Manager Mikel Arteta’s choice to start Eddie Nketiah for Arsenal has been questioned by Paul Merson. But the selection proved to be a wise one against Chelsea.
Arsenal was defeated 1-0 by Southampton on Saturday afternoon. They put in yet another dismal performance in the last third of the field. Nketiah was thrown into the starting lineup by Arteta. He chose to play him as a lone striker due to the absence of Alexander Lacazette due to COVID.
Nketiah didn’t have much success against the Saints. Former Arsenal ace Merson has questioned Arteta’s choice to play him in the first place. Nketiah was thrown into the team by Arteta, according to Merson in an interview with Sky Sports. He stated that he ‘couldn’t believe it’.
Nketiah’s lack of playing time in recent weeks, in Merson’s opinion, diminished his chances of thriving. Despite the absence of Lacazette, Merson did not seem to believe Nketiah should be allowed to start.
“It’s a really tough decision to make. I couldn’t believe he went to Eddie Nketiah when he was at Southampton. He hasn’t played much, and suddenly he’s pushed into a game where he needs to win. Really, what chance does he have?” he went on to say.
Nketiah comes back strongly
Arteta’s choice to play Nketiah against Chelsea may not have pleased Merson, but it definitely paid off against the Blues. Even though Lacazette was back in the team, Arteta chose Nketiah as his striker against Chelsea. Nketiah struck not once, but twice against Chelsea. Thus, haunting his previous club back with a crucial brace of goals.
Arsenal won by a resounding 4-2 margin in West London. Thus, putting their Champions League aspirations back on the right track. Arteta was nearly forced to start Nketiah against Southampton since he didn’t have a choice. Arsenal’s dearth of attacking alternatives is a source of concern. Arteta, on the other hand, placed his trust in Nketiah against Chelsea, and what a wise move it turned out to be.
You can understand Merson’s apprehensions. On the other hand. Nketiah has made just a few appearances in recent months. He is expected to depart Arsenal when his contract expires this summer.
Putting your trust in a man who will be departing the club in a couple of months isn’t the best idea. But Nketiah demonstrated on Wednesday that he is still capable of scoring for Arsenal.