Premier League legend Alan Shearer has questioned whether Eddie Nketiah is good enough to lead the line for Arsenal every weekend.
The 24-year-old has made five Premier League appearances so far this season, scoring two goals in the process. Last season, he scored nine goals in 39 matches overall.
With Gabriel Jesus now returning to full fitness, Nketiah could see his playing time diminish. Shearer thinks that Arsenal would be better off starting Jesus ahead of him.
Nketiah did start in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Everton on Sunday, though. Mikel Arteta made several interesting selection choices, opting to start David Raya in net ahead of Aaron Ramsdale. He also named Fabio Vieira in his starting lineup.
The Gunners may have got the win thanks to a fine finish from Leandro Trossard, but it was far from straightforward. Nketiah was largely a peripheral figure in the match, with his only real contribution a touch of the ball in the build-up which ruled Gabriel Martinelli’s first-half goal out for offside.
If Arsenal want to challenge for the Premier League title again this season, it seems that they may need to rely on Jesus more than Nketiah.
Shearer asks if Nketiah is ‘elite’
Speaking to Premier League productions, Shearer questioned whether Nketiah is an ‘elite’ striker, and if he is good enough to feature consistently in Arsenal’s starting XI.
Shearer certainly knows what he is talking about on the topic, given he remains the Premier League’s all-time top scorer with 260 goals in the competition.
“I think we’ll continue to have the discussion to say is he elite?” Shearer said on Nketiah (as cited by The Mirror). “Is he the top drawer striker that perhaps Arsenal need to go to that next level?
“We’ll keep asking those questions because it’s important when he gets the opportunity, like he has done again and the manager says I’m having belief in you and I’m putting you in again then he has to take those opportunities.
“I just thought there were two or three occasions, one being the disallowed goal, there was a couple in that second half where I’m thinking, ‘come on, get on the end of it get in that six-yard box and get that tap in that all great strikers do’ and it was just a split second where he was slow. Until he keeps doing or does that questions are still going to be asked.”
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Arteta starts Nketiah or Jesus in Arsenal’s Champions League opener against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, or in the North London derby against Tottenham on Sunday.