Eddie Nketiah is quickly becoming Arsenal’s main man in the Premier League title race


With each passing victory more and more Arsenal fans must be starting to believe that this could be their year. From their early season form to the late winner against Manchester United, things look to have landed right in the Gunner’s lap, having remained patient with Mikel Arteta throughout turbulent periods last season. The Spaniard looks as if he will bring Champions League football back to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since Arsene Wenger’s departure, and if those regularly betting on football are to be believed, bring them their first title since the Invincible side almost 20 years ago.

While it’s too early to draw comparisons between members of each team, Arteta has had to deal with the loss of his star player in Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian arrived to ease the goalscoring burden having won consecutive Premier Leagues with Manchester City, and while his wealth of experience has helped fire the Gunners to the top of the table, it’s his replacement, Eddie Nketiah, that has really stepped up in his absence. 

Having already boasted an impressive goal-to-game ratio, mainly deputising for either Jesus or in last season’s case, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nketiah’s good form is proof that a striker will reap the rewards if they remain patient. Much like Arteta, the Arsenal board have been rewarded by not pulling the trigger too early. They could have easily gone and splashed the cash on another traditional number nine, but upon Jesus’s return it could risk disrupting the harmony in the squad, instead choosing to invest in Leandro Trossard, who looks a shrewd acquisition for Arsenal as he arrives from Brighton for just £20 million.

Indeed, Nketiah is justifying his selection with some red-hot January form, which was kickstarted with a brace against United. Not only does he have the pace and power of an old-school striker to suit the physicality of the Premier League, but his ability to link the play goes underrated at times, with the former England under-21 star dropping deep as well as occupying space in the box to score a variety of goals. It’s given Arsenal extra firepower to add to their title race and while the odds on Premier League football favoured Manchester City at the start of the campaign, Pep Guardiola’s side have lacked the consistency of previous years, leaving the trophy in Arteta’s hands. 

Nketiah is still only 23 years old and while he won’t want to play second-fiddle to Jesus forever, he understands his role in the team and is seizing every opportunity, with his manager singing his praises as well.  

“What Eddie is doing is incredible,” he said. “I cannot say we saw that (coming). We were hoping that he could do that because of the way he is, his mentality, and how his qualities fit in the team. Losing Gabi was a big blow. It is a big blow losing Gabi today but Eddie is responding with the team in an exceptional way.”

Only time will tell if Arsenal can deliver a title to their fans. Knowing how close City have run teams in the past it might take another monumental effort to pry the title from Guardiola’s hands, but given their recent form and the consistency they showed pre-World Cup, it would be foolish not to think they could go all the way.