Eddie Nketiah was big news when Leeds United snapped him up at the start of the season on loan. They’d battled to land the highly regarded Arsenal youngster, beating out rivals Bristol City in the chase for him.
Nketiah’s time at Elland Road saw him make just 16 Championship appearances, appearances where he scored three goals and provided one assist. Of those 16 games, only the last two games were starts and he only competed in 21% of the available minutes. In essence, a recall was always on the cards and that proved to be the case after Leeds United’s 1-1 drawn game at West Brom.
The problem for Nketiah wasn’t that he wasn’t good enough, far from it. In all honesty, Eddie Nketiah is good enough to walk into any side that can guarantee him solid football and a run of starts. It’s just that he couldn’t get those starts at Elland Road with Patrick Bamford installed as Marcelo Bielsa’s go-to striker in his favoured line-up formation.
A return to Arsenal saw Mikel Arteta put faith in the youngster who has featured five times in the Premier League since his return from Elland Road, scoring against Everton in a 3-2 win for the Gunners.
His hat-trick today in a big Arsenal win (below) was against a Charlton squad put out by manager Lee Bowyer to give all players a run-out. Bowyer fielded two entirely different starting XIs in each half.
Twitter: Arsenal 6-0 Charlton all goals. Nketiah (3), Aubameyang, Lacazette and Willock. ⚽️
Starting line up: Leno, Belleri… https://t.co/2k6MlS2T86 (@TheAFCnewsroom)
Addicks boss Bowyer has his own issues to deal with what with three of his squad members, including leading scorer and main striker Lyle Taylor, saying that they do not wish to play any further part in this season’s games.
The game itself will have served little purpose other than to give players a chance to stretch their legs in a game situation. What it might have given Leeds United fans is a sense of the promise that they might have missed out on.