Martin Keown has heaped criticism on Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah in his analysis on BT Sport for conceding a penalty against FC Zurich – a game in which Nketiah scored the winner as Arsenal went on to win 2-1.
Mikel Arteta made a raft of changes. Goalkeeper Matt Turner, and young attacker Marquinhos were given their debuts for the Gunners. The latter was excellent, opening the scoring after a lovely pass from Nketiah.
However, Nketiah was at fault later in the first half. Defending a corner, the ex-England Under-21 captain did not check his shoulders and going to clear the ball – he clattered into a Zurich player. Merlind Kryeziu scored.
But it was Nketiah that rectified his mistake, heading home a delightful cross from Marquinhos to make it 2-1 in Switzerland. A topsy-turvy game but plenty of positives. However, Keown was not impressed with Nketiah.
“He makes a lot of it, and rightly so – it is a penalty. But he [Nketiah] won’t be doing that again. It’s about learning. It is a really good learning experience. He switched off, he’s ball-watching, a lazy challenge and he gets punished.”
KEOWN CRITICISM OF ARSENAL STRIKER NKETIAH: HARSH, BUT FAIR
While the hype and headlines are centred around attacker Marquinhos after his goal and assist – Nketiah was just as effective. It was his pass that set up Marquinhos to open the scoring, and a proper striker’s header for the second.
But Keown’s criticism is fair. Strikers are often tagged with being somewhat rash in their defending. The old adage, a ‘striker’s tackle’. Well, this was the perfect example. Nketiah does not check his shoulders and takes a big old swipe.
As Keown says, £100k-a-week Nketiah will not do this again and the saving grace for him and Arsenal – is that it did not happen in the Premier League. Or a Champions League fixture, which might come around in 12 months time.