Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted he has been unfair on striker Eddie Nketiah this season, following his two goals in the win over Chelsea.
The forward was brought into the side to replace Alexandre Lacazette on Wednesday evening and helped himself to two goal against Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Nketiah’s double and goals from Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were enough to cancel out strikes from Cesar Azpilicueta and Timo Werner and give the Gunners an important three points.
The goals at Stamford Bridge were Nketiah’s first in the Premier League this season after a campaign of substitute appearances and cup games.
The 22-year-old is out-of-contract at the Emirates this summer and looks set to depart for more regular game time.
Arsenal are likely to bring in a new first-choice centre-forward this summer after allowing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to leave in January and Nketiah and Lacazette set to follow soon.
Where Nketiah will be next season remains to be seen, although a number of Premier League clubs have reportedly shown interest in the forward.
Speaking after the win over Chelsea, Arsenal boss Arteta admitted he should have played the forward more this season.
Speaking to the BBC, the Spaniard said: “What Eddie has done tonight is because of what he has done for the last 10 months and no-one has noticed.”
“I said to him I haven’t been fair. I should have been playing him more. We have other issues as well and that has not been easy. But he deserved completely what happened to him tonight.”
“When you look at him in training and how humble and hungry he is, good things happen to good people. If I’m happy for anyone it is especially him because I know what he has been through,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“The same with [Mohamed] Elneny and Rob Holding. That is why we won the game today. I love the spirit of these players. When you lose matches you get criticised but for these players it is worth it. They are really growing.”
— Eddie Nketiah 📞 (@EddieNketiah9) April 20, 2022