Tag Archives: eddie nketiah

Time running out for 3 Hale End products as Arsenal look to secure Europa League qualification

Morning all.

Today we face Molde in the Europa League.

Victory would see The Arsenal move to 12 points and guarantee qualification into the knock-out stages. If Rapid Wien fail to beat Dundalk, we will also secure top spot with 2 games to go.

The Europa League has not seen Mikel Arteta put out a vast number of youngsters that we have seen in previous years.

This is a nod to how much stronger our squad is that our 2nd XI now is, filled with senior internationals, and highlights how many of our top youngsters are no longer really considered youngsters.

We could put out a side containing Kieran Tierney, Gabriel, Bukayo Saka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli and it would not feel like we have fielded a side of kids, even though every single one is still eligible to play for the U23 side.

It is important to get the balance of progression right. We want to see the likes of Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez and Ben Cottrell get a run out, but we also need to ensure the 2nd string are match sharp.

A couple of the youngsters expected to play are now playing for their future at Arsenal.

Reiss Nelson has not really done it since breaking into the Arsenal first team squad in 2017.

He had a decent loan spell at 1899 Hoffenheim but has failed to kick on.

Some will say “he has not had the game time” but with Nicolas Pepe’s form since his arrival, he would have got his chance if he was showing enough on the training ground.

“But he has spent a lot of time injured” is another defence of the youngster, but that should fall on deaf ears.

There is no point have the talent of Lionel Messi if you have the injury record of Darren Anderton.

Your top players are not only talented but also fairly physically robust. How many small, niggling injuries he has had at such a young age is a worry.

He reminds me a lot of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That he might be talented but he will never remain fit enough to put together a run of half a dozen games to kick on.

Compare him to the kid a couple of years junior on the other side of the pitch.

Bukayo Saka has forced his way into the team due to his performances, and has stayed fit. He is now a regular for Arsenal and England, and is now levels ahead of Nelson.

Saka shows that if you are good enough, you get your chance. It might just be that Nelson is not good enough, and in the summer we should look to cash in, reinvest, and focus on the next rising star in the academy.

Likewise Eddie Nketiah is at a bit of a crossroads.

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.

Eddie is 22 at the end of this year. With Gabriel Martinelli returning from injury and Balogun and Nikolaj Moller performing well at U23 level, time might be running out if he does not kick on to the next level.

Arsenal could sell Nketiah and Nelson in the summer, raising close to £40million as sides buy them based on their potential. This could be key funds to be reinvest in senior players, with the likes of Martinelli and Balogun stepping up to replace them.

Joe Willock is another one who might have peaked.

He has performed will in the Europa League in recent years but not taken that form into the Premier League. He is another the club might cash in on next summer, and start focusing on the likes of Azeez and Charlie Patino.

It would be a tough decision to let all 3 youngsters go, but if their developments has levelled out, then they should be moved on. Raising £50m+ in the sales of 3 academy products should be seen as a positive.

Arsenal would have additional funds to spend on superior players, and it frees the path for the next crop of youngsters to get their chance.

Hopefully all 3 put in top performances tonight, we win 6-0, Nketiah hat trick, 2 for Willock and one for Nelson.

Keenos

England goal machine “invaluable” to Arsenal

Eddie Nketiah equalled Alan Shearer’s record for the most England U21 goals when he netted against Andorra in midweek.

A bright start to the season for club and country has seen the Arsenal youngster demonstrate why he could be an important player at Emirates Stadium for years to come.

 

Nketiah’s record-equalling strike on international duty is not of great importance in itself. However, it is key in that he has demonstrated a genuine goal-scoring threat at the age of just 21. Granted, many of his international goals have come against opposition far below Premier League level, but you can only play against the team in front of you.

Indeed, Nketiah has made a similar impact at club level for Arsenal after he was recalled from a topsy-turvy loan spell at Leeds on New Year’s Day. In his first appearance under Mikel Arteta, he scored against Bournemouth in the FA Cup Fourth Round with a wonderfully taken strike. In the next round against Portsmouth, the Hale End graduate showed his striker’s instinct once again, nipping in at the near post to squeeze the ball in.

Appearing with regularity in Arteta’s starting XI after lockdown, Nketiah was rewarded for his energetic display at Southampton with a goal when his relentless pressing forced Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy into a mistake that left the centre-forward with an open net.

That goal conveys most effectively why he should not be underestimated under the tutelage of Arteta. His desire to do what is instructed of him to help the team to victory is rare in such a young player. Combine that understanding with his poaching ability inside the area and it is easy to see why the Spaniard and his coaching staff rate Nketiah so highly.

Tactically, he is an invaluable asset to Arsenal. In the same way Alexandre Lacazette looks to press from the front, Nketiah buzzes round the field tirelessly, intent and focused on winning the ball back for his side. Arsenal have two strikers who are willing to do the dirty work. This means they are more likely to produce a performance of high intensity for the full 90 minutes, which consequently increases their chances of victory. They struggled to do this last season, drawing as many league games as they won (14).

Goalscoring was another glaring issue for the Gunners last campaign. Arsenal relied far too heavily on skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored 22 of their 56 league goals in 2019/20, their worst goal-scoring record in nearly 25 years. Along with the dynamism that new signing Thomas Partey brings in central midfield, the option to rotate Nketiah and Lacazette should help Arteta as he seeks to ignite Arsenal’s attack.

