Mikel Arteta admits he ‘has not been fair’ to ‘humble and hungry’ Eddie Nketiah and should have played him MORE this season… after the striker’s Chelsea brace put Arsenal’s top-four charge back on track
- Arsenal won 4-2 at rivals Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday night
- Eddie Nketiah bagged a brace to propel the Gunners back into the top-four race
- The 22-year-old has only made 15 Premier League appearances this season
- Gunners boss Mikel Arteta admitted he should have handed him more minutes
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted he has not been fair to ‘humble and hungry’ Eddie Nketiah as he insisted the striker’s spirit helped the Gunners emerge victorious from the London derby.
Nketiah was the difference-maker on Wednesday night, with his brace helping propel Arsenal to a 4-2 win over rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old’s goals either side of half-time moved the Gunners back into the race for top four as they pulled level on points with Tottenham.
Mikel Arteta (left) admitted he has not been fair to ‘humble and hungry’ Eddie Nketiah (right)
But the youngster is said to be disappointed with his lack of game-time this term, making just 15 Premier League appearances under Arteta, despite the exit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona.
The Gunners boss confessed that he should have been giving Nketiah more minutes throughout the season as he insisted he was happy for the forward after his impressive performance.
‘What Eddie has done tonight is because of what he has done for the last 10 months and no-one has noticed,’ Arteta told the BBC.
The striker bagged a brace at Stamford Bridge to put Arsenal’s top-four charge back on track
‘I said to him I haven’t been fair. I should have been playing him more. We have other issues as well and that has not been easy. But he deserved completely what happened to him tonight.’
He added to Sky Sports: ‘When you look at him in training and how humble and hungry he is, good things happen to good people. If I’m happy for anyone it is especially him because I know what he has been through.
‘The same with Elneny and Rob Holding. That is why we won the game today. I love the spirit of these players. When you lose matches you get criticised but for these players it is worth it. They are really growing.’
The Gunners boss confessed that he should have been giving Nketiah more minutes this term
Nketiah is currently embroiled in a contract stand-off with his deal at the Emirates expiring in June, and he has yet to agree new terms after making just two league starts this season.
He recently revealed he has received an offer of a new contract but has his heart set on extra minutes.
Speaking on The Beautiful Game Podcast, he said: ‘There have been offers of a new contract but at the moment my aim is to play football and play regularly.
‘That’s my ambition and that’s what I hope to do but at the same time I’m at Arsenal, I love Arsenal.’
The 22-year-old’s contract at the Emirates is set to expire in June with new terms not agreed
The Gunners are level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham with six games remaining – including a fixture against each other on May 12 – and former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson believes Nketiah could be the difference in their fight to the finish.
When asked on Sky Sports whether Nketiah could be the ‘joker in the pack’ for Arsenal in their fight for Europe, Merson gestured flipping a coin and shrugged his shoulders.
He then added: ‘He could be a four out of ten next week. He could be… if he wasn’t, he’d be in the team every week.
‘That’s his second start all season so the consistency levels are not there but if he gets consistent for three or four games then Arsenal come fourth.
‘He’s a natural goalscorer. His first goal is a phenomenal finish and his second is just as good.’
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