shine.

        Lastly others comparing him to Balogun is unfair. Let Balogun get a 2 year stay in the first team, and chances with a starting 11. Then let others compare the end products.

      2. I agree Jon.I merely responded to the question posed by the writer of the article concerning the Norwich match.Neither Eddie nor Lacca are the longer term answer but I would challenge one despondent who suggests Lacca is better “in every aspect of the game”. From what I have seen Nketiah is the more natural finisher of the two.

  8. Absolutely NO WAY. The difference between Sunderland, League Cup and Norwich, Premier League is vast. Martinelli and Lacazette are doing fine. To change it would be equivalent to ‘self harm’. Nketiah will not get us to fourth place. We need to buy a quality striker in January if we want 4th place and Europe.

  9. Nketiah is good but not in the same league as ESR or Saka . He is 23 so the question is , can develop further to full the demands of a new striker that Arsenal desperately need? For it seems he lacks couple attributes for that mainly holding and ability to pass. But only coaching team can tell if he can develop those skills or not. If was like ESR or Saka he would have learnt by now.

  10. The guy scored a very nice hat trick against 3rd tier footballers … I hope it’s boosted his value but he is a championship level player … just like wilock … and I sadly recall the delusional comments on this site about him when he moved to Newcastle and how we we’re giving away a gem etc …

    1. What is your view on Balogun RW1?, the guy that didn’t score a very nice hat trick against 3rd tier footballers

  11. We should expect some squad rotation over the next three games, so I would think there’s more than a fair chance of Eddie playing if only out of necessity.

  12. MA should not jettison one of the in-form Laca and Martinelli from starting the Norwich game next Sunday. just for no any real reason other than allowing Nkethia to start the match, doing so to please him will be disrespecting to his current starting XI team who has been playing very well in the EPL will be like one does not know what he’s doing.

    But MA could play Nkethia as a 30 minutes substitute to come on for Laca or Martinelli in the 2nd half of the match. Which should be enough time for Nkethia to show what game he has in him for Arsenal. In the match.

  13. That was an amazing performance by Nketiah last night! Nonetheless, I still think we should let him go. I’ve seen enough of him in the Premier League. He should go.

  14. No, I would keep Laca and Marti with Saka and ESR.

    Maybe Partey alone and then we can play Ode upfront or play with 2 DM as usual.

  15. If as a sub? Yes. But him starting is out of the question. Our front line of Marty-Laca-saka, have been the most balanced this season, so far. It will be absurd to disrupt such balance and our focus should be on Norwich, we shouldn’t undermine them. They are a different team nw, under a new manager. So, I suggest we field our best XI and if Arteta deems it appropriate to play Nketiah ahead of whosoever, fine by me, in so far as we get the points. COYG!

    1. Pepe definitely isn’t a flop, his stats are actually pretty decent. If he was utilized properly you’d see him shine.

  16. OT: I don’t know if any other person noticed how our game changed drastically as soon as Xhaka came in. Of course we were leading before his entrance, but honestly the game was haphazard and wishywashy almost patternless, until Xhaka came in.
    Fans tend to just be intolerant of certain players who are doing quite well no matter how much they contribute, but apologetic with others who offer little or nothing to the team.

    1. I did observe that Gily. We we able to control the game once he came in. Also Odegaard seems to be underrated. There is no one else in the team who is able to control the game with such intricate passing. As much as I love ESR, I prefer Ode at that CDM/AM role

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