In a desperately disappointing defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday, the one positive was the performance of 19-year-old Eddie Nketiah.
With the game already lost, Nketiah came on for the final 20 minutes of the game on Wednesday, and he had more of an impact in that brief period than starters like Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi. The one chance he created with a clever turn and heads-up pass was more than the aforementioned duo created combined.
The striker also won a free-kick with a nice dribble and won all three of his individual duels against a very physical Wolves side. His one attempted shot was well blocked but he completed all of his attempted passes and pretty much solely contributed positively.
With Mkhitaryan and Iwobi performing so poorly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang recovering from a sinus procedure, there’s no better time for Nketiah to finally get an opportunity in the first team than this weekend against Leicester.
The youngster has been typically prolific with the youth teams this campaign, scoring 10 goals and assisting four in 11 appearances. He just hasn’t had the same opportunities in senior football, only starting three matches all season in severely weakened Arsenal sides.
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) April 15, 2019
Admittedly, the one game Nketiah should have done better in was against Blackpool. Though his all-around play was very good, and he picked up three very good positions to score in the first half, he was abnormally wasteful that day.
It’s not as if you can’t say the same about Mkhitaryan or Iwobi’s shooting recently though. Even Lacazette and Aubameyang have had plenty of off days in front of goal this season. At least Nketiah would add a bit of pace and drive in wide areas, and he’s surely worth a shot now.