Thanks to the presence of Nketiah, Arsenal also have the luxury of two goal-scoring number nines, a need their rivals have struggled to fill. Manchester United are paying Edinson Cavani, who arrived at Old Trafford on deadline day to complete a free transfer, around £200,000 per week. Spurs have also found it difficult to find a reliable, ready-made back-up option to Harry Kane. Their latest attempt to find such a player resulted in the signing of Carlos Vinicus on loan from Benfica, who they have an option to buy at the end of the season for £36 million.

If Arteta hadn’t given Nketiah a run in the side, he may have felt the need to add depth up front. However, he has been impressed by the young Englishman’s ability and application to this point and there is, without doubt, more to come from Eddie Nketiah in an Arsenal shirt.

Zac Campbell

The England youth international striker set to save Arsenal £20million

You do not always have to sign players to strengthen your squad.

A current players development can see him go from talented youth player to first team regular in the matter of months.

Even if they do not kick on to be a first team regular, they can still become an important first team squad member.

We have seen that with Bukayo Saka.

This time last year he was an U23 player. Fans were talking about our lack of left wing options and the likes of Ousmane Dembélé, Justin Kluivert and Malcolm. All of these players would have cost £30million+.

Instead of making a big money move, Arsenal promoted and developed Bukayo Saka. He became that extra option on the left wing and is now a £30million+ player.

Saka is an example of why looking at what a club spends on new signings is not a good method to compare squad improvements.

Barcelona spent £0 on Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Ineista and Sergio Busquets. They dominated Europe.

With Mikel Arteta preferring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left wing, and Gabriel Martinelli injured until Christmas, Arsenal were left with one senior striker in Alexandre Lacazette.

Heavily linked with Odsonne Edouard in a deal which would have been worth close to £30million, Edu and Arteta decided to go down another route.

Instead of signing for Celtic’s French U21 international, the club opted to go for an English U21 international. Arsenal were rewarded when the youngster came off the bench to score the winner against West Ham United.

How excited would we all be if this summer, Arsenal spent £20million on England’s first choice U21 striker? Someone who had scored 7 goals in his last 3 England U21 appearances, including 2 hat tricks. And then he came off the bench against West Ham to score the winner.

And then a few days later he scored again in his first start of the season.

We would all be sitting here this saying “great signing”, excited about how we have one of England’s best young strikers, who is ready to push for the first team.

But because he came through the youth team, the hype is not quite there.

Eddie Nketiah has been patient during his time at Arsenal.

A prolific goal scorer at youth levels, he scored 15 goals in 16 appearances for the U18s and a further 12 goals in 26 games for the U23s. He was just 17 at the time.

The next season (2017/18) he got a handfall of appearances in the Europa League and League Cup.

Against Norwich in the League Cup, he came on as an 85th minute substitute, nabbing an equaliser for Arsenal just 15 seconds after coming on with his first touch, before hitting the winner in extra time.

2018/19 was a tough one for the young striker as he missed out on a loan to the Bundesliga due to injury to senior Arsenal players. Missing out on this game time set him back in his development. Although he did score his first Premier League goal on the last day of the season.

In the summer of 2019, he got his loan deal, joining Championship side Leeds.

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa described Nketiah upon signing as a “young, important player in English football”.

Despite Bielsa also describing Nketiah as a “complete player”, he continued to pick Patrick Bamford ahead of Nketiah. Opting for a work horse striker rather than a goal scorer. Nketiah returned to Arsenal in January 2020, his loan deal cancelled.

This season, with Martinelli out injured, Nketiah has stepped up to be Lacazette’s understudy.

Arsenal have backed Nketiah throughout his career.

In 2018, Arsenal had 2 England you internationals. Nketiah and Stephy Mavididi. It was Mavididi who was released, joining Juventus. He is now at Montpellier.

This summer Arsenal had a similar decision to make.

19-year-old Florian Balogun was itching for game time. Demanding it. Refusing to sign a new contract unless he had guarantees of being in Arsenal’s first team squad. Minutes in the League Cup and Europa League.

The problem for Balogun is he had Nketiah ahead of him.

Nketiah has done everything that Balogun has achieved in the youth team, has taken his loan deal and now deserves his chance in Arsenal’s first team set-up. Nketiah is a better player than Balogun.

Moving Balogun ahead of Nketiah in the pecking order just so that he signed a new contract made no sense. Nketiah deserves his chance in Arsenal’s first team squad. Balogun doesn’t.

Ideally, Arsenal would want to keep Balogun. Send him on loan, and then depending on his and Nketiah’s performances this season, make a decision on the 2 in 2021. Balogun does not want to wait 12 months for his chance. He wants it now. And Arsenal can not give it to him.

Instead Arsenal are giving the chance to Nketiah, and it is now up to him to take it.

He took his chance against West Ham, scoring the winner. For Arsenal, he is like a new signing.

Had Arsenal signed an England U21 international with back to back hatricks at that level for £20million, and he scored a winner on his 2nd appearance of the season, we would all be shouting “what a signing”.

Instead people are still moaning that we have not improved the squad. Not made enough new signings.

Arsenal have added a £20million to the squad. Just like in Saka and Martinelli.

The 3 of them would cost Arsenal £70million if they were signed today. Instead they cost £7million.

Back the youngsters, back Nketiah, back Arsenal.

Keenos