Mikel Arteta, an Arsenal legend, has ordered him to get rid of one of his players who is preventing him from winning the title.
Arsenal: Arteta must be fired as a £100,000-per-week flop who got fewer touches than Raya.
Arsenal were lacking in the final third as they drew 2-2 with Tottenham.
Arsenal thoroughly destroyed PSV in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, and it appeared that the Gunners were back in the silky rhythm that had seen them dominate so much previous season.
That appeared to be the case during the first half hour of Sunday’s north London derby.
Mikel Arteta’s men charged at the Spurs, who were forced to play through a ferocious pressing unit. To their credit, Ange Postecoglou’s guys handled the situation admirably.
However, it wasn’t enough to keep them from falling behind, as Bukayo Saka scored on a wicket deflection off Cristian Romero.
That was chalked up as an own goal before Saka scored from the penalty spot in the second half. That, however, was not enough to secure a victory, as Heung-min Son scored twice to tie the game at 2-2.
Arsenal were nowhere near their best. Fresh from a magnificent performance in the Champions League a few days ago, skipper Martin Odegaard only completed 18 passes at a dismal 64% success rate, while Jorginho, a half-time substitute for the injured Declan Rice, was robbed of possession in shambolic circumstances by James Maddison for Tottenham’s second.
Having said that, Eddie Nketiah, who is typically relentless, was possibly one of the greatest party poopers on Sunday.
Nketiah played well against the Spurs.
Throughout 2023, the youthful striker has been an astute backup for Gabriel Jesus.
The Brazilian suffered an injury during the World Cup last winter, forcing him to miss several months. It was a concern for the Gunners at the time, but Nketiah stepped up, scoring against West Ham and Brighton shortly after the break before bagging again, including a late winner against Manchester United in late January.
He started the current season strongly as well, scoring against Nottingham Forest and Fulham, but with Jesus again fit and firing, his performances have faded.
He was taken off soon after the hour mark against Everton eight days ago and certainly shouldn’t have been given much more time than that yesterday.
Whether he’d have played if it hadn’t been for Leandro Trossard’s training injury is an intriguing question, as Jesus was switched to the left side after his European exploits, with Nketiah leading the line once more.
However, following a hesitant performance, it was Jesus who was substituted in the second half, despite the academy graduate playing the entire 100 minutes.
Nketiah’s afternoon was maybe most disappointing in the first half. Destiny Udogie’s backpass sailed by Micky van de Ven, giving the Arsenal number 14 a narrow chance to score.
He overlooked Fabio Vieira, who was sprinting towards the penalty spot, and instead fired a shot straight at Tottenham goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicaro.
The £100,000-per-week earner is used to doing the dirty work, but he remained almost anonymous throughout, completing only six passes in 100 minutes on the pitch and registering only 23 touches. Even the Gunners’ goalkeeper, David Raya, had more say with the ball at his feet, with 42 touches in total.
This was a game to forget for Nketiah, who was toothless and ineffective in the final third and was described as “average” by Man United personality Mark Goldbridge.
He lacked the instinct to be in the right place at the right time, and his little influence on the game was summed up by Arsenal’s apparent lack of desire to bring the ball into play.
To make matters worse, the 24-year-old was fortunate not to get sent off for a late challenge on Vicario as he raced through the Spurs goalkeeper after the ball had already gone.
It’s not often in the last year that Arsenal has needed to sign a new striker. Jesus seemed promise in the early stages of the pregnancy, but if they stick with Nketiah, issues will only arise in the final third.
Regardless of whether Trossard and Martinelli are healthy for this week’s games, Nketiah must be dropped from the starting lineup. His position is undoubtedly now Jesus’ to take.