Mikel Arteta says it’s no surprise Eddie Nketiah had a positive cameo appearance on Saturday, as you could see he was ready for a fight.
With Arsenal trailing 1-0 to a second-half goal from Aleksandar Mitrovic on Saturday, the Gunners needed to make a change to swing the game back in their favour.
Eddie Nketiah ended up coming on, and it wasn’t particularly surprising to see Mikel Arteta add another striker to the mix.
But Arteta says it wasn’t just about that, it was also about switching up the formation and adding a player with the hunger to change things.
“It’s not as simple as that,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “Obviously it’s something that we practice, the variety in formations that we can use.
“How we can make each other better, become more of a threat, attack different spaces, and get those connections in the best possible way on the pitch.
“And the way that boy… you looked in his eyes before he comes on and said ‘He’s ready for a fight!'”
The comments draw a comparison between Arteta’s feelings about Nketiah and about former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
In an interview broadcast as part of the recent Amazon All Or Nothing documentary, Arteta recalled the moment he knew Aubameyang had to leave the club.
“When I looked in his eyes and I saw and I felt what I felt, that that level of trust was gone. That day,” Arteta said (via Yahoo).
“When you look at the eyes of that player and you believe that’s gone, that’s a really difficult point to get something back from it.”
Clearly, the Arsenal manager feels differently when he looks at Nketiah, which is why it was the 23-year-old striker who came on to get the Gunners a 2-1 win on Saturday.