Dream Team gaffers missing out on predatory Eddie Nketiah’s plentiful returns
IF Arsenal do win the Premier League title this season – and such talk is warranted given they’re on track to achieve 100 points – then Eddie Nketiah (£3.2m) will deserve his fair share of the plaudits.
When Gabriel Jesus (£5.3m) was sidelined with an relatively significant injury, there were plenty of fans and pundits who doubted whether the Gunners could maintain their momentum.
The Brazilian No9 scored five goals and assisted another five in is first 14 league games for his new club, gluing the front three together beautifully.
In addition, many observers had already questioned whether Arsenal had the necessary depth to sustain their impressive results – Man City’s second-choice XI is considerably stronger.
However, Nketiah has led the line superbly since the restart, scoring six goals in as many games.
Sunday’s main event played host to the 23-year-old’s crowning moment as he scored a brace against Man United to help Mikel Arteta’s side to their 16th victory of the league campaign.
In an age of false nines, Nketiah is a striker in the mould of a classic poacher.
While limited in regards to some technical aspects of the game compared to Jesus, Nketiah has razor-sharp instincts when inside the opposition’s box.
His predatory nature was fully on display against the Red Devils as he scored a close-range header to capitalise on hesitancy from Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£3.3m) before his improvised finish in the 90th minute bagged all three points.
A prolific scorer at youth level for England, his prowess in the penalty area has rarely been doubted but there were question marks over his ability to link up with Bukayo Saka (£4.1m), Martin Odegaard (£3.6m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£3.6m) in the same effortless manner as Jesus.
So far, Nketiah’s contribution to Arsenal’s build-up has been greater than expected, much to Arteta’s relief, and more than a few doubters owe the young forward an apology.
And his success is plainly there for Dream Team managers to see as well.
An 18-point haul at the expense of David De Gea (£3.8m) and company means Nketiah has banked 49 points in the space of six games since the restart.
Hat-trick machine Erling Haaland (£8.8m) was the only forward to register more points at the weekend.
At the time of writing, Nketiah features in just 2.1% of teams – the slim of minority of gaffers who recruited him in the wake of Jesus’ injury have been handsomely rewarded.
On top of everything else, he’s extremely affordable at £3.2m.
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