Mark Schwarzer praises Eddie Nketiah during Arsenal win over West Ham
Many eyes were on Nketiah heading into the clash with the Hammers. Mikel Arteta’s men will have to do without Gabriel Jesus for a little while due to a knee injury sustained at the World Cup.
When Nketiah had featured previously this season, it had appeared that he had taken his game to another level. He looked stronger. And his all-round game had seemingly improved considerably.
Schwarzer praises Eddie Nketiah during Arsenal win
Nevertheless, many Arsenal fans would have been forgiven for wondering whether he could possibly fill the void Jesus left behind.
Obviously, tougher tests lie ahead. However, there is no question that Nketiah is off to a brilliant start. He scored an outstanding third goal as Arsenal beat the Hammers 3-1 on Monday.
It was not an easy night for the Premier League leaders. The visitors took a 1-0 lead into the break. Nevertheless, the promising signs were always there from Arsenal.
In fact, Schwarzer was extremely impressed by what he had seen from Nketiah as he discussed his display at the break.
“Odegaard, at times, has looked great, but generally it hasn’t come to much. The only time when it has looked a little bit exciting has been when they get to the edge of the box and whip it in quickly from out wide,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Otherwise, if you play it in from further out, you’ve got big Craig Dawson as a centre-half, who is mostly heading everything away.
“Eddie Nketiah has looked very, very good a couple of times. His first touch has been brilliant and he has caused West Ham some problems.”
Of course, Schwarzer’s comments are particularly notable as it was Nketiah’s amazing first touch which set up his goal in the second-half. He did superbly to turn Thilo Kehrer and create the opportunity for himself.
This is a huge chance for the 23-year-old. He has now made 20 Premier League starts for Arsenal. Meanwhile, he has already brought up his half-century of substitute appearances in the top-flight.
It is going to take something special to put a lot of pressure on Jesus. But the early signs are very, very positive indeed.