Arsenal may have gotten battered against Manchester City, but say what you will, Eddie Nketiah played the part he needed to play, diminutive though it was.
Arsenal‘s return to action was paltry at best. They lost by the same deficit they lost to Manchester City the first time. The only real difference this time was that we held on like troopers until David Luiz undid the entire ordeal.
But it must be said that Mikel Arteta threw a starting XI out there that was built for the future. He let the kids play, and it’s hard for me to criticize that much. Especially, as I keep saying, it wasn’t the kids that did us wrong. It was David Luiz who undid all the hard work to stay in the match.
Among the kids, Eddie Nketiah kept his starting spot up top, despite a full complement of health, which left Alexandre Lacazette relegated to the bench and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left wing. The result was pretty positive.
Arsenal can get what they need out of Eddie Nketiah
As you may have seen in my player ratings, I don’t hold many other players at fault for this result other than Luiz. I can’t say that enough. For the most part, before the complete lifeforce was sucked out of us, we were in the game even though we never mustered a shot on target.
That may be seen as a condemnation of Nketiah, whose primary job is obviously to do exactly that. But for Nketiah’s role, he played it quite well.
Focus on the first half-hour. Because that’s about all the time we had to actually enjoy the match. After that, and particularly in the second half, everything was lost and there was nothing for the attack to do.
But in that first half-hour, Nketiah was sparkling. He was tremendous with movement, making runs into the City defense, causing them all kinds of trouble, and linking up with the attack all around him. With the right opportunity, this kid will score. We’ve seen that already. The fact that he is already settling in and creating opportunity despite not scoring is just proof that he’s coming of age nicely.
Honestly, Lacazette and Aubameyang wouldn’t have done any better. And that’s the takeaway here. Nketiah did just as well as anyone else might have done. Mikel Arteta couldn’t have asked for much more out of Nketiah given the utter flop the match became. So take that for what it’s worth.