The current pre-season has failed to match the vibes of last summer despite a busy transfer window which has seen the club spend over £200m to sign three players capable of bolstering Mikel Arteta’s starting XI.
It’s going to take a little longer than the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko for some of the new arrivals to adjust, and it’s not yet clear what Arteta’s starting XI will look like for this weekend’s Community Shield and the Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest.
What we do know, though, is that the aforementioned Jesus will not be available. The Brazilian, who missed several months of last season with a serious knee injury, is set to miss the start of 2023/24 after undergoing a “little procedure” on that same knee.
3 options for Mikel Arteta after Gabriel Jesus’ injury
The absence of Jesus for what will likely be the first month or so of the new campaign is a big blow, but the boss does have several options regarding alternatives.
1. Entrust Eddie again
This is the most likely option.
Nketiah has come on leaps and bounds over the past two years, with the form he displayed at the end of 2021/22 convincing the club to tie him down to a lucrative long-term deal. While he was firmly the club’s second striker option last season, Nketiah registered over 1,000 Premier League minutes as a result of Jesus’ injury, scoring four times.
The Englishman has evolved into a more well-rounded forward who loves to drop from his advanced position to affect play in deeper areas. He’s a dynamic customer, but he won’t rotate to the extent Jesus does which limits Arsenal’s fluidity in attack.
Nketiah performed well enough last season when called upon, but his pre-season had been a tough one before he impressed on Wednesday evening. His performance against Monaco, in which he scored, should convince Arteta that his side will be alright if Eddie leads the line for a few weeks.
Continued on the next slide…