Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists that Eddie Nketiah deserved to be given his chance ahead of Nicolas Pepe against Everton last night.
The Ivorian has not even been used as a substitute in the Gunners’ last five league matches, and when asked about his decision to keep the club’s record signing on the bench, Arteta replied:
“Because I decided to play Eddie today. To bring him on. He created three chances and hit the post once in 25 minutes I think… He does every day in training what you see him do here. Every single day. That’s why I picked him.”
The future for Pepe does not look too promising. Picking Nketiah, who has asked to leave the club, ahead of him suggests that Arteta has no faith in the 26-year-old.
With the January transfer window just around the corner, it looks increasingly likely that Pepe will be offloaded, with a move to Italy seemingly on the cards.
While most supporters will accept that Pepe has offered very little when given the opportunity this season, Arteta’s decision to choose Nketiah ahead of him will be questioned, especially as the striker is no longer committed to the club.