EPL

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: What Eddie Nketiah has done is remarkable

By Sports Desk October 28, 2023

Mikel Arteta hailed “top-level” Eddie Nketiah after the England striker hit a first Premier League hat-trick in a convincing 5-0 win over bottom club Sheffield United.

Nketiah scored the first three goals as the Gunners ran out comfortable victors, with Fabio Vieira’s penalty and Takehiro Tomiyasu’s first goal for the club completing the rout.

The victory took Arsenal up to second place, two points behind leaders and north London rivals Tottenham as Arteta’s men remain unbeaten after 10 league games.

With Gabriel Jesus facing a few weeks out with a hamstring issue, Nketiah has once again been tasked with filling his boots at centre-forward.

His touch and finish for the opening goal proved he can do the job as the England international set the Gunners on their way to a victory over the rock bottom Blades.

He doubled the lead after half-time and rifled home a memorable third – before ending the game with the captain’s armband.

“For me, he’s top-level,” Arteta said after the win.

“He has started eight out of the 10 Premier League games. So that tells you how much we trust him, how much I trust him and and the importance that he has in the team.

“I’m really happy for him, an academy player to experience in the Premier League a hat-trick. He needs to enjoy the moment. He fully deserves it and hopefully there are many more to come.

“He’s got an eye for goal. You look at the stats from his last 10 years. What he’s done is remarkable and he needs minutes, opportunities and service and if he gets that, Eddie is going to score goals, that’s for sure.”

Arsenal are yet to suffer a league defeat this season but Arteta revealed he gave his players an “alert” in training this week after some tough fixtures either side of the October international break.

“They took the game in a really serious way because I gave them on Thursday a big alert because of the context and the difference in the game that we have to play today with the previous Man City,
Chelsea and Sevilla games and I’m really happy how they approached it.

“Obviously they come from the national team, so we beat City, we come from national team, we have to go to Stamford Bridge and we did what we did in Stamford Bridge.

“Then you have to go to Seville and that’s a really really stressful week with what they were experiencing in the last few weeks as well.”

Sheffield United remain bottom and with just one point from their opening nine games.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side are also struggling with injuries – but he was not ready to use that as an excuse for a bad day at the office.

“Arsenal had a lot of the ball first half but Wes (Foderingham) had one save to make,” he said.

“Second half, the goals were really poor that we conceded and probably a reflection of how I thought the game was – they outfought us as well as outplayed us in the first half and that is what good teams can do.

“We are down to the bare bones and missing some big personalities and physicality.”

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    Pereira scored both goals in Fulham’s 2-0 victory at West Ham last weekend, which was a first win in four matches.

    The former Manchester United attacking midfielder had not found the net since August, but is top of Fulham’s assists with eight so far.

    The consistency of Pereira, who was born in Belgium, has seen him recalled into the Brazil national team, featuring in both March friendlies against England at Wembley and then Spain.

    Silva feels the 28-year-old, who had a successful loan spell at Flamengo before signing for Fulham in the summer of 2022, still has plenty more to offer.

    “Andreas, last season made a huge impact. Before he joined us, he played more as a second midfielder and not so offensive,” the Fulham boss said.

    “This season, he is going to have one of the best assist records for us – and we will demand more.

    “Last week, he showed the desire to arrive in the right areas.”

    Fulham host Liverpool on Sunday looking to further dent the Reds’ ambitions.

    Jurgen Klopp’s side were knocked out of the Europa League by Atalanta and also slumped to what could prove a costly home defeat against Crystal Palace to lose ground in the Premier League title race.

    Fulham have pushed Liverpool in each of their three meetings this season, being narrowly edged out 4-3 after a dramatic finish at Anfield in their league match at the start of December followed by what was a tight Carabao Cup semi-final over two legs.

    “Probably some of them (have been) too open for a manager to enjoy, but yes, at Anfield and at the Cottage as well, they have been really – in some moments – emotional games, in other moments entertaining,” Silva said at a press conference.

    “Tight games always, in some of them dramatic ends of the match. But even last season, it was really tough for them to come to play at Craven Cottage (in the) Carabao Cup this season, too.”

    Silva added: “We want to make life really difficult for Liverpool, to give them a match.

    “Let’s hope we can get a different result than the last games that we played against them.

    Fulham could yet challenge for a top-10 finish.

    “I think we are in the best moment of the season,” Silva said. “We haven’t had big injuries in the last month and a half, or two months.

    “It, of course, creates a competition inside our squad that helps myself and the players to reach a different level and good headaches for me to decide, which is always the better situation to plan a game and prepare for the next game.”

  • Jurgen Klopp: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota give Liverpool ‘a chance’ Jurgen Klopp: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota give Liverpool ‘a chance’

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    “Without them we wouldn’t have a chance. With them we have a chance, with them in a really good football moment the chance gets bigger and bigger.”

    Klopp remains positive about their chances despite recent failures and feels six wins could see them snatch the title from the grasp of their rivals.

    Although a Europa League exit on aggregate was disappointing there were positives to take from the game.

    Alexander-Arnold’s display, drifting infield to dictate play and even popping up in the centre-forward’s position on occasions in Bergamo, was one and a first clean sheet in 10 matches was another.

    With struggles up front continuing – Liverpool have scored only two goals in the opening 15 minutes in a league game this season – a more solid backline offers a better platform and that is why Klopp is optimistic.

    “I don’t have a lot of qualities but I am always completely honest. If I don’t feel great the players feel it pretty quickly,” he said.

    “I cannot really deny or just keep it under the carpet so that means after the game against Palace people ask ‘What do you tell the team now?’.

    “But here we are a few days later and I feel absolutely great, I see the good in the situation where we are. It is fantastic.

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    “I am fully (of the opinion) that there is a next chance for us and we can turn things absolutely around in all departments. We can make it still an outstanding season.

    “It will be a good season but of course how you look at it is in the end is massively influenced by the last part of it.”

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    Appointed in September 1996, the Frenchman had presided over a glittering period in the club’s history which yielded three Premier League titles, the last of them famously secured by his “Invincibles”, who went through the 2003-04 league campaign unbeaten.

    In addition, former Nancy, Monaco and Grampus Eight boss Wenger guided the club to FA Cup glory on seven occasions and secured 20 successive seasons of Champions League football during a reign spanning 1,235 matches, 828 of them in the top flight.

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    Wenger said: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.

    “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.”

    Majority owner Stan Kroenke paid tribute to the man who had gone toe-to-toe with Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho.

    Kroenke said: “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.

    “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch.

    “His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him.”

    Wenger, described by Ferguson as “without doubt one of the greatest Premier League managers” and by former Gunners skipper Tony Adams as “the greatest Arsenal manager”, bowed out after a 1-0 final-day victory at Huddersfield on May 13, 2018.

    The 68-year-old said afterwards: “I feel that I got a lot of respect not only from our fans, but from England. I would reiterate I loved English football, but I also learned to love England. You do not stay 22 years if you don’t like it.”

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