Is it time to put some respect on Eddie Nketiah’s name and apologise for the disprespect some fans have given him over the years?
In 2020, I wrote a blog about how time was running out for Eddie. That it was time for the torch to passed to Florian Balogun to replace him as the “young Arsenal striker” in the squad.
He was 21 years old and career had stagnated. At the time I said:
Nketiah is a goal poacher, but his problem is a modern striker needs to be able to do more – whether that be creating, holding the ball up or running the channels.
Balogun was younger and tearing up the youth leagues. The time felt right for him to step up and become Arsenal’s 3rd choice striker (at the time Arsenal have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette leading the line).
3 years on and he is now showing himself as being a very good 2nd choice striker.
When he came in for Lacazette in the back end of last season, I was impressed.
He had developed his hold up play. His work rate had improved and he was running those channels. Everything I had asked for in 2020. Nketiah was much improved.
That led him to get a new contract as Mikel Arteta made it clear – Eddie would be our 2nd choice striker.
Despite his form in the back end of last season (5 goals in the last 7 league games, some still moaned. The following is some of the comments I have colated from one individual that will remain nameless:
“He is stealing time from Balogun. Should never be in an Arsenal kit. He’s woeful.”
“Eddie being offered a new deal is ridiculous if true. Especially at £100k a week.”
“Nketiah isn’t a top 4 striker.”
“Nketiah isn’t a Premier League striker.”
“Get Dominic Calvert-Lewin”
“Nketiah isn’t a Premier League striker. If you honestly think he is then maybe football isn”t for you. He goes to Palace and won’t be their [first choice] striker or back up.”
“It’s not my monty so I’m not spending it. Nketiah is one of the worst strikers in the league and it’s telling that the likes of Palace are in for him. If you think he is good enough for Arsenal that’s fine. You’re allowed to be wrong some of the time.”
“Nketiah should never be starting games for Arsenal. Play Pepe through the middle. Anything is better than Nketiah.”
“He [Nketiah] is absolute shite. One of the worst players in recent years to pull on an Arsenal shirt.”
“If he [Nketiah] had not come through the academy, he would be getting dogs abuse like Xhaka did/does and the likes of Eboue did.”
That is the goal return from Eddie Nketiah in his 12 Premier League starts since coming in for Lacazette at the back end of last season.
Scored in 6 of them
Ok, so he might not be Erling Haaland. But who is?
Look at Chelsea’s struggles in recent years to sign a decent first choice striker. At Tottenham trying to recruit someone to cover Harry Kane. At Manchester United who have just loaned in a fella from Burnley.
A lot of the credit has to go to Eddie.
He could have remained “just a poacher” and signed for Palace. Lived the easy life off the back of just scoring goals.
But he wanted more.
Eddie got his head down and has improved every aspect of his game. And it is fabulous to see.
I recently wrote how Arteta now has a double striker dilema. That a decision needs to be made in the summer over Eddie and Balogun.
Balogun is doing bits in France. 10 goals in his 18 games for Rennes. But very few would argue that he should now come in for Eddie.
Whilst I do not feel the need to apologise for my Nketiah blogs – everything was correct at the time and he has improved those aspects of the game; many people will have to look into what they said in the past and apologise for it.
Gabriel Jesus will come back in for Eddie when he is fit. But we now know we have a solid 2nd choice striker.
Good job Eddie!