Arsenal has a decision to make at striker, but no matter who leaves and who stays, Eddie Nketiah has to be a big part of the plan. It’s only right.
The striker situation at Arsenal is just hanging in limbo right now. With Mesut Ozil still absorbing wages and the season on pause, thus no push for the Champions League, we’re just hanging around, knowing that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could leave the club.
Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette could leave regardless, as he has not jived with the Mikel Arteta set-up, nor has he been able to find his best form. In fact, his form has been so off that Eddie Nketiah has been starting in his stead and it’s been, in a word, exciting.
Nketiah’s track record of scoring goals in the youth set-up speaks for itself, but obviously that means nothing if it doesn’t translate to the senior team. Which Arteta is trying to get it to do now.
It’s a hard situation. A situation that saw Chuba Akpom disappear off the face of the earth. You’ve got these elite strikers in front of you and you’re supposed to make the most of each and every appearance.
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That’s damn tough for a young striker. Akpom was given minimal opportunity and he failed with little opportunity given to him.
Now Nketiah is coming up in the same situation. His glimpses of success are well and good, but he will never truly succeed if not given the chance to fail. What that means is simple—you have to keep doing what Arteta is doing. Let him start through good times and bad and see how he adjusts to not scoring, or to poor performances.
Only then will we see what he can do. That can be a slow process, or it can be quick. If we want to drag it out, it could last for years. Or we could trust him after what might be a mass exodus in this attack, and give him the chance to fail, hoping that he will succeed.
Either works. The only thing that can’t happen is him getting relegated back to the bench to play five minutes or so a week. No one wins in that situation.
Thankfully, Arteta seems to get it. Starting Nketiah was a massive step forward and I can only hope that he has intentions of doing more of the same moving forward.