Nketiah shows why Arsenal won't miss Jesus
- Nketiah’s overall work rate was impressive against West Ham
- The striker displayed great finishing & movement out of possession
- 23-year-old was making his first Premier League start of the season
WHAT HAPPENED? Nketiah displayed great movement in the box in what was his first Premier League start to receive Martin Odegaard’s pass before shrugging of two defenders and firing into the bottom left corner to make it 3-1 for Arsenal.
The Gunners had gone down courtesy of a Said Benrahma’s penalty but they responded in the second half with Bukayo Saka levelling the contest following Gabriel Martinelli’s finish from a tight angle before Nketiah applied further gloss on the scoreline.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Nketiah had not started a league game for Arsenal this season, having played second fiddle to Jesus and was only restricted to bit-part roles off the bench.
However, with the Brazilian suffering a knee injury that will keep him out for some time after undergoing surgery, Nketiah has been touted as the obvious replacement although there have been doubts among some observers over his capabilities.
He, however, had a good game against the Hammers, his pressing and movement in the box making life difficult for West Ham defenders and was denied a lovely assist in the first after his backheel to Saka, with the England winger’s strike chopped off for offside.
Meanwhile, Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey also played 90 minutes, putting in an assured performance in midfield alongside Granit Xhaka. Partey operated in a deeper role with his midfield partner making occasional forward runs.
ALL EYES ON: Getting his first Premier League start of the season, the spotlight was on Nketiah in the absence of Jesus and the Ghana prospect put in a great shift that might alleviate the worries of losing Arsenal’s first choice striker and impress the watching former manager Arsene Wenger.
THE VERDICT: The 23-year-old striker looks ready to step up to the plate for the Premier League leaders and will benefit from an extended stay in the team given the goal has boosted his confidence.
WHAT’S NEXT? Arsenal travel to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday where they will be seeking to maintain their impressive run.