Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta feels he has been unfair with Eddie Nketiah this season following the striker’s brace against Chelsea in the Premier League.
The Gunners graduate recently started his first league game in a year, but could not make an impact as the club suffered a 1-0 defeat at Southampton.
Despite this, Arteta handed him another start against the Blues with Gabriel Martinelli surprisingly featuring on the bench. The decision proved worthwhile.
Nketiah took advantage of a loose back pass from Andreas Christensen before showing excellent composure to convert past the advancing Edouard Mendy.
With the scores 2-2 in the second half, Nketiah got another lucky break after another defensive mishap from the Blues in the box. He capitalised perfectly.
There was a moment of pinball within the box, but the 22-year-old was fully alert and poked home a shot that found the bottom left corner of Chelsea’s net.
The Gunners eventually sealed a stunning 4-2 victory at Stamford Bridge last night. Speaking after the game, Arteta acknowledged his mistake on Nketiah.
The Spanish tactician said that he has been unfair with him this campaign, and he should have had more courage to play him regularly in recent months.
He told Arsenal.com: “If there is one player that I have been unfair with, I think it is him. He has given me every right to do something different, so if Eddie hasn’t played more.”
“It’s my fault and because as a manager I have missed something or I haven’t had the courage to play him more, and today he showed me again how wrong I was.”
The Gunners had gone into the game on the back of three successive league defeats. They were outsiders against the Blues, but managed to surprise them last night.
With the victory, the club have gone level on points with Spurs for the fourth spot, but their north London rivals have a superior goal difference of eight at the moment.
The top-four race could go down to the wire this term. Arsenal’s immediate focus will be on Saturday’s early kick-off against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.
It could be another difficult outing for them. The Red Devils can’t be taken lightly despite their inconsistent form, having won 3-2 in the reverse meeting at Old Trafford.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com