Eddie Nketiah netted a superb hat-trick in Arsenal’s 5-0 rout of Sheffield United, and manager Mikel Arteta was full of praise for his striker.
Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah is often much-maligned as he is seen as a bridge player rather than a bonafide starter. Well, after his hat trick against Sheffield United, Nketiah is rightly getting all the plaudits.
With Gabriel Jesus again injured and his return date unknown, Nketiah will likely be trusted to lead the line in the Brazilian’s absence.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was handing out the praise of his young striker after his Man of the Match performance.
"“Well to me he is top level,” Arteta said via arsenal.com. “He’s started nine out of our ten Premier League games, so that tells you how much we trust him and the importance he has in the team. I’m really happy for him, an academy player to experience a Premier League hat-trick. He needs to enjoy the moment, he fully deserves it, and hopefully there are many more to come.”"
With a constant battle for fans between Nketiah and Jesus and many comparing the two, the truth is both are vastly different strikers.
Nketiah is your typical poacher, but against Sheffield United, he showed he can hit a thunderous striker, whereas Jesus is a menace who never stops harassing and pressing while also having the innate ability to carve something out of nothing with his incredible football IQ.
With Nketiah’s three-goal performance, many are wondering exactly what his ceiling is, and the thought from Arteta is that his striker can get even better.
"“He’s already playing for Arsenal,” Arteta said. “He’s started games in the Premier League. He’s already really good [and] he can be better. The best thing he’s got, along with the talent, is his mentality. It’s incredible. When he has that mentality and that talent, he’s going to get much better.”"
With Jesus out for the short term, Nketiah is going to get the chance to show that he can lead the line to a level that is near that of Jesus.
Now, we know that when fit, Jesus is the starter without question, but for Nketiah, if he can put together a run of form similar to what he is doing now, then Arteta will have two genuine starters at his disposal.
But for now, Nketiah is riding the highs of dismantling a Premier League side with three goals and can take solace in the fact that over the next few weeks, he will get opportunities to nail down a spot in Arteta’s team.