Mikel Arteta reaction: Arsenal boss thrilled with ‘outstanding’ Jesus replacement after comeback win over West Ham

Mikel Arteta, Bukayo Saka Arsenal v West Ham

Mikel Arteta was thrilled for Eddie Nketiah after the Arsenal stand-in striker produced an excellent performance in the come-from-behind 3-1 win over West Ham on Boxing Day.

Nketiah scored on his first start for the Gunners this season as the Premier League leaders completed a comeback victory against the Hammers,  having been a goal down at the break.

The hosts dominated possession in the first half but were frustrated as Said Benrahma’s spot-kick was the only goal at the break.

But the Gunners regrouped and Bukayo Saka struck the equaliser eight minutes after the restart before Gabriel Martinelli fired Arsenal ahead.

Nketiah’s goal in the 69th minute ensured the Gunners secured all three points and equalled their longest-ever Premier League home winning streak with their 10th straight victory at the Emirates.

Speaking after the game, Arteta was full of praise for Nketiah, telling Amazon Prime: “I just give him a big hug because he totally deserved it the way he played. It was a very Eddie Nketiah goal and an outstanding performance by him.

“You could feel the last few games he has been trying but he didn’t score. He didn’t score in the friendlies but that will give him confidence.

“He showed at the end of last year when he played more consistently and when you look at his numbers, they are really, really good so really pleased with what he’s done today.”

Fear factor a bonus for Arsenal

The Arsenal boss also played down talk that his Premier League leaders are creating a fear factor after establishing a seven-point gap at the top.

Arteta added: “We cannot control what opponents feel. We can control how we play, what we transmit. You can see that with the way the fans are. If we get that fear factor, it is a big bonus obviously.

“So far to go. We can only focus on what we can do. What the other teams will do, we have no idea.”

Nketiah himself was also delighted to contribute to a massive result for the team, adding: “All the boys were at it today.

“Obviously I wanted to come in and contribute. The atmosphere was amazing tonight.

“There is pressure any time I play because the standards are very high.

“I am not here to replace anyone, I just want to be the best version of myself but it’s nice to score and get the win.

“I like playing here, obviously I like starting here so hopefully I can build on that and keep helping the team win.

“We want to keep pushing and finish as high as possible.”

The Gunners are next on action on Saturday when they head to in-form Brighton.

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