Several Arsenal fans have been left baffled by Mikel Arteta’s decision to start Eddie Nketiah in the Gunners’ Premier League match against Aston Villa.
Arsenal are set to face Aston Villa at Villa Park in the Premier League this afternoon (February 18). They go into the match looking to reclaim their place at the top of the table.
Despite staking their claim to win the title, Mikel Arteta and Co. have now hit a rocky patch. The Gunners have notably failed to win each of their last three league games, losing two and drawing one of them.
The north London giants will be determined to return to winning ways against Villa today. However, Villans boss Unai Emery, who previously had a stint at the Emirates Stadium, will be keen to make life difficult for them.
With less than an hour to go until kick-off, the Gunners have announced their starting line-up for the match. Arteta made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Manchester City in their previous game.
⚫️ 𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 ⚡️
🔙 White returns in defence
💪 Jorginho x Xhaka in midfield
🆕 Trossard makes first league start
Let’s do this – together! pic.twitter.com/2JU8yPY7ph
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 18, 2023
Ben White and Leandro Trossard have been drafted into the first XI today, with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Martinelli dropping to the bench. Arsenal’s Spanish tactician will be hopeful that his preferred line-up will get the job done against the Birmingham outfit.
However, not all fans are on board with Arteta’s team selection today. Several supporters were not pleased with his decision to start Nketiah. One fan wrote on Twitter:
“Would have liked to [see] Martinelli through the middle today, Nketiah needs to be dropped. Hope he proves me wrong.”
Would have liked to Martinelli through the middle today, Nketiah needs to be dropped. Hope he proves me wrong.
— J (@theFIGroll) February 18, 2023
Another supporter tweeted:
“Nketiah better redeem himself today. He missed crucial chances [against Manchester City] on Wednesday. Better redeem yourself boy.”
Nketiah better redeem himself today. He missed crucial chances on Wednesday. Better redeem yourself boy
— Timoshenko (@Kianangih) February 18, 2023
One frustrated fan claimed Nketiah is Arsena’s ‘problem’ at the moment:
“For the first [time] I’m furious about a player being dropped this season. Nketiah is the problem.”
For the first I’m furious about a player being dropped this season
Nketiah is the problem https://t.co/9D2Tv4kj9r
— ðwåçmil (@vovoli_patches) February 18, 2023
Here are some more reactions to Arteta’s decision to start Nketiah against Aston Villa:
Bruh how does Nketiah keep playing….
Anyways Come On You Gunners.
— Gregory (@COYG_Sibusiso) February 18, 2023
Nketiah should be dropped for Martinelli Arteta
— . (@evanson404) February 18, 2023
It should have been Nketiah on the bench
— Warlo (@AKChrismarlo) February 18, 2023
— rabka nived (@devinakbar13) February 18, 2023
Nketiah in this Arsenal team 💀 pic.twitter.com/GHZxCMX0Gq
— Atsuya Tamaki (@TamakiAtsuya) February 18, 2023
While several fans are skeptical about Arteta’s decision to start Nketiah, the striker will be determined to prove his doubters wrong by helping the team win today.
How has Nketiah fared for Arsenal this season?
Nketiah began the 2022-23 season as a backup option for Arsenal’s first-choice number 9 Gabriel Jesus. However, he has been forced to step up for the team in recent weeks following an injury to the Brazilian.
The 23-year-old has made 29 appearances across all competitions for the north London giants so far this term. He found the back of the net nine times in those games, providing an assist in the process.