Tag Archives: Premier League

Eddie Nketiah owed an apology

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.”

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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.

12 games
Scored in 6 of them
9 goals

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!

Keenos

The apprehension and excitment of Tottenham away

Morning all and Happy North London Derby Day.

Tottenham away, a game I look forward too and at the same time dread. Today is my first visit to their new ground.

Not much will beat the nervous energy, the antacipation walking down the High Road. With your mates. Us against them, ready for whatever happens.

But White Hart Lane has not been a happy hunting ground for us in recent years. The North London Derby has massively favoured the home teams over the last decade or so.

We have not beaten Tottenham away since the 2015 League Cup, Mathieu Flamini with those two goals. I was there that night, and what a night it was.

Our last league win was 2014, Tomas Rosicky with the only goal.

Before you think “Keenos is a luck omen, glad he is going today”, they are the only two occassions I have seen us win at their place. Three if you include a FA Youth Cup game when Jack Wilshere pulled the strings!

Since Tottenham ended out 21-game unbeaten run against them in 2008, we have won just 2 of 16 away games at White Hart Lane (or Wembley). Both mentioned above.

And in recent years, the away game against that lot have been where our hopes and dreams have crashed and burned.

Last season, a victory against Tottenham with 3 games to go would have guaranteed us a top 4 place, and finishing above them for the first time since 2016. We were turned over 3-0 with Harry Kane opening the scoring with his customary North London Derby penalty.

2019 is also a North London Derby day that bitterly sticks in the memory.

1-1 and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is bought down for an 89th minute penalty. Our talisman gets up, dusts himself down, and takes tne penalty. SAVED.

And then to add insult to injury, just as Aubameyang looked set to tap into the empty net, Jan Vertonghen makes a last-ditch slide challenge.

Vertonghen had encroached deeply into the area on the penalty but he got away with it. Without that, he would not have been able to make the tackle. And there was no VAR in those days.

Two points dropped, and they ended up being crucial as we finished a single point behind Tottenham, and failed to make the top 4.

So I make no apologies for feeling apprehensive ahead of the game today. Although after a few beers in Islington and that journey to the stadium I will be bang up for it.

It does feel like we are in the middle of our most crucial period of the season.

We have already faced Brighton (A) & Newcastle (H). Both sides in the top 8.

Today it is a trip to Tottenham (5th), followed by a resurgent Manchester United (4th). We then have a tricky away trip to Everton – Goodison Park is never an easy win despite how poor they are.

That is followed by games against Brentford (9th) and Manchester City (2nd).

I have refused to get to embroiled in the title talk. Yes, we are in the race but we are certainly not favourites. The bookied have had Man City odds-on since before the season began. It should not be seen as a failure if Man City overhaul us and we end up 2nd.

If we are still above City after we have hosted them, I might allow a bit of belief to slip in. But even then we have a double header away in the Midlands against Aston Villa and Leicester City.

It is only really in March that it eases up a bit – we have a run of 3 out of 4 games at home , facing Bournemouth, Fulham (A), Crystal Palace and Leeds United.

And then we have the 6 games that will ultimately decide our future – Liverpool (A), West Ham (A), Manchester City (A), Chelsea (H) and Newcastle (A). The only bit of restbite is Southampton at home.

Today is all about getting the 3 points against Tottenham. And I think we will do that if Harry Kane does not get his usual penalty.

We will never hear the end of it if Kane equals, and breaks, Jimmy Greaves goal scoring record against us. But that will never make up for signing their captain for free, 1971 and 2004.

UTA

Keenos

League Cup exit won’t change Arsenal’s transfer plans

I hate being knocked out of the cup competitions.

For those saying “it is good, we can now concentrate on the league”, my guess is football is a TV show for you.

Winning trophies and days out. That is what football is about. And the League Cup can often throw up so cheeky different away days, and concludes with a trip to Wembley.

Due to the World Cup, we do have to fit games into to a shorter period of time, but “freeing up time” by being knocked out of the League Cup means nothing if you finish the season trophyless.

I also think it would have been a huge advantage getting through to the next round.

The last 16 of the League Cup is due to be played around the 19th of December – a week before Premier League football returns after the World Cup.

Even if you are in the “glad we are out camp”, you have to admit it would have been nice to have a competitive game to blow the cobwebs off prior to the game against West Ham.

I am not upset about the team Mikel Arteta put out. It was pretty much the team I expected.

And we looked decent, taking the lead with a fantastically worked goal. Then Karl Hein slipped coming out for the ball and it was penalty, 1-1.

We shouldn’t pile onto the young keeper. He is a talent and what happened is a once in a career incident.

At 1-1 we had the chance to win, but could not finish. Then we went 2-1 down and the heads seemed to drop.

For those saying “our squad is too weak, we need to improve it”…this is not exactly breaking news or an insightful take.

We all know that we need better cover for Thomas Partey, a new winger to provide competition to Gabriel and Bukayo Saka, and perhaps a new striker.

We may or may not make signings in January.

It will be a bit like last year where we won’t sign a player for the sake of it. A new signing will only be someone who is one of our top targets.

There is not point going for a 6th or 7th choice winger, who we do not really want, and then you don’t have the money in the summer to sign your 1st or 2nd choice.

Mykhailo Mudryk is a name we have been linked with a lot. If he is not available until the summer, I would rather wait than spend £15-20m on someone else who we do not want for the long term.

Some might say “that could cost us the title”, but realistically I do not think we will win the title this year. And would making a Lucas Perez-style signing really make a difference in the title chase.

Tomorrow, we need to bounce back strongly. Beat Wolves and go into the World Cup top of the league.

Enjoy your Friday.

Keenos